SOUTH PORTLAND — City councilors on Tuesday unanimously sent a proposed ban on the sale of some flavored tobacco products back to workshop.

Councilors on June 4 also unanimously approved a prohibition against feeding birds in public parks, and approved a zoning map change for the proposed new Cash Corner Fire Station.

The decision to delay a restriction on flavored tobacco products, made at the recommendation of the city attorney, came after pushback from some business owners and residents.

Business owners said a more reasonable approach was taken May 28, when a local ordinance was approved to align with a state law that bans the sale and possession of all tobacco products by those under 21.

“As I sat here the last few meetings it was obvious you didn’t know the products and components,” Rose West, resident and former owner of Broadway Variety, said. “I have been in this business for over 30 years and I didn’t understand what you’re talking about or what your ordinance means.”

The closed-pod systems councilors proposed banning are small vaping devices that heat flavored nicotine solution into a vapor, which is inhaled. Common brands include Juul, MyBlue and PHIX.

The ordinance proposal would have banned sales of additives “other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, menthol mint or wintergreen” to buyers of any age. There have been three City Council workshops on the subject since Feb. 5.

Chris Jackson, owner of Portland Smoke & Vape Shop at 585 Broadway, said he is frustrated by the council’s lack of knowledge.

“I wish it wouldn’t get nasty, but you’re opening up another can of worms when you target particular products,” he said. You’re treading on water that hasn’t been dealt with before. Don’t try to bite off more than you chew.”

Corporation Counsel Sally Daggett said the proposal lacked clarity and definition and had evolved into something entirely different than the original proposal to prohibit the sale of vaping devices and nicotine near schools.

“I’m getting uncomfortable reworking this, and it’s starting to get murkier and murkier,” Daggett said. “In all fairness to the retailers, it will be hard for them to know what they can and cannot do based on this current proposal.”

The next workshop on the ordinance has not been set, but councilors said a separate ordinance will be discussed at an Aug. 13 meeting to address businesses that sell nicotine near schools.

Councilors on Tuesday also passed a law that would ban feeding geese, ducks, gulls and other waterfowl in the city.

Police will first issue warnings. Repeat offenders will be subject to fines, with $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $250 for each additional infraction.

First approval was granted at a May 21 meeting, where councilors discussed the growing problem of waterfowl feces at Mill Creek Park.

Final council action on a text amendment and zoning map change for a new Cash Corner Fire Station was in preparation for a $7 million bond referendum June 11 to finance the project.

Officials say the fire station at 360 Main St. has mold problems, inadequate ventilation and is approaching the end of its life cycle.

Krysteana Scribner can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9094. Follow her on Twitter: @krysteana2016.


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