Dodge City officials are delaying implementation of the city's smoking ban for another month.

    The city originally decided the ban would take effect Sept. 1, but it was put on the back burner after other issues — including Dodge City Days, the debate over the city's proposed wastewater reclamation plant and meetings concerning the proposed casino— surfaced, Fire Chief Dan Williamson said Tuesday.

    "Not intentionally," he said. "But we kind of felt like, 'Well, we'll give it a little breathing time,' and before we knew it, September 1 was almost here."


Dodge City officials are delaying implementation of the city's smoking ban for another month.
    The city originally decided the ban would take effect Sept. 1, but it was put on the back burner after other issues — including Dodge City Days, the debate over the city's proposed wastewater reclamation plant and meetings concerning the proposed casino— surfaced, Fire Chief Dan Williamson said Tuesday.
    "Not intentionally," he said. "But we kind of felt like, 'Well, we'll give it a little breathing time,' and before we knew it, September 1 was almost here."
    The Dodge City Commission will consider on Sept. 2 an ordinance making the ban part of city code. The ban would then take effect Oct. 1.
    Under the ban, which was adopted Feb. 4 after nearly 17 months of discussion, business owners are required to post conspicuous signs saying either "No smoking" or "Smoking prohibited by state law."
    The city will still permit businesses to designate either part of their building or the entire building as a smoking area. But if they want to allow smoking, business owners must meet a series of requirements.
    The smoking area must be enclosed on all sides by either solid, impermeable walls or windows extending from floor to ceiling. The area must be clearly designated as a smoking zone, and access shall be limited to people who either smoke or have no objection to smoking. The zone must also include a new air system capable of pumping out a "significant" amount of smoke.
    Smoking would not be allowed in that area until the city has inspected the building and verified that it complies with the ordinance. The business or area would then be registered as a designated smoking zone.
    City officials are hoping that existing businesses will comply with the smoking ban by Oct. 1, but business owners can seek a six-month extension if needed to meet the exhaust and ventilation system requirements, Williamson said. He added that the city will begin examining businesses to see if they meet the requirements as soon as they say they are ready.
    "We'll be working with the business owners to get them up and running just as fast as possible," he said.
    But some business owners are worried about the possible cost of creating new smoking areas and installing air ventilation systems.
    Riley Skaggs, who owns Kate's at 305 E. Trail St., said in a phone interview that he is waiting for specific directions from the city before deciding how he wants to proceed.
    "I don't know what their specifications are going to be, and I don't know how costly it's going to be to do that," he said. "Until I know what their requirements are and what it's going to take to meet those requirements, I'm in a state of limbo here."

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.