March 23, 2009

Tall grass, smoking proposals on ordinance agenda Wednesday

The city is moving ahead with proposed laws that would require most property owners to keep their grass cut and open the door to smoking bans on city streets and sidewalks.

The controversial measures are both slated for public hearings before the city’s Ordinance Committee beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the meeting room at City Hall.

“This would be the opportunity for peole to give their views,” said Dale Clift, the city attorney, in order to give committee members information to mull over as they try to figure what, if anything, to do with the measures.

The tall grass proposal would require property owners keep grass no higher than 8 inches within 25 feet of a city street or a side yard, which would effectively require most people to cut their grass except perhaps in the back of a home lot.

The other law that the three-member ordinance panel is eyeing would allow property owners to request the city establish “tobacco-free zones” on adjoining public streets and sidewalks.

Pushing for the change is Bristol Hospital, which would like to make it illegal to smoke on Newell Road outside the hospital.

As the draft law is currently written, the city’s hearings and assessments panel would field requests for tobacco-free zones. If it approves, city councilors would have the final say.

Because of the bureaucratic steps required, it’s unlikely that many homeowners or non-institutional property owners would try to win bans for public land next door. But it’s possible that parks or schools might follow the hospital’s lead in a bid to keep smoking away.

Clift said the smoking ban that’s on the table includes language to ensure that Bristol doesn’t impose prohibitions in areas that state law specifically allows smoking, such as outside some restaurants.

He said that merely asking for a smoking ban might not be convincing to the city’s hearing panel, should the ordinance win approval.

“People will have to make a case” that convinces  it, he said, and also sways the City Council if the hearings panel recommends the ban.

There doesn’t appear to be much opposition to letting the hospital secure a tobacco-free designation for the walkways and streets beside it,  since Mayor Art Ward and several city councilors have already said they like the idea.

It isn’t clear if the hearing Wednesday will bring out opponents to either the smoking ban proposal or the effort to keep grass shorter.

The city used to have a provision against tall grass, but in the course of rewriting its codes in recent years, the provision accidentally got erased from the statute book.

State law already prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars in Connecticut as well as public buildings.


Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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Anonymous said...

I think if we truly want to stop smoking we should just continue to make buying cigarettes more and more difficult. Continue to tax them to a point where they are no longer affordable for anyone.

As far as these grass requirements, they might sound silly but this is the unfortunate position we are now in to enforce people to keep up with maintenance duties on their property. The city of Bristol could be a much more inviting place to live if everyone would do their part to maintain their houses, businesses and property. Too many people don't care however, so by making it law to maintain your property, as silly as it sounds, the city should be able to beautify itself. It's so unfortunate that some people need to have laws enforced on them to complete some of the easiest tasks or to take pride in their property.

Anonymous said...

You can create all the laws you want, bottom line in this city is enforcement. We can't enforce the laws we have on the books now.

Anonymous said...

But it sure makes one warm and fuzzy!

Maybe we will not think about all the other problems, at least until next year.

Anonymous said...

Dont we have better things to worry about? Unless we have national healthcare for everyone,funded by taxpayers, then the government should mind their business when it comes to smoking. If these dummies wanna smoke then let them.

Anonymous said...

How true we make new laws so town police could make more overtime. By the way watch the police on overtime on lake ave traffic jams and cops sitting in car on cell phones.Time to make changes with real dept heads.

Anonymous said...

How much more power can we afford to give these liberal lunatics. I have constitutional rights; no one should have the power to tell me where I can and cannot smoke. I understand and support the laws currently, but sidewalks and streets, that’s simply ridiculous. This city's left wing agenda has gone way to far...Obama has brought socialism to the national stage, looks like Ward and his liberal councilman cronies are trying to bring it to Bristol. I am absolutely disgusted in this town. It looks like we need strong conservative leadership to stand up and take back this town and make it great again. Vote straight Republican '09 to secure your constitutional rights!

Anonymous said...

@ March 23, 2009 4:10 PM

You took the words right out of my mouth.

From your mouth to God's ears (assuming God has ears, of course).

Personally, it's difficult for me to imagine a Bristol cop pulling over to tell someone to put out their butt! Give me a break. It's a cigarette, not a hypodermic needle filled with heroin or meth.

And what penalty would a violator suffer? Our court system is already overburdened, isn't it?

Who's coming up with these ideas?

Anonymous said...

Why don't the city officials merely throw out the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution ??

These proposals are absolutely absurd . The founding fathers of this great nation must be spinning in their graves .

Anonymous said...

The city should stay out of the business of smoking bans. If the hospital wants to come to the city for a ban around the hospital - have them come and talk about the proposal. As far as parks go - come on give it a rest already. The government is trying to slowly take your rights away and its happening right in front of your eyes! What happened to the days when the people gathered and came up with ideas for a law or ban. Now you its smucks that take ideas from another higher form of government! And grass! Come on! The yards with the grass issue are slum lords that don't even live in the city or state!

Odin said...

"We can't enforce the laws we have on the books now."

The rallying cry of the slacker moron. If that's what you think, then either (1) get off the couch and do something about it, or (2) pick up a newspaper or news magazine and read about all the enforcement that is going on all around you. Bristol cop Robert Motel was awarded Policeman of the Year award tonight for his work in sending a bunch of Bristol drug dealers to jail for a long time.

And Mr. "I am absolutely disgusted in this town": don't let the door bang you on the a** on the way out.

Anonymous said...

If the city wants to own the sidewalks, let them shovel them!

Anonymous said...

6:25, I wish I could vote straight republican but the candidates running are wortless. The BRTC should stop supporting Johnson and Cockayne and give us respectable candidates to elect.

Anonymous said...

To 6:25

A person's "right to smoke" ends when the toxins generated cannot diffuse into the lungs of, or onto the surface of another's skin.

No person has the right to distribute their waste products, personal toxins, or neurochemical stimulant of choice onto another.

Smokers should respect all public places and the health needs of others.
A smoker's "freedom" is another's poison.

Anonymous said...

Where does it stop? Will we not allow the obese to eat junk food on city property? Can you still buy soda and desserts at the hospital cafeteria - those aren't healthy. Smokers have already been sent outside - they have a right to smoke if they want - it's a free country. Or is it?

Anonymous said...

6:25 you are correct.

So let's also ban perfumes, colognes, body odors, passing gas, burping up your Taco Bell dinner, eating McDonald’s food in public and everything else that could possibly offend anyone.

Let's also ban snickering, laughter, snide remarks and joking because those might offend someone.

Then we can ban fat people, gay people, public displays of affection, dogs and cats that crap on other people's property, young men with the crotch of their pants hanging down, inappropriate displays of thongs when women bend over, those female tattoos on the lower back, facial piercing, funky hair colors and of course facial hair and plumber's cracks as those are all offensive too.

Don't even get me started on fat people driving while gorging food into their mouths, women putting on makeup while they drive or people in grocery stores shouting into their ear buds.

You know what really offends me? It’s self righteous idiots who believe that freedom is for them and not for others so they spend their day whining about being offended.

Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...


See your arrogance and ignorance is exactly the same problem exhibited by all the other left wing wackos that live in this town. Any time someone complains about Bristol getting worse (and I think it is obvious that it is under our Dem. Council) you suggest that we simply just leave, instead of fighting to preserve our hometown where we were raised and love dearly. Sorry, but I won't sit by and watch my fellow citizens from Bristol be taxed to death, I won't sit by and watch our constitutional rights be snatched away, I won't sit by as we expand welfare benefits to the people who are chocking the oxygen right out of our community, I won't sit by and watch our children come back from Bristol Public Schools with idealistic views of socialism and secularism. You liberals are attacking the fundamental way of American life and ruining the way of life for all of us who actually value this country, our history as a nation, and the rights that come with it. If you don’t like our way of life I suggest to you- Get out!

Odin said...

"Sorry, but I won't sit by and watch my fellow citizens from Bristol be taxed to death, I won't sit by and watch our constitutional rights be snatched away, I won't sit by as we expand welfare benefits to the people who are chocking the oxygen right out of our community, I won't sit by and watch our children come back from Bristol Public Schools with idealistic views of socialism and secularism."

Sure you will, because you're one of the "slacker morons". You're too busy watching reality TV and whining about liberals ruining "your" country to actually be part of the solution. There's a reason the American people ignored the racist/xenophobic message of ultra conservatives and elected the LIBERAL Barack Obama. It's because conservatives came close to destroying the country. We're taking it back, and if you don't like it, well, don't let the door bang you on the a** on your way out.

Anonymous said...

For some reason I can see this law passing in our crazy town. And then the police trying to enforce it. Then someone not putting down their cigarette fast enough and them end up being shot dead by the cops. If they will shoot and kill a guy with a little razor knife in their hands (near Gaylord St a few years back), then they'd probably shoot someone with a cigarette as well...and claim it was a threat to the officer...the guy was trying to inflict a deadly cigarette burn so we had to use deadly force, lol. This law is ridiculous. Make laws that actually serve a purpose and can be enforced properly. We don't need to be effin harassed in this town anymore than we already are!

Anonymous said...

We wont have to worry about all the new rules in another two years taxes will be so high only union workers will live here.

Anonymous said...

Smoke and Mirrors.

The Ward administration has gotten us into a hole: this will be one way to distract the people while the city goes down the tubes.

Dull said...

yawn, yawn, yawn - boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring.

Ward Supporter said...

9:28 - if you are so convinced that the "ward administration has gotten us into this hole", please do us all a favor and "BAIL-OUT."

Anonymous said...

"The Ward administration has gotten us into a hole" ????

How's that? While the recession has lots of cities going under, Ward's been doing a decent job of keeping our heads above water. I look forward to voting for him again.

Anonymous said...

We want to decriminalize pot to save court costs, so we make it illegal to smoke cigarettes to raise those same costs. Smoking is dumb ban it all together. WE have bigger fish to fry. Clean up the west end ghettos.

Anonymous said...

Smoker's who insist on smoking in public places deny the basic human right of another to breathe clean air.
Smokers who insist on smoking in public spaces harm the health of people having a variety of illnesses ranging from immune disorders, lung disorders, heart conditions etc.
Smokers limit the access to public spaces to both healthy and ill people thereby infringing the mobility and acess of others to the use of public spaces.

Laws exist that limit alcohol use on public streets and public ways. So why not the other most popular addiction - smoking ?
Smoker's spew the byproducts of their addiction onto others.
One would think that a adult self-proclaimed conservative would adopt a personally conservative lifestyle. They would conserve the use of their money and not waste it on destructive addictions. They would conserve their health, conserve the health of others, conserve clean air, conserve the future use of our precious health care dollars.
Given all the public information on the health dangers of smoking since the 1960's, one should think that those who pursue such an addiction are impressionable weak-minded saps who have fallen for the Madison Ave advertising schemes, or think the laws of biology don't apply to them. Such is the condition of youth.
Now it's time to grow up.

Self-proclaimed conservatives need to walk the walk.
If they smoke, attempt to take the cure rather than bemoan the fact that their "freedom" to poison themselves and others is an infrigement of their political rights. I agree with that other respondent.
That other guy that mentioned perfume abuse was right! It's just as bad as smoking abuse.

As far as the grass that grows too high. We don't need to be making a homes and feeding grounds for vermon inside densely populated areas. It's a public health issue not necessarily a beautification\maintenance issue.

Jennifer said...

A person's "right to smoke" ends when the toxins generated cannot diffuse into the lungs of, or onto the surface of another's skin.

No person has the right to distribute their waste products, personal toxins, or neurochemical stimulant of choice onto another.

By that argument, shouldn't we ban cars? They emit far more toxins than even the heaviest smoker, and damage the environment, too.

Odin said...

Jennifer: All laws that restrict personal freedoms are a balancing act. The benefits of private automobiles outweigh the costs. The benefits of regulating handgun ownership outweigh the costs. You can't say the same about tobacco.

Anonymous said...


Borrowing from the Rainy day fund to balance the budget?

Gimme a break!

Anonymous said...

The "rainy day" fund is over-funded by national standards. Why not use some of the overage?

Anonymous said...


Because it is a one-time accounting GIMMICK!

What happens next year?

That would be treating the symptom and not the illness, not unlike what is being done in Washington right now.

Anonymous said...

8:32 ~ Treating the "illness" is far beyond our capabilities. For now, treating the symptoms will have to do.

Anonymous said...


Cutting costs is beyond our capabilities???

If that is so, then Ward should not be Mayor!!!

Anonymous said...

Makes Ward feel good so he can say he did something besides give taxpayer money to the unions and raises to himself and the council.