White Hall bans smoking in parks

In response to people smoking at White Hall parks, the White Hall City Council amended an existing ordinance to ban smoking on municipal properties.

The city council approved amending the ordinance unanimously and without discussion at a regular meeting on Monday night.

White Hall Mayor Noel Foster said most people use the parks for their intended purpose but enough people are smoking there to necessitate the ban. He said that the parks are a place for recreation and that children especially should be able to breathe clean air.

“I’ve noticed an increase in adults smoking in our parks,” Foster said. “Our public works employees are finding cigarette butts and picking them up.”

The ordinance specifically names White Hall City Park, White Hall City Hall, Crenshaw Springs Water Park and James “Jitters” Morgan Community Center as the locations that are now included in the no-smoking ordinance. A person who breaks the ordinance risks a $100 fine plus court costs, according to the ordinance.

In other business, the city council approved a resolution unanimously to allow door-to-door solicitation provided solicitors are registered with the White Hall Police Department. Yet any White Hall resident may call the police department and request to be added to a “no-solicitation” list, Foster said.

The town previously banned solicitation but learned it was not allowed to do so, which prompted the change, Foster said. The main issues related to door-to-door solicitors are safety and a quality of life, he said.

“I do not like the new ordinance because I do not like solicitors,” Foster said. “But we are required to follow the law and we will follow the law.”

Any prospective solicitor in White Hall needs to contact the White Hall Police Department, complete an application, pass a background check, present a valid photo identification, pay fees and receive permission. The ordinance states that no solicitor may disturb anyone at their home between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.

A person who violates the solicitation ordinance risks a $200 fine for a first offense and a $500 fine or imprisonment for up to 30 days for a second offense.

In other city business, the city council approved unanimously and without discussion a resolution authorizing the mayor to negotiate and purchase a vacant parcel of property at 303 Anderson St. in White Hall. The property is close to City Hall and may be used for parking for municipal employees who work at City Hall or the library, Foster said.

“We are getting crowded and lacking parking [around city hall],” Foster said. “Parking could become a bigger issue in the near future.”