Restrictions placed on new tobacco/vape shops

Published 5:44 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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AHOSKIE – New measures enacted this week by the Ahoskie Town Council place restrictions on tobacco/vape shops that have plans to open at a new location in town.

At the Council’s scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening, Morgan Askew, Ahoskie’s Planning and Zoning Administrator, said at the town’s Board of Adjustments meeting on Feb. 7, they requested town staff look into regulations and restrictions on vape and tobacco shops in the town limits after learning that one such business was planning to open near Ahoskie Elementary School.

“During the March 6 meeting of the Board of Adjustments, text amendments were provided to create regulations and restrictions on these types of business,” Askew said. “The proposed amendments are similar in character to those of surrounding jurisdictions, adding a definition of tobacco and vape retailers and creating distance requirements from residences, schools, and churches.”

Askew added that the Board of Adjustments found the proposed amendments to be “reasonable and appropriate” and recommended their approval to be forwarded to the Town Council.

One of the proposed text amendments to the town’s Code of Ordinances defined a tobacco and vape retailer as a business that primarily sells and/or distributes any product made or derived from tobacco, nicotine, or CDB (Cannabidiol, an active ingredient in cannabis that is derived from the hemp plant) that is intended for human consumption of any form, including the primary sale or distribution of electronic devices that deliver nicotine, CDB, or other substances.

The other proposed amendment directly impacts any new tobacco/vape retailer planning to open a business in Ahoskie. The amendment prohibits such businesses locating 2,640 feet from any established public or private school, daycare, church, place of worship, or any building used as or zoned for a residential dwelling.

It also requires that new tobacco/vape/CDB retailers cannot be located within 1,760 feet of each other.

Finally, the amendment requires all signage for a tobacco/vape retailer to comply with Section 403 of Ahoskie’s Code of Ordinances. That ordinance states: “no additional signage advertising products or for decoration shall be permitted in store windows or in the store’s doors or entryways.

Public hearings were held for the proposed amendments. No one spoke in favor or offered opposition.

Afterwards, the Council approved the text amendments without objection.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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