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  • Kevin Elliott

Vaping permit moratorium extended

A moratorium on retail sales and land uses involving onsite use of vaping products in multiple tenant commercial buildings in the city of Rochester was extended on Monday, November 13, by city council for another 90 days.

Rochester City Council in September initially approved a 90-day moratorium on the issue to allow the city's planning commission time to update the city's ordinance regarding vaping uses in multi-unit commercial buildings. However, Rochester City Attorney Jeff Kragt said the planning commission needed additional time to complete a proposed ordinance amendment.

"The planning commission considered this issue at its October and November planning commission meetings. At the November 6, 2017 meeting, additional work was requested on the ordinance as well as a request to have a presentation by the Rochester Police Department on the issue of vaping," Kragt said. "Considering the number of meetings required to adopt any zoning ordinance, an extension of the initial moratorium should be considered."

Council members on November 13 unanimously approved extending the moratorium.

The actions are intended to restrict on-site vaping uses in commercial buildings where multiple tenants are located, the concern being that such locations typically utilize shared heating and cooling systems which may allow secondhand vapor to spread to other businesses.

The action follows increased penalties for underage offenses of e-cigarette use approved by city council in May 2017. Electronic cigarettes are devices that resemble cigarettes, but use an internal heating mechanism to warm refillable liquids into an aerosol, or vapor, which can be inhaled. The process is known as vaping.

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