Silver Creek settles on smoking policy instead of law

SILVER CREEK – After almost a year of deliberation, the Silver Creek Village Board opted to pass a no smoking policy.

Mayor Nick Piccolo said the board settled on a no smoking policy because it cannot enforce a law.

The policy designates the village square, the spray pool, the Ward Avenue Little League ball complex, the Babcock Street basketball courts, Borrello Park, the village ball park including the tennis courts, playground and pavilion as smoke-free areas marked with signage “to protect children and nonsmokers from being subjected to second-hand smoke.”

The policy also says smoking areas will be designated and marked off for village functions and annual scheduled events.

“Smokers have rights too,” Piccolo explained.

The policy will take effect on Aug. 1 and will be reviewed after six months by the planning board when it can be made permanent. After that time it will remain in effect unless a state, county or local law is passed that can be enforced.

Melissa Shaw, the resident who brought the issue to light after last year’s Festival of Grapes, said she called Project Director Laurie Adams with the Tri-County Tobacco Free Program and there would need to be clarification of the policy in order to receive the free signs from the program.

“I think the policy is wonderful but in order to get the free signs there needs to be some refinement of one paragraph,” she explained.

Shaw said because the program is state funded there are requirements, which includes not designating smoking areas. She said if it was stated the smoking areas would be temporary and would be designated by a board, then the village would be eligible for the free signage.

“I think we have gone above and beyond with this policy,” Piccolo said.

Before voting on the policy, Trustee Ben Peters asked if the board would like to make those changes to receive the free signage. Piccolo responded that the signs are not necessary with the policy and the cost would be minimal. The board voted unanimously to approve the policy.

The board also approved four resolutions, two of which were amendments to the water project that were previously read at the last meeting, but cost figures were not given and documents to sign were not available. The third resolution was an agreement with the city of Dunkirk for the city to hold the village police’s weapons while the board “decides what to do for police protection.” All three were unanimously approved.

The board also passed a resolution in support of the North Regional Water District Project. The resolution did not have any participatory or financial obligation for the village, which has a contract with the Erie County Water Authority until 2019.

It was reported the water project is on schedule and the work in the village square will be completed this week in time for the Laurel Run on Saturday.

Piccolo also reported Petri’s is selling equipment with plans to auction the rest or sell it with the building if a buyer is interested. Piccolo said he has heard there are several parties interested in the property.

The board will hold its next meeting on Aug. 5.