The City of Sheboygan is easing its restrictions on enclosed public smoking cigarettes areas at businesses such as bars and restaurants, though an official said the city ordinance still would be in compliance with the statewide smoking cigarettes ban.

The Common Council Monday night approved increasing the amount of wall space in a smoking cigarettes area from 50 to 75 percent of the confined surface area, which places the minimum open space area at 25 percent. Businesses that already have been approved for permits are grandfathered in.

“Anecdotally, we’re getting complaints from certain bar owners that certain other bars aren’t in compliance with their (smoking cigarettes) rooms,” said Chuck Adams, assistant city attorney.

Adams said the city is finding that since the smoking cigarettes ban became law last July, noise complaints and disturbances outside bars have increased, “because people are basically being pushed outdoors to smoke.”

Police officials, in turn, were concerned that they didn’t want the restrictions on smoking cigarettes areas so tight that no tavern owner would want to construct one, Adams said.

“Ideally, you’d like to have these people congregating in a place that has some semblance of control,” Adams said.

The council’s Law & Licensing Committee backed the ordinance change.

“By having people smoke cigarettes on the street was causing problems, it’s better for the safety of the citizens to have smoking cigarettes rooms,” Ald. Mark Hanna said.

Adams said the changes also make the city ordinance clear that smoking cigarettes areas need to be separate from the primary serving area of an establishment.

“We were hearing complaints that there were some smoking cigarettes areas inside bars that everybody had to walk through, and obviously that was not provided for in the statutes,” Adams said.

Important Notice: Galaxy site web.