EL CERRITO -- The city is exploring the idea of matching Contra Costa County and other East Bay communities in enacting an ordinance regulating smoking in multifamily housing and outdoor areas.
State law prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants, and within 20 feet of entrances to public buildings.
But new city regulations could restrict it in apartments and condominiums, on sidewalks, and in parks and open space, according to assistant city manager Karen Pinkos.
El Cerrito would be following Richmond, Albany, Berkeley, Pinole, Martinez, Alameda, Concord, Dublin and the county, which already have additional smoking regulations beyond those mandated by the state, according to a presentation made by the city manager's office last week to El Cerrito's Environmental Quality Committee.
Options for controlling smoking in multifamily housing could include banning smoking in every unit, banning it in new units only or a partial ban, with designated smoking areas and units, according to the city.
El Cerrito also could restrict the percentage of smokers to nonsmokers in buildings, and ban smoking in senior and affordable housing and/or hotels and motels.
Regulations for parks and open space could include making all recreation areas smoke-free, banning smoking in parks except in designated smoking areas, or allowing smoking in some parks while prohibiting it in others.
The city could also ban smoking in outdoor areas, including sidewalks, transit stops and ATM lines and taxi stands.
Next steps could include surveying public opinion in community meetings, through written surveys, online forums and social media, and through contacting landlord and community groups and the Chamber of Commerce.
"We're going to do as much outreach as we can before drafting the ordinance," Pinkos said.
The city staff will survey community reaction to a draft ordinance before bringing a final ordinance before the City Council, she said.