February 18, 2011 - The Dublin City Council has asked its staff to strengthen the city's smoking rules for apartment complexes with 16 or more units. After hearing an encouraging report Tuesday, February 15th on the results of a 2008 city ordinance requiring those complexes to designate 50 percent of their units smoke-free by January 1 of this year, the council told its staff to amend the ordinance to require a 75 percent ban by 2013.
Background Surrounding area..In the report, the city surveyed all 17 apartment complexes that fit the requirement and found that of the 4,146 units, 2,879, or 69 percent, are now designated smoke-free. After examining reports from each complex, it was also determined that five of the complexes had gone smoke-free and that only one had done the minimum of 50 percent.
Richmond, California officials will require multiunit housing to go smoke-free by January 1, 2011. Belmont made national headlines in 2007 when it became the first in the country to ban smoking in multiunit housing; that went into effect in January, 2009. Dublin followed suit in 2008 with a less-restrictive requirement that half the units in buildings with more than 16 rentals be smoke-free by 2010.
In Richmond, people can continue to smoke at home if it is a single-family house and on sidewalks and streets, but not within 25 feet of a door, window or vent that leads to a place where smoking is prohibited. Tobacco retailers are required to get a permit.
Richmond, CA strictest secondhand smoking laws in the San Francisco Bay Area..
"Ninety percent of the residents in Alameda County don't smoke," said Councilwoman Kasie Hildenbrand, the council's biggest advocate for a smoke-free city. "There is a great number of the population that is looking to live and breathe clean air."
A handful of Bay Area cities, led by Belmont in 2007, have banned smoking in apartment complexes. Others include Union City, Richmond and Sebastopol. Hildenbrand said Dublin is moving in that direction, but at a slower pace.
"The rest of the council has been very supportive," she said of Dublin's anti-smoking laws. "They have just been a little more conservative on how to approach it."
Before enacting its current smoking ordinance in apartments, the city set up a task force composed of apartment managers and owners, tenants and city staff to develop the law. Part of the task force's recommendation was to raise the number of units to 70 percent.
Reference: Dublin moves to toughen its smoking ordinance; brings back farmers market by Robert Jordan, Contra Costa Times, 2/17/2011.