Great Neck Plaza to seek county approval in smoking ban

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The Village of Great Neck Plaza voted Wednesday to seek permission from Nassau County to ban businesses that profit primarily from on-site smoking. 

“Anything associated with smoking anything that encourages that use in a business is not something I want to be associated with,” Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said. “This goes a long way to promote a healthy lifestyle in this village.”

The request, made at the trustees’ scheduled meeting, comes in the form of a negative declaration to the Nassau County Planning Commission, saying they wish to ban businesses such as smoking bars and hookah lounges. 

Great Neck Plaza’s attorney Richard Gabriele said the planning commission’s permission was needed because the ban involved a modification to zoning, which first requires a negative declaration to the county first. 

Gabriele said the trustees also didn’t vote on the ban Wednesday as laws are typically read twice before the board.

Celender said the trustees will next discuss the issue at the trustees’ meeting on Jan. 21. 

The trustees approved a moratorium in June on businesses that profit from on-site smoking, so the trustees could study the health effects of hookah smoking before deciding if the village would enact a permanent ban on smoking-related businesses. 

Gabriele said the village has had time now to review the materials on smoking and hookah lounges. 

All trustees were in agreement that on-site smoking businesses caused unwanted negative health effects in the village. 

Trustee Pamela Marksheid said she is glad the village is moving forward with this law, as she recently read that many electronic cigarettes are made in China, where the production is not regulated.

“There are carcinogens in the products to make them much more dangerous than we thought it was,” Marksheid said. 

The issue of smoking-related businesses came into the public eye of Great Neck after The Fountain Blue Hookah, located at 435 Middle Neck Road, was given permit approval in the Village of Great Neck in June. 

The owners of the controversial lounge had come under fire from Village of Great Neck trustees previously who claimed the business’ owner made “misrepresentations” during their conditional-use permit application process.

The Village of Great Neck had said they may impose sanctions on the hookah lounge, but have since decided not to. 

Last month, the Village of Great Neck decided to ban all businesses that profit from on-site smoking, but Fountain Blue Hookah was grandfathered into the law.

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