Gainesville will be enforcing some new rules for vape and hookah lounges, after the City Council approved the code amendments Tuesday.
The restrictions affect these businesses:
hookah lounges or bars, where “patrons use a communal hookah or pipe to smoke”
e-cigarette lounges or bars, where “patrons use e-cigarettes to smoke or smoke other alternative nicotine or tobacco products
vapor lounges or bars, where “patrons vape or smoke other alternative nicotine or tobacco products”
New businesses of these types will not be allowed to open in the city’s midtown overlay zone, an approximately 350-acre area bordered by E.E. Butler Parkway, Jesse Jewell Parkway, Queen City Parkway and the railroad. Retail sales of alternative nicotine products will also not be allowed in that area. Existing businesses will be grandfathered in as “legal, non-conforming uses.”
The businesses would need approval from the council to open in an area zoned light or heavy industrial. They could not be located within 500 feet of a similar business or within 1,000 feet of a school or day care, library, church, community or recreation center, liquor store, sexually oriented business, tattoo parlor, pawn shop, bar or nightclub, card room, check cashing business, park or residential zoning district.
The rules also prohibit anyone under the age of 18 to be in the businesses or work there. It is illegal to sell the products to anyone under 18.
The restrictions were approved as part of a list of code amendments, including rules for hotels, that were voted on as one item Tuesday.
Councilman George Wangemann was the only opposing vote.