Breaking: Bethany council votes for smoking ban

Bethany Beach Town Council members voted 5-1 on Friday, Feb. 15, in favor of drafting legislation that would ban smoking year 'round in the town's parks and playgrounds, and in its boardwalk bandstand area at Garfield Parkway. Smoking would also be banned on the rest of the boardwalk and on the town's beach during the summer season, from May 15 through Sept. 15, with the exception of designated smoking areas at the eastern edge of the new dunes. The seasonal beach ban includes "wet" areas of the beach -- its swimming and fishing zones.

The compromise legislation, with its partially seasonal ban, was favored on a second vote taken by the council Friday, after the council had tied 3-3 on the question of a year-round ban for all of those areas. With the 5-1 vote on the compromise, the council directed Town Solicitor Terence Jaywork to draft the legislation, which is to be brought before the council for adoption at a future meeting.

Violators of the ban would get a warning first, a $100 fine for their second offense and a $500 fine for each subsequent offense. Vice-Mayor Tony McClenny, who championed the ban in its stricter form and introduced it for the vote Friday, said he hoped the ban could be in place by May 1 of 2008, or June 1, 2008, at the latest. Councilman Tracy Mulligan was the sole council member to vote in opposition the ban on Feb. 15. Councilman Steve Wode was absent.