Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 3:07 pm
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GLENS FALLS — A local law banning smoking at city-owned parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities in Glens Falls is now in effect, said City Clerk Robert Curtis on Wednesday.

The law prohibits smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes or any form of tobacco products at any city-owned parks, beaches, pools, outdoor sporting arenas, outdoor stages or on the sidewalks adjoining such places.

Any person convicted of violating the law can be punished by a fine of up to $250 or imprisonment of up to 15 days or both.

City officials said the intent is to use the weight of the law as a deterrent to smoking in parks, not to be punitive.

“What we are trying to do is ensure the quality of life in our parks and recreational areas. We’re not looking to put anyone in jail,” said Mayor John “Jack” Diamond.

“I think that the law is going to take care of itself,” said 5th Ward Councilman Bennet Driscoll.

Glens Falls Police do not plan any targeted enforcement efforts, but will watch during routine patrols for people smoking and notify them of the law, said Captain Robert Ash.

“Sometimes a verbal warning will be enough. … If a verbal warning is not enough, we’ll have to issue an appearance ticket,” he said.

Ash said police will investigate any complaints of people smoking in parks, the same as they would with any other complaints.

The city Common Council unanimously enacted the law on Aug. 9, to be effective as soon as the process of filing it with the state Department of State was complete.

The Department of State notified the city on Wednesday that the process was completed on Monday, Curtis said.