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Local News

Lockport officials talk vape shop ventilation

LOCKPORT – Lockport officials Wednesday discussed how to move forward with regulating vape shops.

At the city council’s Committee of the Whole meeting, there was disagreement about how the city should address the licensing requirement that vape shops install exhaust systems.

One option, favored by city staff, was to require an air cleaner at the businesses. The other option would be to amend the building code, but the amendment could lead to potentially expensive mandates. Under the air cleaner requirement, shops would pay $1,939 a unit plus delivery and installation, according to city documents.

However, not all council members were in favor of the regulation.

“I simply have no idea why we would require any vape shop to go ahead and put in an exhaust system,” member Darren Deskin said in a video of the meeting posted on the city’s website.

Deskin said he has been in vape shops and never smelled anything and that “governments should not be in the business of regulating smell.”

“I think it’s more than smell,” member Kris Capadona said in the video, noting the air cleaner also would filter out chemicals.

With the majority of members in favor of the staff recommendation, the item is set to go to the council July 20 for a vote. As a result of Wednesday’s discussion, however, the time frame within which existing businesses must comply would be extended from a year to 18 months.

Also at Wednesday’s committee meeting, the council received an update from City Administrator Ben Benson on the city’s effort to sell a vacant lot it owns at 929 S. State St.

The city bought the property for $80,000 in 2013 and plans to hire Caton Commercial Real Estate Group for $15,000 to represent Lockport in the sale of the site, Benson said Thursday.

The city would like to see the lot go to a buyer who will build a historic-looking structure relatively quickly. Ideally, Lockport would like a mixed-use building with retail on the ground floor and office or residential space on the upper stories, Benson said, adding there will be opportunities for the buyer to negotiate on cost and incentives.

The council is expected to vote on the Caton Commercial contract July 20.

After its committee meeting, the council held a regular meeting, at which it approved a $692,732.77 contract with low bidder Austin Tyler Construction for road resurfacing, plus an additional $61,401.23 for a curb replacement project.

A $91,176.50 contract was awarded to low bidder Strada Construction for sidewalk work. Strada is authorized to spend up to $160,000 – the amount originally budgeted by the city for the work – to address additional sidewalk service requests.

All council members present voted in favor of the contracts. Member Brian Smith and Mayor Steven Streit were absent. Member Joanne Bartelsen served as mayor pro tem.

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