LOCKPORT – The Lockport City Council voted Wednesday to regulate vaping and related businesses within its municipal code and zoning ordinance.
City Administrator Ben Benson said Thursday the changes were made to preserve the identity and integrity of the Lockport business community.
The municipal code amendments, which fall under the city’s policy on regulated substances, require specific businesses such as hookah lounges and shops with vapor product sampling to install an air filtration system. For existing businesses, the filtration system must be installed within 18 months of the approval of the change. Council member Darren Deskin voted against the amendments, as did member JR Gillogly, Benson said.
Deskin said Thursday he was against the filtration system requirement. The substances in vaping products are found in many consumable items such as makeup and medicine, he said, and are safe for consumption, making filtration systems unnecessary.
“Sometimes we just don’t agree,” he said of his vote.
Also under the amendments, a tobacco dealer’s license will be required of someone who sells vapor products. Operators of existing Lockport vape shops – of which there are three – have 18 months to get the license, according to Benson.
The municipal amendments also include FDA language on tobacco and related products, language expanding the definition of tobacco products and added definitions related to vaping.
With the zoning amendments, specified businesses – including vape shops – can’t be within 100 feet of a school, child care facility, public park or building used for education or recreation programs for children. The businesses also must be more than 1,000 feet from a similar operation.
“I think the council was concerned with density,” Benson said.
According to Benson, Lockport has 22 businesses with tobacco licenses, not including the three vape shops that must be licensed. Also as part of the amendments, definitions and uses were added for vaping, hookah and cigar venues. The zoning amendments passed, 7-1, Benson said, with Deskin as the lone ‘no’ vote. Deskin said he cast on principle because of his opposition to the filtration mandate.