Great Neck, New York - smoking banned on sidewalks - hefty penalty..

January 7, 2011 - Great Neck has banned smoking on public sidewalks in front of business and other areas on Middle Neck Road. Mayor Ralph J. Kreitzman said the ban, approved on Tuesday, January 4th was enacted after officials got complaints about smokers standing outside stores in the village.

“After complaints about smoke entering Village stores and upsetting customers,” Kreitzman said, “the Village decided to enact this local law to prevent such situations. It also is a health benefit for pedestrians. It would be great to see other Villages follow in our footsteps.”

It’s the first municipality in the New York State and third in the nation to enact such a restriction, according to a Great Neck village board press release.

The law, which went into effect Wednesday, January 5th prohibits smoking tobacco and other substances on sidewalks along or within 125 feet of Middle Neck Road in front of commercial establishments, the Village Green Park and the Village Housing Authority. The enforcement area stretches 1.3 miles. The ban also precludes smoking at benches in municipal parking lots with access to Middle Neck Road and within 10 feet around them.

The penalty is left to the discretion of a judge, who can fine a violator up to $1,000 or order up to 15 days in jail, Kreitzman said.

Village Attorney Stephen G. Limmer said enforcing the ban "will take some time," starting with posting signs in no-smoking areas and having business owners let smokers know about the ban. After that, parking enforcement officers and building inspectors would be responsible.

Great Neck Village already prohibits smoking in parks and municipal buildings. More than 200 municipalities across New York and about a half-dozen on Long Island have laws that restrict smoking in parks and on public beaches.

Neighboring New York City is currently considering a smoking ban in parks and pedestrian plazas. (New York City - City Council moves one step closer to extending smoking ban to parks and beaches..)

References: Great Neck Bans Smoking on Public Sidewalks by Long Island Press on 1/5/2011; Great Neck Village smoking ban takes effect, by NICHOLAS SPANGLER ( AND EMILY C. DOOLEY (,, 1/6/2011.