Robert Morley is a Libertarian and often speaks out for the rights of others to practice their free will. But the cigarette smoke he’s spotted curling about playground equipment where his three children play in the Gilbert Finley Farms development is too much for him to bear.
“Fundamentally, I’m for people doing what they want to do,” he said. “But I’m against it in this situation — (smoking) in a public place. There is at least some type of right to quiet enjoyment.”
Morley is among residents who support the idea of a town ordinance that would restrict smoking in town parks, possibly designating smoking in specific places.
The town’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. today at Freestone Recreation Center, 1141 E. Guadalupe Road, to discuss the feasibility and support of such an ordinance. There will be no vote, but it will be the first discussion on whether to seek such a rule.
Maury Ahlman, the town’s parks director, said the town has in the past received complaints about smoking in parks, but does not get such complaints often. Two advisory board members have asked to discuss the topic tonight.
Many area cities have smoking ordinances, and some specifically mention parks. Gilbert has an ordinance restricting smoking in public buildings.
Gilbert resident Kellee Garlin said she doesn’t want her two daughters to have to breathe cigarette smoke while they watch a concert in the park. Recently in Tempe, she said, they were turned off by smoking at a concert.
“It’s just not pleasant,” she said. “People should be allowed to smoke. But not around other people, especially kids.”