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Bluffton council bans smoking in Dubois Park, restricts parking on Calhoun Street

Bluffton's town council approved two major measures Tuesday that will have an impact on visitors, residents and businesses in Old Town: a smoking ban in Dubois Park and parking restrictions along Calhoun Street.

In order to address ongoing concerns about lack of parking in Bluffton's historic district, the council approved limiting parking to two hours along Calhoun Street from May River Road to Bridge Street.

"We know that parking is a concern," growth management director Kendra Lelie said Tuesday.

Town council and staff said the hope is that time limits will encourage turnover and make it easier to find a space on the busy Old Town street.

The restrictions will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Calhoun Street residents will be eligible for a sticker that will allow them to park free of restrictions.

"I don't think residents should have a limit" on how long they can park on the street where they live, councilman Fred Hamilton said.

In addition to limiting parking on Calhoun to two hours, the measure creates no-parking zones along short stretches of Church, Lawton and Lawrence streets in the area around Dubois Park.

The new restrictions will not go into effect until the town coordinates with residents, and signs informing drivers of the new rules go up.

Lelie said there is no timeframe for when that will happen.

When the signs are installed, violators of the new parking rules will be subject to a small fine. The exact amount of the tickets is yet to be determined.

With the other measure, smokers will now have to avoid lighting up in Dubois Park. The council passed a smoking ban there on a 4-1 vote.

Councilman Ted Huffman voted against the measure.

"Make no mistake about it, I don't want smoking around kids," Huffman said.

But he said he couldn't support a measure that would make it so "even if there aren't kids present, a guy walking his dog (around the park) at (night) can't smoke."

Tom Taylor spoke in favor of the ban, holding his granddaughter in his arms as he addressed the council.

"No one can really question what secondhand smoke does, especially to young lungs," he said.

Town attorney Terry Finger said it will up to police officers whether to issue violators of the ban a warning or a citation.

Follow reporter Lucas High on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Lucas.

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