BMHA public hearing on smoke-free housing policy

Smoking
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BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority held a public hearing on a proposal to ban smoking at all of their properties.

Under the policy, smoking would be banned in all BMHA buildings, including apartments. Smoking will be permitted outside, but not within 25 feet of authority buildings.

Only four people spoke at the 9 a.m. public hearing on Thursday. The executive director said there were about six letters, some in favor and some against the plan.

Tenant Rose Zarbo is against the proposal. "They're expecting disabled and handicapped and the elderly to go out of the building in inclement weather that can barely walk. It's unfair to the people."

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The BMHA Board of Commissioners will vote on March 17. "Our board will discuss it and make a determination on how to move forward," said Dawn Sanders Garrett. It is expected they will approve the smoke-free policy. It would go into effect in July, but not be enforced until January 2017. It will allow time for residents to understand the policy and the penalties, which could include eviction for violators.

HUD is recommending all housing authorities across the nation adopt smoke-free policies.

The BMHA will have to work with engineers to decide where the designated smoke-free areas will be at each housing complex.