Rather than pass a law banning smoking in city parks, the Batavia City Council is considering a resolution that will say, in essence, "please don't smoke."
If passed, signs will be posted in city parks saying the parks are no smoking areas, but police will not have the power to arrest a person who refuses to stop smoking.
"If it’s just a resolution, we’re probably going to ask for voluntary compliance," said Chief of Police Randy Baker.
He also explained, "The police department acts as an agent of the community and we ask people to comply with what the community cannot tolerate. It's up to their (the council's) discretion to provide us the direction they want us to take."
The resolution proposal was discussed at Monday's council meeting as part of a comprehensive approach to cutting down on substance abuse in city parks.
The city will get tougher with alcohol consumption in parks by voting in July on a fast-track ordinance change that would ban alcohol consumption in parks without a permit.
The current law prohibits drinking beer and other adult beverages in the park, but allows drinking in certain designated areas, such as pavilions.
A one-word change in the ordinance would make it illegal to have an open container in the pavilions.
Councilwoman Patti Pacino, for one, welcome the proposed change.
"I do a summer program for kids," Pacino "We serve lunch. And every single day we see the same people sitting in the same pavilions drinking beer. There is nothing I can do about it."
People who want to have picnics and parties in the pavilions can apply for a $25 permit and then serve alcohol, but once the law is amended, police will be able to deal with residents who reportedly gather in the pavilions on a routine basis and just sit and drink day-after-day.
As for the smoking resolution, only Councilwoman Rosemary Christian raised concerns about about a blanket restriction on smoking in parks.
She said she wants to see designated areas for smokers.
Smokers pay for parks, too, she said, and she finds it ironic that one of the community groups pushing to end smoking in parks is GCASA.
"Go down there (to the East Main GCASA location)," Christian said. "It’s all in front of the property, city property, there are butts all over. And these are the people that want us to stop? I don’t think so."