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Long IslandTowns

Huntington bans smoking on town beaches; sets housing hearing

Helene Lach of Centerport reads by the shoreline

Helene Lach of Centerport reads by the shoreline at Centerport Beach on July 3, 2014. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Huntington Town board has unanimously voted 5-0 to ban smoking at its eight town beaches.

Previously, smoking was banned only at town playgrounds. The ban does not include the parking lots at the beaches.

Town officials had cited public health, medical research and published studies as part of the their desire to protect the health and welfare of those who use the town's beaches.

"I am pleased that we have passed a common-sense measure to limit exposure to secondhand smoke at our wonderful beaches," said town board member Mark Cuthbertson, sponsor of the resolution.

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said officials expect the public to help enforce the law.

"Like any no-smoking regulation, it's prohibited so you expect people will obey signs and if not, and someone sees this, they can report it to a town employee for action which in a first instance most likely would be ejection from the beach."

He said there is the possibility of a summons and a fine.

Also at its Tuesday meeting, the board set a public hearing for next month to consider tightening local laws for nonowner-occupied rental properties.

The board voted 5-0 to set a public hearing for Oct. 21 to consider tightening local laws for nonowner-occupied rental properties.

Town board member Tracey Edwards, sponsor of the resolution, said she wants the town to consider increasing the standards of the rental registration law to require landlords of nonowner-occupied properties to obtain annual permits before a unit can be shown to prospective tenants and certify annually that the units meet all town codes.

"I think it is a good start to an existing issue," Edwards said after the vote. "We still have work to do so we can fund the budget to get adequate personnel in order to fulfill the legislation."

She said she has discussed the funding of the policy with town Supervisor Frank Petrone.

"It's perfect alignment because it's budget season. Once we find out how much personnel we'll need, I'm going to be asking the supervisor for an authorization," she said. "The revenue that we generate from this will pay for the personnel."

According to 2010 census data, rental housing accounts for 16.1 percent of Huntington's overall housing stock.

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