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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

South San Francisco Weighs Moratorium On Cigarettes Stores


City leaders may temporarily snuff out the establishment of cheap cigarettes shops, partly because of health concerns.

"Is that the kind of business we want in South San Francisco?" Vice Mayor Richard Garbarino said Tuesday. "Do we want to expose our children to those kinds of things?"

On Wednesday night, the City Council is scheduled to consider a 45-day moratorium, effective immediately, on granting licenses and permits for retail cigarettes stores. The moratorium would give leaders time to examine the potential implications of future cigarettes online stores on South San Francisco's updated zoning ordinance, which details long-range planning strategies, according to a city staff report. uch operations "may not be compatible with permitted uses and long-term planning goals within the city -- which includes the city's desire to attract and retain businesses and shoppers," the report states. buy cigarettes enterprises also "may promote the consumption and purchase of online cigarettes by children ... which may result in threats to public health, safety and welfare."

One definition for a retail cigarettes store is that it devotes more than 15 percent of its total floor area to the sale of cigarettes, cigarettes-smoking cigarettes products or related paraphernalia, the report states.

South San Francisco has at least one existing discount cigarettes shop, city leaders said Tuesday. "We don't want another," Garbarino said. "I don't see any reason for expanding that." The discount cigarettes moratorium would also be in line with the decision last month to ban the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries, he said.

Charles Janigian, president of the San Jose-based California Association of Retail cigarettesnists Inc., called a moratorium unfair to small businesses. During a time of economic hardship, Janigian said, "We need to be encouraging small businesses, which employ people, to generate tax revenue and fill vacant retail space. So there's a tremendous advantage to encourage any retail store of any type, including cigarettes stores."

South San Francisco has no pending applications seeking to open a cigarettes shop but has received inquiries, said Susy Kalkin, the city's chief planner.

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