NAPLES — A debate over smoking on Naples beaches is once again smoldering.
Naples Mayor Bill Barnett on Wednesday said he plans to ask city staff to look into the feasibility of banning smoking on Naples beaches.
The moves comes two years after City Council rejected an ordinance that would have banned smoking at all city-owned beaches and parks — four beach access points and about 30 parks throughout the city.
That ban also would have included the city’s pier and dock. The vote to turn down the ban was 4-3.
“I haven’t given up,” Barnett said Wednesday. “We were almost there. We were really close.”
Barnett said he made the decision to bring the item back because he has a new City Council, and because he hoped there was more support for the item.
Barnett first raised the issue in December 2007 and said he had support from the American Cancer Society.
Though Barnett said second-hand smoke was a concern, he was especially concerned about littering that comes from people tossing their butts in the sand.
Barnett stood by that position Wednesday, saying his request was “more environmental” than against smokers.
“I’m considerate of smokers,” he said. “They deserve a place to smoke.”
While Barnett’s 2008 request is the most recent attempt to ban smoking on the beach, city officials are no strangers to this request.
In early 2002, the city’s community services advisory board was behind a request to ban smoking in the city’s parks. When the issue came before council that March, council members learned the city already had the authority to ban smoking in parks.
The ordinance has been on the books since 1957.
Barnett said Wednesday he hoped City Council would be able to discuss the ban sometime this fall. He said he was hopeful the ban would pass this time around.
“This is my last shot,” he said.
Connect with Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at www.naplesnews.com/staff/jenna-buzzacco