Superior City Council Passes New Vape Store Ordinance

In a significant move to regulate the proliferation of vape shops, the Superior City Council has passed a new zoning ordinance aimed at limiting access to vaping devices. This ordinance, which was approved on Tuesday, introduces stringent measures to control the location and operation of vape stores within the city. The decision comes in response to growing concerns about the impact of vaping on public health, particularly among young people.

The new ordinance imposes several restrictions on where vape shops can be located. Businesses that dedicate 10% or more of their floor space to the sale of vaping products must now adhere to specific zoning requirements. These shops are only permitted in commercial, highway commercial, or shopping center commercial districts. Additionally, they cannot be situated within 300 feet of residential areas or within 1,000 feet of schools, libraries, childcare centers, parks, or playgrounds. This measure aims to reduce the visibility and accessibility of vaping products to minors and vulnerable populations.

The ordinance also limits the number of vape shops to one per 25,000 residents, based on the most recent census data. This cap is intended to prevent the saturation of vape shops in the city, ensuring that they do not become a common sight in neighborhoods. Existing businesses are grandfathered in, meaning they are not immediately affected by the new rules, but future establishments will face these stringent guidelines.

Mayor Jim Paine emphasized the importance of this ordinance in addressing the vaping issue in Superior. He noted that while the new rules might not solve the problem overnight, they are a crucial step in curbing the growth of vape shops and protecting public health.

Licensing and Signage Restrictions

In addition to zoning regulations, the ordinance introduces new licensing requirements for vape shops. Businesses must obtain a license from the city to operate, and this license must be renewed periodically. The licensing process includes a thorough review of the business’s compliance with the new zoning and operational standards. This ensures that only those businesses that meet the city’s strict criteria can continue to sell vaping products.

The ordinance also places restrictions on signage for vape shops. Only one on-premise sign is allowed, and it must not include flashing lights, moving elements, or changing messages. Window displays are also prohibited, and a small sign on the door can state the hours of operation and that admittance is for adults only. These measures are designed to minimize the appeal of vape shops and reduce their visibility to the general public, particularly young people.

Councilor Lindsey Graskey proposed an amendment to apply these signage restrictions to existing shops as well. This amendment aims to create a uniform standard for all vape shops in the city, ensuring that they all adhere to the same rules and contribute to the overall goal of reducing vaping among minors.

Community and Health Impacts

The passage of this ordinance is part of a broader effort to address the public health concerns associated with vaping. Vaping has been linked to various health issues, particularly among teenagers and young adults. By limiting the number and visibility of vape shops, the city hopes to reduce the prevalence of vaping and its associated health risks.

Councilor Mark Johnson, who also teaches at Superior High School, highlighted the impact of vaping on students. He noted that vaping has become a significant problem in schools, with many students using vaping devices regularly. The new ordinance is seen as a necessary step to combat this trend and protect the health of young people in the community.

The ordinance is also expected to have economic implications for the city. By regulating the number and location of vape shops, the city aims to create a more balanced commercial environment. This could potentially attract other types of businesses to the area, contributing to the overall economic development of Superior.

Mayor Paine expressed optimism about the ordinance’s potential to make a positive impact on the community. He acknowledged that while the new rules might face some opposition, they are essential for the long-term health and well-being of Superior’s residents.

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