Secaucus considers limiting vaping vendors in town

The new ordinance would permit only nine licenses to sell such products

The sale of electronic smoking devices will likely be capped at nine locations in Secaucus.

Secaucus is looking to update its regulations regarding the licensing of establishments that sell electronic smoking devices. Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Secaucus Town Council voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance that would do so at its May 24 meeting.

The town has previously adopted regulations, that among other things restrict smoking in public areas and set license requirements for establishments that sell electronic smoking devices. According to the proposed ordinance, this is in the interest of public health.

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Upon recommendation of the Secaucus Board of Health through the Secaucus Drug Free Coalition, Gonnelli and the council have determined that the licensing regulations and fees need to be updated. The ordinance would cap the limit of licenses to operate a retail electronic smoking device establishment within the town at nine, the current number of locations selling the products currently in Secaucus.

“This deals with our vaping ordinance,” Town Administrator Gary Jeffas told the Hudson Reporter. “It sets the maximum number of licenses at nine. We currently have nine in town, so the Board of Health just wanted to make sure that the vaping didn’t continue to expand. So we just capped it off at that.”

Other aspects of the licensing changes

The ordinance would also raise the licenses fee from $1,000 to $1,200. And it would also add in a section about inspections.

The Board of Health would inspect every retail electronic smoking device establishment in the Town of Secaucus. Any retail electronic smoking device establishment which upon initial inspection is rated “conditionally satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” would be subject to a re-inspection fee of $200.

One follow-up inspection after the initial application inspection may be done for a minor violation or correction without a fee at the sole discretion of the Board of Health Inspector. Subsequent re-inspections deemed necessary by the Health Inspector would be at a fee of $200 per inspection.

“As far as the inspections, it sets a fee of $200 for an inspection,” Jeffas said. “And if you’re conditionally satisfactory or unsatisfactory, the inspectors have to come back until you get it right and that there would be an additional charge for further inspections.”

Failure to pay said fee prior to the re-inspection date established by the Department would constitute a violation. Violations would be raised from a range of $5 to $500, to $50 to $1,000.

“It changes the fines too,” Jeffas said. “It was written a while ago, so the fine was $5 to $500, and now it’s, $50 to $1,00 depending on the violations.”

License updates for retail food establishments too

Also recommended by the Board of Health, the Town Council introduced an ordinance regarding the licensing of retail food establishments. The ordinance would raise fees for re-inspection of conditionally satisfactory or unsatisfactory retail food establishments to $200.

Added to the existing regulations was that one follow-up inspection after the initial application inspection may be done for a minor violation or correction without a fee at the discretion of the Board of Health Inspector. Subsequent re-inspections by the Health Inspector would cost $200 per inspection.

Failure to pay said fee prior to the re-inspection date established by the Department would be a violation. Violations would be raised from a range of $5 to $500, to $50 to $1,000.

“This is just a fee change on food licensing,” Jeffas said. “So if they have a health inspection and it’s conditionally satisfactory or unsatisfactory, it’s just setting forth the fee of $200. It covers an additional inspection. If the inspectors have to continue to come out, then there can be additional inspection fees beyond those first two.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.