New Regulations for Smoke and Vape Shops in Huntington

New Regulations for Smoke and Vape Shops in Huntington

The City Council of Huntington is on the verge of reshaping the regulations governing smoke and vape shops in town. This shift in policy has been driven by a fast-paced increase in the number of these businesses mushrooming across the city. A city spokesperson gave credence to these discussions, indicating the Council’s serious consideration of this issue.

In a recent council meeting, City Planner Jenny Lockman proposed an important distinction. Under the current system, most businesses dealing in goods fall under the generic ‘retail’ classification. However, Lockman’s proposal suggests creating a distinct category for smoke, vape, and tobacco stores. It’s worth noting that this proposal would affect at least 13 businesses currently operating in the city.

The council meeting on Monday witnessed the first reading of this proposed ordinance. If this comes to pass, it would bar new smoke or vape shops from opening within 1,500 feet of educational institutions, daycares, or existing tobacco businesses. This move aims to maintain a safe distance between these businesses and spaces frequented by children and adolescents.

It’s essential to note that existing locations will not be forced to change under the new rules. These businesses will be ‘grandfathered in’, allowing them to continue operations as usual. However, any plans for expansion will subject them to the proposed regulations. Additionally, if any existing shop were to close, they would have to adhere to the new regulations if they wish to reopen.

Council Member Pat Jones weighed in on the proposed regulations. While Jones is not in favor of restricting commerce, he expressed concern about the proximity of these shops to educational institutions. He emphasized the need for businesses to be in compliance with the forthcoming laws aimed at protecting young, impressionable minds.

Upon reaching out to several shop managers in Huntington, they revealed they were unaware of these potential changes. Consequently, they chose to refrain from commenting on the issue. The impact of these proposed changes on the business community remains to be seen.

The next council meeting in June is set to see the second reading of the ordinance. It’s here that the future of smoke and vape shops in Huntington will be decided, marking a significant moment in the city’s regulatory landscape.

The City of Huntington stands at the precipice of significant changes in its business regulatory framework. As the City Council contemplates new restrictions for smoke and vape shops, both businesses and residents eagerly await the decision. As it stands, the ordinance presents a delicate balancing act between preserving commerce and ensuring the welfare of the city’s young residents.

Matthew Ma