Winsted city manager creates public smoking ordinance at the request of elected officials

WINSTED — Following a request from the Board of Selectmen, City Manager Josh Kelly has drafted an ordinance regulating public smoking, including cannabis.

“I responded to the council’s request for information on the ordinances, and I saw some that were written by other cities; Torrington is considering a similar project,” he said. “I tried to solicit as much information as possible to create this.”

The order is now in the hands of City Attorney Kevin Nelligan for review. “(T)here’s an update on that at the next Board of Selectmen meeting,” Kelly said. “By the end of the week, actually, we’ll have more information on what he wants to change, or he’ll say it’s OK that way.”

The ordinance will carry penalties for violations, consistent with what Connecticut’s general statutes have adopted, according to Kelly.

“It’s $50 for violations, and no more than $100, and no more than $1,000 against a restaurant, if that’s where the violation occurs,” he said. “There is an outline of the areas where smoking is prohibited.”

Now he wants feedback from coaches and the public. Once the order has been approved by council, it will go to a public hearing.

“This is the first part of a multi-part process, to get this passed by July 1,” Kelly said.

Lawmakers approved the An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis bill, in June 2021, legalizing the sale and cultivation of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. zoning ordinances, or restrict the location of retail establishments related to schools, churches and hospitals. Residents can also request a vote on whether a city should allow them.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is also preparing to pass regulations for the sale and cultivation of cannabis, and this council has established three areas of the city where a retail or cultivation/manufacturing business would be permitted. The commission is holding public hearings on the new zoning bylaw in June.

The commission “may grant a special permit to allow the location of cannabis retail, hybrid retail and micro-cultivation establishments in the gateway, downtown and production and innovation “, says the rules of the commission. It excludes Main Street from East End Park to Beardsley Library.

According to the regulation, cannabis businesses cannot be located “within 200 feet of a residential area, school or daycare center, place of worship or playground, ( or) located on Main Street from East End Park to Beardsley Library.

Selectwoman Candy Perez made a motion to move forward with the ordinance, which passed unanimously.

Coach Jonathan Morhardt said that although he was initially against passing an ordinance, he was voting for it.

“I now think that will be a great way to regulate it,” he said.

When creating the new ordinance, Kelly said, he will be able to organize other parts of Winsted’s smoking regulations.

“There are a number of anti-smoking clauses in our prescriptions, and it puts them all in one place,” he said. “We can go through the others and bring them all together.”

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