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Downtown Smokers Beware: Palatine To Begin Ticketing

Palatine will begin ticketing smokers who are standing too close to entrances of businesses.

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."

Double D June 27, 2011 at 03:30 PM
You would think the police have better things to do. It just amazes me that TJ O'briens has become a major target for harassment from the village of Palatine, whenyou literally see people smoking at the front door of pops or at lamps all the time. What in the hell is Palatine going to do when street fest happens in August? Walk in the middle of the street and ticket people cause people are not using a designated smoking area??? Looks like the city found a great way to make some revenue, considering they reject every business opportunity that comes before the board!!! Remind to tell my friends who smoke that Palatine is not A FRIENDLY TOWN!!!!!
G June 27, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I'm so glad that Palatine is not a friendly town to smokers! Because I just LOVE it when I'm walking down the street with my kids, or jogging, and I have to inhale someone else's exhaust. Smoke in your own house.
Bob June 27, 2011 at 04:50 PM
This is a good indication that money can be saved by reducing the number of officers. There is obviously very little real crime to deal with.
Digs June 27, 2011 at 05:49 PM
The police should be more concerned with the Rand & Dundee area. It's like a ghetto there, with all of the crime. Smoking outside? Whip dee do.
Scott June 27, 2011 at 06:14 PM
DD - sounds like you didn't read the article. The village has tried very hard for it not to come to this. But the smokers won't listen.
Scott June 27, 2011 at 06:16 PM
Bob, Digs - it's still an ordinance violation - you don't skip enforcing a law in one part of town (especially when there are comlaints) just because there is crime elsewhere. My wife and tried to go to Hotshots a couple months ago because we had heard how good the food was. But it smelled so bad of smoke *on the inside* we had to leave.
Bob June 27, 2011 at 08:05 PM
The diesel fumes from the passing Metra trains create a LOT more cancerous fumes than a few cigarettes. They should be banned too.
60067TaxPayer June 27, 2011 at 08:10 PM
Let me start off saying yes, I frequent TJ O'Brien's and no, I am not a smoker. If the village feels they need to do this to enforce the code, so be it. However, don't just single out one business as the reason this needs to be enforced. There are PLENTY of businesses in Palatine that people do not abide by this code. How about the other places downtown? Anyone go by Lamplighters, POP's or Nellies lately? How about the Harris Bank building? People stand by the east-side entrance and smoke. How about the Legion post? People stand on under the canopy and smoke. I've seen people standing within 15' of village hall entrance smoking. And tell me, how is a business owner suppose to enforce this code once a person leaves their place of business? In TJ O'Brien's case, once the person walks out the door, they are on the village sidewalk. The picture clearly indicates the owner(s) of TJ O'Brien's are trying to abide by the villages request (see the sign on the door?). I've been following this since the beginning. Simply put, Councilman Helms has something against this place. The owner has complied to every request the village has made, but yet still is the scapegoat. Issue the citations then, but do it equally. Don't just watch TJ O'Brien's, watch EVERYWHERE. And Scott, there is no smoke smell "on the inside" of the place. And the food IS good there. Give it a try again, I'm sure you and your wife will be pleased with your meal!
Scott June 27, 2011 at 09:39 PM
60067 - looks like you didn't read the article either: 'Palatine sent a letter to downtown businesses earlier this month warning enforcement was coming by "Monday, June 27"'. TJ's may have prompted the problem but they are not being singled out for enforcement.
Scott June 27, 2011 at 09:41 PM
60067 - you can call me a liar if you wish but there was a smoke smell on the inside. (Unless you were there the night I was how can you say there wasn't a smell)?
60067TaxPayer June 27, 2011 at 10:38 PM
I'm basing my comments on the article. Do you see the other businesses mentioned? I don't. Do you see any articles about this problem with any of those other businesses? I haven't. And you're right, I most likely wasn't there the night you weren't. My bad. However, typically there isn't a smell. I encourage you to try the food! :-)
James June 28, 2011 at 04:24 PM
I've been watching this political foreplay since April or before....Maybe it time to call in major new groups , to help sort this issues out ..Its just time to being it out of the Patch and to the general public (the ones that do read the Patch) . Maybe with outside publicity can end this once and for all........To our elected officials dont worry " I will make the calls necessary needed" Lets bring to all of the NW Suburbs to give judgement and give their opinions.........To much small town B.S being played with this subject for to long....
Bob June 28, 2011 at 04:31 PM
A business has no jurisdiction when someone steps out of HIS/HER establishment and is on the PUBLIC street. The police are the only people who can enforce this. If the sidewalks are not 15 feet wide, special smokers lanes wil need to be designated to keep smokers from being hit by cars.
T June 28, 2011 at 09:46 PM
James, your comment has so many grammatical and spelling errors, I'm not even sure what you are talking about. No major news group is going to listen to you if you speak the way you type. The issue is not the police targeting a particular business - the city has received complaints about that business! I, as a consumer, don't want to have to walk through your smoke to get into a business. I don't want my daughter who already has breathing issues to have to walk through your smoke. Please just walk away from the buildings and smoke there - or better yet, smoke in your car or in your home. It is a matter of simple respect and of following the law.
Ellen June 28, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Speaking as an avid former smoker, I must say that smokers can be so rude. I know I was. I got ticked off when anyone indicated they were bothered by my smoke, even when it was my own children doing the complaining. It took me a heart attack and by-pass surgery before I had a clue what non-smokers were going thru. Now, as a non-smoker for 14 years, I see how obnoxious smokers can be. No, I don't want to walk thru your smoke and get the smell on my clothes and in my hair. And the 15 foot ban is really a bit of a joke anyway - like as if smoke doesn't travel more than 15 feet. As for it smelling inside, of course it does to a non-smoker. All those people smoking outside are bringing that smell (that I used to like) into the businesses with them. It's beyond me why the sale of cigarettes is even still legal. Haven't you smokers figured out it's going to kill you and/or your family and friends -- and maybe even me if I have to keep walking thru the smoke to go shopping anywhere? Quitting was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it was only hard for about 3 months. Now I rejoice in the fact that I don't have to dig for money to buy cigarettes and that I never have any desire at all for a cigarette - not to mention not having to put up with dirty looks from non-smokers. I think people who are still smoking in this day and age when so much is known would do better to spend their money on a good shrink.
Ellen June 28, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Oh, and I would be protesting the fact that only downtown businesses seem to be the target, but, as I said, the 15 foot ban is a joke.
Ellen June 28, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Double D Please do tell your smoking friends that Palatine is unfriendly. Last I knew only 20% of the population was ignorant enough to still be smoking. I will tell my non-smoking friends they might find a little clean air in Palatine.
Ellen June 28, 2011 at 10:53 PM
Smoking, including second-hand smoke, kills people. Sounds like a real crime to me! You smokers think it's ok to kill people as long as you're doing it slowly?
Ellen June 28, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Let's ban cigarettes, the Metra trains and bbq smoke while we're at it.
Ellen June 28, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Scott, Of course there was. The smell is on their clothes and in their hair and all that comes into the building with them.
Double D June 28, 2011 at 11:12 PM
I have to admit there are some interesting comments on here. Those who told me to tell my friends that Palatine is indeed a unfriendly town, you can tell your the people that make it that way. The point in my first comment that I was trying to make is people smoke upstairs at lamps, and right out the front door of pops. I never saw those names mentioned in any article in the patch or the newspapers. T. J. O'Briens does have the best food in town, cause they have a huge kitchen with a awsome chef. Hopefully the smokers will go across the street so this nonsense can stop once and for all. Let a guy own a business, provide great food at great prices, and awsome service. He has done everything the village has asked.

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