North Richland Hills approves stricter limits on smoking

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on September 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 23 at 9:30 PM

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — A proposed city-wide smoking ordinance was approved by the North Richland Hills City Council on Monday night.

It outlaws smoking in restaurants; the majority of motels; and also within 25 feet of the entrance of public buildings.

The proposed ban drew mixed reaction Sunday at establishments like Sparks Sports Bar.

Although bars are mostly exempt from the new ordinance, Sparks backs up to a local barbeque restaurant. They are under the same roof and share a communal bathroom area.

Staff there believes the new ordinance could mean extensive renovations, or smokers having to find somewhere else altogether.

"A lot of our clientele are smokers," said manager Nicki Bach, who is worried the move could impact business.

The proposal for a stricter ordinance was first proposed last year, according to 17-year-old Leon Zajimovic. He is on the city's youth advisory committee, the group that asked city leaders to take a hard look at changes that Zajimovic said nearby cities like Fort Worth and Hurst made within the past few years.

"Adults aren't the only humans trying to make changes," he said. "We're overdue for it here."

The city did host a couple of meetings with restaurant operators over the summer announcing that changes could be on the way.

Patrons will still be able to light up in patio areas of restaurants, as well as in "smoking" establishments like cigar stores.

The changes enacted Monday will go into effect on January 1.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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