Reston Association To Mull Wider Smoking Ban

RA North Point Director Mike Collins will introduce motion to prohibit smoking within 50 feet of Reston Association facilities.

Reston Association North Point Director Mike Collins will introduce a motion at this week's meeting that will expand the no-smoking zone around RA facilities and change signage to include information on how to quit smoking.

The current RA policy says smoking is prohibited within all RA community buildings, pool facilities, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, ball fields, multipurpose courts, garden plots and tot lots.

This smoking ban is also in effect for up to a 25-foot perimeter around these buildings or facilities or to the extent that the 25 feet, or any portion thereof, comprises RA Common Area.

Collins' motion extends the no-smoking zone to 50 feet and also adds a request that people not smoke in other RA areas, such as on the bike paths.

"More than 700 municipalties have similar smoking rules," says Collins. 

Collins' motion adds this to the end of Common Area Rules & Regulations Resolution 1, Paragraph 4: "On Common Area property where smoking is not prohibited by this resolution, RA strongly discourages smoking and requests that all persons refrain from smoking.”

A second motion authorizes RA to place signs in well-traveled locations along paved pathways with the following language: 

For the sake of your health and those around you, please help RA keep our paths and parks smoke-free. If you need help to quit smoking, call 1 -800-QUIT NOW or go to www.smokefree.gov.

Funding for such signage shall be obtained through private donations and grants, Collins says. He said he does not yet know what the cost of the signs will be.

In late 2011, Reston Association voted to install including tot lots, soccer fields, garden plots and tennis courts. That also came from a motion from Collins.

Those signs cost $41 each, totalling around $5,000. Money for those signs came out of the 2011 budget.

Signs are already in place at Reston's pools and community buildings. 

While Nobles has gotten more than 1,400 signatures on a petition supporting a bike path smoking ban, the idea was not supported by most RA board members when they discussed it in late 2011. The main caveat:  How would RA enforce such a ban?

Then-RA president Kathleen Driscoll said in 2011 that she was unconvinced RA had the manpower to enforce such a thing.

"We are not convinced that we have the staffing ability on all 55 miles of pathways to enforce this," she said. "We have agreed that none of us have registered a significant amount of infractions. From time to time, sure, people smoke, but I once counted and saw no one. "

Collins said that expanding the no-smoking zone and encouraging voluntary compliance on the paths is a "good compromise."

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Ray February 27, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Oh, it is a charmed life indeed! If you only knew you would feel the same as I do. :-) Sorry that I can't share this joy with the rest of the world. I just want to sing and dance about it!!! Rainbows and Unicorns HOORAY!!!
Java Master February 28, 2013 at 02:28 AM
I have yet to read a death certificate with the cause of death listed as "death by second hand smoke". LOL And Laughing Out Loud is exactly what I shall be doing as I light up my pipe while I relax in the park this weekend....Mike Collins and the worthless RA Board notwithstanding.
Ray February 28, 2013 at 04:57 AM
Reston is straight up GHETTO... I can't believe what we have to put up with here. These first world problems are almost too unbearable for my charmed life of unicorns, rainbows, lovely greenspace and awesome high rise condos! I love Reston, so full of the charm that charms me. :-)
JAK February 28, 2013 at 06:02 AM
I am in 100% agreement with you here (Uh-oh, we're in agreement, watch out, the Earth may just implode in on itself now! ;-) Seriously, aside from the many problems I have with this ludicrous attack on smokers, I am even more perplexed by the apparent lack of priorities here. Regarding Mr. Lovaas' mention of litter, I have witnessed this becoming an increasing problem for many years now. This litter not only extends towards human induced disgraces, but in terms of the Common Properties I'm also witnessing an extreme lack of maintenance. Next to where I live we have a large swath of such property, and oddly enough we and our neighbors are the only people who take care of it. RA came by to supposedly chop up and remove tree debris left over from our June Derecho, yet all they did with their chainsaw and fancy gear was trim off some small end branches and leave the rest of it there. I did more in one day with an axe and a handsaw, and with half as many people. Also, one of our pathways in particular runs over two creeks, and both are in extreme states of disrepair. Every time it rains, the lower clogged creek washes over the pathway and deposits rocks, mud, and other debris all over it, completely covering it at times with a plethora of junk many inches thick. Per the upper creek crossing higher in elevation, the rock wall holding back erosion has all but crumbled into the creek itself, and now you're faced with a nearly 10 foot drop-off straight onto a jagged pile of rocks.
Ana Ham February 28, 2013 at 06:07 AM
Good grief next they will try to ban smoking on your own property.
Carol Denney February 28, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Secondhand smoke has very real, very serious health effects. As a cancer patient, I wish more people would recognize that the majority of people don't smoke, and should have to suffer health effects of other people's addictions.
Carol Denney February 28, 2013 at 05:51 PM
I meant to say, should NOT have to suffer the health effects of other people's addictions, sorry.
Mike M February 28, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Carol, Sorry to burst your bubble but . . . Yes, second hand smoke is bad for you. Smoke is bad for you. A+ for your good intentions and health concerns. No, this motion will do absolutely to diminish second hand smoke. It will do nothing but expend resources. There is cost, but no true benefit. Well, it may make you and your compadres feel better. But it will do nothing to save anyone from second hand smoke. There is no problem identified with second hand smoke emanating from the 25-50 foot zone from the areas under discussion either. Why are we trying to fix problems that don't exist? Is it because we can't face up to real problems with real solutions? F for the effectiveness of your participation in self-government. Get it?
MichaelJ February 28, 2013 at 07:09 PM
I am personally very glad that various ordinances and state laws have banned smoking in public places such as restaraunts and bars. I very much dislike having to navigate through a cloud of smoke. However, those rules are enforced and codified by elected governmental bodies (county) and legislatures (state). It seems way out of sorts for a homeowner's association to get into this sort of business. I understand the intent and don't impugn the motives. But the RA is a bit too big for its britches in many respects, and should stay in its lane as just that, a homeowner's association. Mike Collins correctly references "jurisdictions," but I don't view the RA as a jurisdiction, just as I don't view my cluster as one either. If RA wants to take this issue up, and do it right in terms of actual enforcement, they should petition our elected officials and not a toothless elected homeowners association.
Deanne Baine March 01, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Congratulations to the Reston Association Board for taking on such a worthwhile endeavor! I am thrilled to live in a community that is taking a stand for public health and our environment in the form of this initiative. Bravo, Mike Collins, and to every other member of the board who voted last night in favor of expanding our anti-tobacco zones and for keeping Reston as a front-runner in forward-thinking, more healthful and enjoyable living. To the board member who opposed the initiative in part because "nicotine can have health benefits": While there have been some studies that show some health benefits via nicotine -- which is one of many, MANY chemicals in cigarettes, most scientists also note that the delivery of the nicotine ideally would be in a much purer form. In other words, there is not a cry from the responsible scientific community for anyone to take up smoking for their good health.
Deanne Baine March 01, 2013 at 05:47 PM
If you live in multi-family housing, yes, that may be coming. It's already a reality in some California communities. I applaud it because the ill health effects of secondhand smoke are well-documented.
Mike M March 01, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Deanne, it's a bad idea because it will have no affect. Butthanks for demonstrating your Liberal passions that cause you to support the allocation of resources on the basis of emotion rather than logic. I wonder how much more of that this country can afford.
Deanne Baine March 01, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Mike M, I'm so very sorry that you choose to label public health and environmental concerns and efforts as "liberal passions." I would hope that all citizens, no matter what their political leanings, would support community outreach and policies that 1) help keep our youth from adopting negative health behaviors that can end up being a serious drain on public medical resources, which can lead to higher taxes, and 2) that are just good common sense given the massive amounts of peer-reviewed scientific documentation that smoking and second-hand smoke cause cancer and other disease. Our country cannot afford tobacco, plain and simple.
Mike M March 01, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Deeanne, read my posts, if you would. I don't argue that smoking and second-hand is good for you. I accept your premise that it is not. I just think before the RA commits resources to this tweeking of the rules and signage, they ought to have reason to believe there will be some benefit beyond making you and your busybody friends feel good. There is a logic disconnect resulting from your "liberal passions." My whole point: there is no benefit to be expected from the policy. If the cost-benefit test fails, the policy should be dropped. You don't go hosing your resources away based on a hope and a prayer, and nothing else. I mean hitting yourself on the side of the head is bad too. Need signs? Breathing auto exhaust is bad too - probably far more damaging. Shall we post signage telling people to consider walking and keeping their car tuned? Your concerns are valid. But address them with reason and with actions that will have reasonable hope of reasonable success. Think of all the "bad' things that RA could chase with signage. Sure they might be bad things, but are the signs worth it? I don't like litter and the current signage seems to be completely ignored by the litter bugs. So, more signs? Soon the signs would be more of an eyesore than the litter! Comprende, mama?
Deanne Baine March 02, 2013 at 02:59 PM
MM: Reston is in huge trouble if we really will "hose away our resources" via volunteers who raise some extra funds to purchase new signage. And as I understand it, the signage would amend messages in places that already have signage, such as the litter disposal and pet station areas. Regarding your auto exhaust statement, the idea is to have areas where our citizens can walk or exercise, often with children and pets in tow, without breathing harmful chemicals. Comprende, papa?
Mike M March 02, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Oh, si! Yo comprendo! Deanne, your leftishness is cute. Again, you haven't addressed my point. Is there a problem that this will solve? The answer is no. It is a purely emotional, feel good exercise for a self-absorbed freakish minority that would volunteer for any politically correct exercise that enables them to scold those who are not like them. Just because volunteers are involved doesn't make it free. RA will commit resources for discussion, oversight, maintenance, etc. They will also, clean the graffiti off. I think they will also do some installation. How about if we get a bunch of right wing volunteers to put anti-abortion language on these sign warning pregnant young women to call certain number or click into certain websites? Or is that the wrong end of the spectrum for you and your volunteers? Be honest. The things that "volunteers have done in history include some pretty hateful stuff. Putting this extra language in signage will not give "citizens" (nor comrades) areas to walk and exercise without breathing harmful chemicals. That's the point! It is fantasy to this it will. Auto exhaust pervades your sanctuary already. So do other harmful chemicals. It is all about the "idea" isn't it? This discussion didn't start with anyone saying there was a problem with smokers getting into the 25-50 foot interval.
Mike M March 02, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Deanne, tonight, in your honor, I shall smoke a very fine cigar!
Deanne Baine March 03, 2013 at 03:33 PM
MM, Interesting that you choose to label me a "leftist" -- which I'm definitely not on many issues -- presumably because you cannot fathom how your own unhealthy, disease-causing recreation pollutes the air of those around you and can indeed cause discomfort and harm. Why do you feel that your right to smoke trumps others' rights to enjoy and exercise on smoke-free pathways? I've lived, owned homes and paid fees for more than 20 years in this community, and I've had numerous experiences where I've had to breathe the trailing smoke of cigarette and cigar smokers on our pathways. At least now, with this initiative that's similar to many others that have been implemented nationwide, including in some of our neighboring counties, perhaps more smokers will seek other areas to fulfill their habits and addictions. I truly hope that you are able to overcome your anger at a world that is continuing to evolve, and that you stop smoking prior to receiving a resulting and serious diagnosis.
Mike M March 03, 2013 at 05:08 PM
D, if you smelled my second hand smoke last night, you'd want to join me next weekend with a good cigar of your own. Mine was a magnificent Cohibo Toro! You might just enjoy the magical combination of flame and finely crafted herbal blend. Would surely calm you. If you experienced this second hand smoke, I think you'd join me on the dark side and find out it's not so dark at all! Again, my main point you fail to address. The signage game is a waste. It will have no effect. By the way, before I took up my weekly cigar a few years ago, I remember about three times where I smelled cigarette or cigar smoke in the Reston Common Areas. My smoke really doesn't preclude you from doing anything. I am certain that if you totaled up all the health risk from all second hand smoke you inhaled you would find no effect also. You face more danger from auto exhaust, and landscaping treatments. You also face more risk every time you get behind the wheel of a car. Maybe we need signs to tell people to walk and not drive! You and your nanny friends might want to have a look at the Book of Job. It's good at putting perspective on dealing with our various life trials. Your second hand smoke problem, well, it ain't nothin! Hey! Let's start a cigar smoking, book club. Come over and review good books while we all experience really good cigars and enjoy life and nature a little while we deal with life's occasional harshness. Let's live some before we die. And maybe let others live too.
Deanne Baine March 03, 2013 at 05:43 PM
I prefer fresh air over smoke, and peer-reviewed, scientific journal articles to the Book of Job; evolution over revolution. And actually, tobacco smoke does preclude many citizens from thoroughly enjoying our trails. I don't even know what "nanny friends" means, and your rants have grown tiresome as I can find any second grader to respond with name-calling. Perhaps you are so angry because a common-sense part of you knows you are risking your health unnecessarily -- and those closest to you -- by smoking. Pity.
Mike M March 03, 2013 at 06:20 PM
As I mentioned, the second hand smoke you face on the RA trails is nothing. Your signage is a waste. And we're all going to die anyway. Did you know you can hurt yourself merely walking on the trails? It's more likely you will actually turn your ankle than you will suffer anything from second hand smoke on the trails. Shall we put up warnings? No. I think people should read science journals and Great Books. All science and no soul might just make Deanne a very dull gal. Maybe we ought to put up signs for that? (Nanny: a child's nurse or caregiver. It's a reference to those who want their government to act as a nanny for their fellow citizens.)
Ray March 03, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Since we are all going to die anyway as you clearly stated, what is your reason for projecting your opinions? If I follow your logic correctly, why should you care to even respond, since death is inevitable what's the point? I commend you on your ability to invalidate your own arguments so eloquently... :-) "You long for exclamation marks, but you are drowning in ellipses" - Isaac Marion
Mike M March 03, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Ray, sorry you didn't understand. My point was about the fear of second hand smoke between the 25 and 50 foot radius that was the subject of Mr. Collins' motion. My point is that any health risk there is miniscule compared to the other things that will eventually do us in anyway. By the way, do I need to make the point that we are all going to dies anyway? You don't refute that do you Ray? Since our time is limited we ought to enjoy life just a little, and speak up on boards like these when others want to make illegal our tiny pleasures. You know, live and let live. Fatty food isn't good for you either Ray. Shall we amend the signs at the picnic grounds? No. Projecting opinions is pretty harmless. Trying to ban the simple pleasures of everyone around you with signage is not only silly since it doesn't work, but it a little bit evil, I think..Ok, Ray.
Mike M March 03, 2013 at 10:17 PM
" ..and we'll see what happens when we say Yes while this rigor mortis world screams No." -Iasaac Marion
Ray March 03, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Mike M March 04, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Ray. U 2 cool 4 me. 86?
HarleyGirl March 04, 2013 at 12:13 PM
"People that overeat do not place those standing next to them or in their immediate area in any harm." They actually cost us millions in healthcare costs, as do those who smoke, drink alcohol, don't wear helmets or seatbelts, don't take their medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, who don't take prenatal vitamins when pregnant, don't use condoms for unprotected sex, don't exercise...the point is...we can't legislate everything! People make choices. I don't appreciate breathing that whiff of smoke as I enter and exit the pool, either. But I really don't want RA using my precious dollars to make unenforceable rules.
HarleyGirl March 04, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Gotta luv ya Laura! Mine is too!
Deanne Baine March 04, 2013 at 09:18 PM
I agree, AT! I've been walking on the pathways and literally had to turn and go in the other direction to avoid breathing in cigar or cigarette smoke. The answer to "has anyone really forced you to inhale smoke?" is that holding one's breath is always an option but one can only do this for so long without passing out.
Chris Raymond May 07, 2013 at 02:12 AM
A friend who lives in the Springs Apartment complex was told by management that the RA had okayed them relocating a charcoal grill nearly right outside her apartment. She has asthma and COPD and despite getting a doctor's letter about the health effects of having to suck in charcoal smoke and lighter fluid chemicals, Lerner Corp told her they are not moving the grill. After reading this story, seems pretty unbelievable the RA would actually say it's okay to put a grill closer to apartments.


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