CUYAHOGA FALLS — Should the city join other communities in Summit County and ban the sale of tobacco to under-21 adults?

City Council will examine a proposal on Monday that would increase the minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21 and issue civil fines to businesses that do not comply with the new law. 

The law, which has already been approved by Akron, Twinsburg, Mogadore, Green, Richfield and Norton, would put the Summit County Combined General Health District in charge of enforcement, which could result in fines of up to $1,000 for multiple violations.

The measure has been rejected by Hudson and Stow.

Under Ohio law, anyone 18 years or older can buy tobacco. The proposal before City Council, nicknamed "Tobacco 21," is supported by the Summit County Public Health Department whose officials say the goal is to reduce smoking among teenagers. 

The proposal would amend the city’s codified ordinances to "to prohibit the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products or tobacco product paraphernalia to individuals under the age of 21," said Deputy Law Director Janet Ciotola.

A business would not face a penalty for a first violation, according to the legislation. A second violation would result in a $500 civil fine and subsequent violations would prompt a $1,000 civil fine.

The fines that are collected would go to the Summit County Combined General Health District’s efforts to "prevent smoking initiation by persons under the age of 21 or for efforts to promote smoking cessation," the legislation stated. The Summit County Combined General Health District would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance and issuing the fines.

The legislation is scheduled to be reviewed and discussed by council’s public affairs committee on Monday, March 18, in the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St. The committee meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. If the committee decides to move the legislation forward for a vote, the full council would act on the proposal on March 25.

Summit County Council has the legislation, but has not yet acted on it yet. If approved at the county level, the law would take effect in townships.

Proposed rezoning of golf course property for townhome development on agenda

Also on Monday, council’s planning and zoning committee is scheduled to discuss proposed legislation to rezone the Sycamore Valley Golf Course property, 1651 Akron-Peninsula Road, from E-1 Employment District to R-3 Sub-Urban Density Residential. If the committee moves the legislation forward that night, council would vote on the rezoning on March 25.

The rezoning is being requested by developer Danny Karam and Sycamore Valley Development Co. LLC for a $35 million project in which Ryan Homes will build a 148-unit townhome development. For the project to move forward, City Council would have to agree to rezone the land.

The planning commission on March 5 approved a conceptual plan for the project.

Many residents have attended previous council and planning commission meetings to voice their objections, and have stated they are concerned about flooding, additional traffic and believe that the area near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the wrong place for such a residential development.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.