By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Business owners will have to pay $250 annually to acquire and maintain a city smoking lounge license by city council. The City Council approved the fee at its meeting March 3.
The council on Feb. 10 unanimously adopted a new ordinance requiring businesses obtain a state exemption and city license in order to continue serving food and hookah in the same building. If they cannot meet the requirements, they can serve only food with a food license.
City licenses must be renewed each year in July. The city also will conduct random inspections to make sure facilities are following the ordinance.
The council at its March 3 meeting said two businesses already have applied for the new license.
In 2010, the State of Michigan implemented the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law which bans smoking in all public places, worksites, bars, restaurants, hospitals, hotels, shopping malls, cafes, hookah bars and bowling alleys.
The same year, the state granted 265 exemptions with 15 of them awarded to businesses in Dearborn.
The state-issued exemptions assigned to smoking lounges will stay capped at 15, and any business wishing to transfer a state exemption into the city must petition the council for permission.
The council agreed that it hopes the new ordinance will make it fair for the businesses that spent money remodeling their facilities to meet state guidelines, and give the city more enforcement on the hookah lounges operating illegally without licenses or state exemptions.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)