GARDEN CITY -- The proposed smoking ban in Garden City has been snuffed out and likely won't be brought up again for quite some time.
The proposed ordinance was just one step away from becoming law in Garden City. It likely would have happened Monday night until Mayor John Evans had the item pulled from the City Council agenda late last week.
"I am very disappointed that the third reading of the ordinance was pulled from the agenda," said Elfreda Higgins, Garden City Council President.
Council members could override the mayor's move and vote to place the ordinance back on the agenda for a future meeting. The council chose not to do so. They did, however, voice their disappointment.
"I'm disappointed that this became such a confused, frankly mess," said Pam Beaumont, Garden City Council Member.
Evans has the right to pull an item from council agenda, but he has never exercised that power in his time as mayor.
"This was my way of slowing down this process and expressing my opinion because typically I don't get to vote on these things so I had to vote through an action," said Evans.
The proposed ordinance was originally brought before the council as a total ban on smoking in all public places in Garden City. However, as council members debated the item and heard from concerned business owners, the council agreed on a compromise, a partial ban.
The amended ordinance would have allowed smoking in bars, bingo parlors and hookah bars that serve customers 21 and older. However, hookah bar owners testified at previous council meetings they would lose too much business if they didn't allow patrons 18 to 20 years old.
Evans says he believes the ban would discriminate against 18 to 20 year olds.
"The state says it's legal to smoke when you're 18," said Evans. "I don't think it's Garden City's position to make that moral judgment for them."
Council members who supported the smoking ban say they plan to bring the issue back at a later time.
"I think it's going to come back," said Beaumont. "If not this mayor and this council, there will be a mayor and a council in Garden City that will in fact ban smoking."
"I do intend to bring an ordinance back within the next 12 to 18 months to make all public places smoke free," said Higgins. "That was my intent when I proposed the original ordinance."