Palatine will begin ticketing smokers who light up too close to a businesses entrance downtown.
Palatine Village Manager Reid Ottesen said the village has continued to receive complaints related to smokers congregating in front of , 53 W. Slade St.
Ottesen said in April the village established across from Slade Street, on the south side of the Metra tracks, and east of the firefighter's memorial. However, the area largely has gone unused.
"Unfortunately it has come to this," Ottesen said, adding that in recent weeks he has received several complaints from people about smokers congregating on and blocking downtown sidewalks.
Fines for those who violate the Smoke Free Illinois Act begin at $100, Palatine Police Chief John Koziol said.
Palatine sent a letter to downtown businesses earlier this month warning enforcement was coming by Monday, June 27. The letter from Ottesen states "Based upon the continued violations and complaints, the Palatine Police Department will begin conducting proactive enforcement of the Smoke Free Illinois Act..."
The Smoke Free Illinois Act not only bans people from smoking inside of public places such as restaurants and bars, it also prohibits them from smoking within 15 feet of entrances.
T.J. O'Brien's–formerly known as Hotshots–is configured in such a way it is impossible for it to provide a smoking area for customers 15 feet from its entrance. The same issue exists for several other downtown businesses, as well, prompting Palatine to create a "Designated Smoking Area" near the Metra tracks.
T.J. O'Brien's has placed signs on its front door, pleading with customers to use the "Designated Smoking Area" but Ottesen said smokers still are not complying.
"[T]here has been very limited use of the designated smoking area. Violations of the 15 foot smoking ban continue to take place within the downtown," Ottesen wrote in his letter.
"What we were hoping to get out of that letter was that the business owners would be able to get their customers to comply with the law," Palatine Police Chief John Koziol said. "The police have better things to do."