Millburn Township Committee Prepares to Ban Smoking in Municipal Buildings, Parks and Recreation Areas

Boy Scout Jamie Serruto, 12, addresses the Township Committee about old oil tanks around town that have been leaking in front of businesses. Credits: Patricia Harris

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Committee worked Tuesday night on an ordinance that will ban smoking in and near municipal buildings and in local parks and recreation areas. The ordinance had been suggested earlier this summer by the Environmental Commission, as away of earning points toward a Sustainable Jersey certification.

Nine other Essex County municipalities have passed smokefree parks and recreational area ordinances. The committee plans to introduce its ordinance at the Sept. 2 meeting and adopt it in October.

The township’s attorney, Christopher Falcon, told the committee New Jersey already bans smoking in municipal buildings and recently passed a bill extending the ban to parks and beaches. If and when the governor signs the bill, the state’s law would supersede any municipal ordinance.

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Following a discussion, the governing body decided to pass its own ordinance and, if need be, revisit the issue later. The discussion centered on a provision in the draft ordinance that would ban smoking within 35 feet of a municipal building.

“Thirty-five feet is going to be almost impossible to enforce,” noted committee member Sandra Haimoff.

Committee member Ian Mount suggested, “Either we do away with (the 35-foot requirement) completely or we make a designated smoking area.”

In the end, the committee decided to eliminate the 35-foot provision and delineate a protected area around the buildings.

Also at the session, committee member Sari Greenberg announced the township will be going live on two social media sites, Twitter and Instagram, on Sept. 3. Residents can send and receive information such as road closures and potholes on Twitter by using “@MillburnTwp” and share photos and videos about family activities and recreation on Instagram by using “MillburnTwp.”

The township’s presence on social media is a result of work done over the summer by interns at Town Hall. The committee heard from three of them, all students at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, about their experience.

During the public session, a 12-year-old Boy Scout, Jamie Serruto, brought up the topic ofold oil tanks around town that have been leaking in front of businesses and suggested officials make sure they are taken out. Township administrator Timothy Gordon explained the state regulates the oil tanks and in many cases, nothing is done until they leak. He added the tanks must be tested every 10 years. Gordon said perhaps testing should be done more frequently.

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