At its February 1 work session, the Somers Town Board continued its discussions on potential legislation to limit youth vaping and the use of cameras to capture images of those who litter, as well as beginning to talk on a potential law to limit plastic bag usage.
Supervisor Rick Morrissey said he wanted to seek legislation to limit vaping, which is popular among youths. Morrissey suggested banning vaping shops through the town’s Zoning Code to prevent them from opening near schools. Councilman Richard Clinchy said he did not want students to be able to walk from a school to obtain e-cigarettes and other vaping materials.
Town Attorney Roland Baroni suggested the Town Board consider raising the age for being able to purchase tobacco and vaping products from the state minimum of 18 to 21 as the New Castle Town Board recently did. “That might help,” he said. It is difficult for underage youths to look like they are 21, he said. Raising the minimum age would be a better alternative than changing the zoning code, Councilman Thomas A. Garrity, Jr. said.
Baroni said he would get a copy of the recently passed New Castle law to raise the minimum age to purchase vaping products and would report back to the Town Board. A municipality on Long Island recently raised the minimum age, Morrissey said.
The Town Board continued to discuss potential legislation that would allow the town to use cameras to photograph dumping of liter that would be used to prosecute offenders.
Morrissey said Yorktown has a law that images captured on camera can be used to prosecute those who liter. Morrissey said he wants to stop dumping of large amounts of litter and objects. Garrity agreed, saying the idea of the legislation should be to prevent large scale dumping.
Baroni asked if cameras owned by the town should be the ones permitted to take images of those who dump liter rather than allowing residents to take the images and provide them to the town for prosecution. Morrissey said he wanted legislation to apply to municipally-owned cameras
A date for when the discussion of the littering legislation will again be discussed was not set at last week’s meeting
Plastic bag legislation
Also at last week’s meeting, the Town Board discussed potential legislation to reduce the distribution of plastic bags by stores to help protect the environment.
Morrissey said he recently spoke with several local business owners who did not object to limiting the use of plastic bags, such as by charging five cents for consumers who do not bring their bags to the store. But the ban must be fairly implemented, the business owners told him, Morrissey said.
Clinchy suggested that Somers should join with neighboring northern Westchester municipalities in limiting the distribution of plastic bags.
Councilman William Faulkner said he opposed legislation to mandate the limiting of plastic bags. “I don’t like this idea at all,” he said.
Clinchy disagreed with Faulkner, saying “most of them (bags) are thrown away” after they are brought home from a store rather than being reused.