Sara Story, NBC 5 Denton County Reporter
The City of Denton is turning to a group of residents to helping draft the city's new smoking ordinance.
The City of Denton is ready to update its rules on smoking and a group of residents is helping draft a new ordinance that could tighten the city's smoking laws.
Restaurant and bar owners are currently allowed to decide if their establishment will allow smoking. John Williams owns the Oak Street Drafthouse and allows smoking outdoors but not inside.
"I think it is more of a right. A freedom. People that want to smoke should be able to smoke, especially in an outdoor environment," Williams said.
When the City of Denton decided to overhaul the current smoking ban the city council selected a group of citizens to review a comprehensive smoking ban.
Lindsey Baker works for the city and said the current ordinance is outdated.
"Pretty much anything goes," Baker said. "Our current smoking ordinance would allow people to smoke on hospital campuses or in City Hall for example. Again, we have our own internal policies that don't allow for that."
The citizens group will decide if there should be exemptions to a comprehensive smoking ban.
"Do they want to exempt a stand-alone bar? Do they want to exempt a patio at restaurants that are outdoors? So, they are going to be looking at a variety of exemptions that could be appropriate for our community," Baker said.
The city hopes to have a new smoking ordinance in place by January 2013.