Code to clarify smoking lounges

ALAMOSA — Not that anyone has a current proposal before the Alamosa city council, but the council wants to be prepared for a smoking lounge request if it does receive an application in the future.

Alamosa City Attorney Erich Schwiesow told the city council during a recent work session that he would be bringing some code changes to them in the future to cover smoking lounge applications, as the uniform code the city uses now does not specify in what zones they are permitted. He recommended that such requests be treated the same as bars, taverns and nightclubs, which are allowed outright in specific zoning such as commercial business and by special permitted use in other zones like mixed use.

He clarified that smoking lounges are not marijuana lounges or clubs, which are prohibited in the city limits. Smoking lounges would only be allowed for tobacco products.

“Why would we want a smoking lounge?” asked Councilman David Broyles.

“The city does not want it but would we want to prohibit it?” Schwiesow responded.

Councilman Jan Vigil said hookah bars are very popular in other cities in Colorado such as Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs. “I would not want to prohibit that,” he said. “I don’t think we have the right or authority to stop someone from smoking who would like to.”

Schwiesow said the city has the authority. “Whether you exercise it is a different question.”

Alamosa previously had a hookah lounge, which is no longer in business. When the council asked about how smoking lounges would comply with the clean indoor air ordinances, Schwiesow said the way the hookah lounge dealt with it was to make it a private club. State law does not permit smoking in public places.