Conference Center

Burlington talks tobacco-free parks, sidewalks, parking lots


Council members discuss prospect of making parks, sidewalks smoking-free

The Burlington City Council discussed several items during their last work session meeting of the year Monday, Dec. 3, including a Tobacco-Free Ordinance.

Impact Alamance Junior Program Officer Kacie Lynch and Sally Gordon with the Alamance County Health Department presented the proposed Tobacco-Free Ordinance initiative for Burlington city parks. Lynch opened the presentation by pulling out a giant glass jar filled with cigarette butts found at nine city parks.

“We had a lot of cigarette packs, lights and these cigarette butts,” Lynch said. “A lot of the cigarette butts were actually right around the children’s areas and some of them were even in the children’s areas. There were a ton of cigarettes that were underneath the bleachers at a lot of the baseball fields.”

The council adopted a no-smoking ordinance in 2012 for youth-involved activity areas in Burlington at some facilities owned and operated by the city for public use. The ordinance has been well received, and it has led to requests from the public to expand the ordinance to other areas of the parks.

Gordon said the Health Department is focusing on three main benefits of a tobacco-free park: health, beautification and reputation.

The proposal is a result of the city’s Health in All Policies directive adopted by the council on Feb. 20, 2018. The ordinance would mean no smoking, no electronic vaping and no use of other tobacco products, such as dipping and chewing, in the confines of the city parks and recreation facilities, including adjacent sidewalks and parking lots.

Director of Recreation and Parks Tony Laws said enforcement of the ordinance would be voluntary.

“Certainly voluntary compliance means people do it on their own, but it also gives people and our staff that are on-duty at a lot of our programs and facilities the opportunity to educate somebody if they are using tobacco,” Laws said.

The ordinance is proposed to become effective April 1, 2019, which will allow time to advertise, educate the public and post signage, with an estimated cost of $5,000.

The item was placed on the Jan. 15, 2019, agenda and scheduled as a public hearing.

In other business:

The council also considered two changes to the Willowbrook Park Stream Restoration Project. The first change is to add time to the contract to allow for additional weather days and for appropriate seasonal planting of trees and shrubs. A total of 182 additional calendar days will result in a completion date of Feb. 28, 2019, with the original project completion date set for Aug. 29, 2018.

The second change is a small project cost increase of $6,000 to install an additional in-stream structure, repair storm damage and due to changes in plant material availability. This would make the revised contract $402,638.24.

The item was placed on the Tuesday, Dec. 4, consent agenda.


Members also discussed three proposed demolitions that were issued by the Housing Commission. The demolitions are for 419 Green St., 414 New St. and 414 Peele St.

The item was placed on Tuesday’s consent agenda.

The final item was a presentation by Mayor Ian Baltutis on the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Membership. Baltutis proposed that the city council consider rejoining the League of Municipalities and begin paying dues, which would be about $10,500.

The council agreed to renew the membership and placed the item on the Tuesday consent agenda.


Reporter Kate Croxton can be reached at or 336-506-3078. Follow her on Twitter at @katecroxtonBTN.