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Morgantown City Council to Consider Tobacco Ban in Parks

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Morgantown City Council met on Tuesday night to discuss a few topics that have been controversial in the past, including expanding the city's tobacco ban.

Council chambers was the site of a "Committee of the Whole" meeting, meaning that no action was taken, but council member said several plans are in the works.

First, council members discussed a proposed ordinance banning tobacco from all BOPARC facilities. This includes Marilla Park, the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park, and the ice arena.

The city's previous ban only affected indoor facilities, such as bars and restaurants. But state officials, who also attended Tuesday night's meeting, said it's a change for the better.

"[It's a] role model for the kids. If they can't do it in the schools, if they can't do it in the restaurants...it's unhealthy behavior, especially during athletics and sports. Hopefully the climate of tobacco use in West Virginia will change," said Beverly Keener of the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention.

The ban does include e-cigarettes. Council will make a final decision on the ordinance at a later meaning.

Also on Tuesday night, council discussed building permits within the city and if West Virginia University, a state agency, should have to abide by city code. In a letter to city council, the City of Morgantown Housing Advisory Committee recommended council to take action and require WVU to file for and obtain such permits when constructing or developing new property.

City Manager Jeff Mikorski said he and council members plan to conduct research on the subject but that both sides need to continue working together.

"What they do impacts us, what we do impacts them. In order to develop a fully functional city and university, we're both gonna have to get together and understand what each other's concerns are, how to enhance each other when the one of us is doing projects..." said Mikorski.