The Jefferson City City Council has taken on a debate about smoking in public housing. A subcommittee of the City Council has announced a special meeting to discuss smoking regulations in public housing and whether the council has any power to change them. Several citizens from public housing and Smokefree Jefferson City asked the council earlier this month to strengthen regulations on smoking in public housing.
The Jefferson City Housing Authority has one nonsmoking building, the Ted J. Herron Apartments for the Elderly, but smokers can still smoke 10 feet away from the building. The 10-foot rule at the nonsmoking building is within the city ordinance, but City Councilmember Carrie Carroll says a new ordinance might be appropriate: “The two ordinances we’ll look at would be banning smoking in public housing or banning smoking in senior public housing.”
Herron Apartments residents say they are still bothered by secondhand smoke. The City Council is looking to work on a remedy with the Housing Authority: “Their goal is to fill their housing," says Carroll. "And we understand, so we don’t want to hinder that. But we do want to work with them, especially when we have constituents that are calling their council people.”
The Housing Authority has to operate under city public safety laws, but outside of that it has its own federal regulations to follow. The Administration Committee plans to take up the issue at a special June 27th meeting.