“I believe the law is being broken there,” is how village president Mike Longhenry described the new smoking room with a window looking out on to Madison Avenue in downtown Grantsburg.
Dennis McKenzie of Denny’s Downtown Lanes was at the meeting to make his case. McKenzie recently installed a window by the bowling alley’s front door. His intent was to get smokers off of the sidewalk and out of the doorway.
Wisconsin state law prohibits smoking in public places, which includes the smoking room at Denny’s Downtown Lanes. The law dates back to 2010’s Act 12.
It states that municipalities “must allow a ‘person in charge’ of restaurants, taverns, private clubs, or retail establishments to designate an outside smoking area within a reasonable distance from any entrance to the establishment.”
McKenzie explained to the board that his establishment has that outside smoking area in the back, but he says nobody uses it.
Longhenry told McKenzie he had heard comments and concerns from several residents.
“A couple of the complaints have been from people pointing out there is no smoking in public buildings,” Longhenry said. “Also, some people are being heckled by people drinking or smoking at the bar.”
McKenzie reiterated he did not set up the smoking room to break the law.
“I did it to get (smokers) off of the sidewalk on Main Street and out of the doorway so people can come and go,” McKenzie told the board. “People smoking in bars goes on everywhere.”
Longhenry gave McKenzie a copy of the Wisconsin Statute. However, no official action was taken on the matter and may be revisited at next month’s meeting.