Judge keeps refraining Bedford’s electronic cigarette shop

The ruling of the judge says that for now, the deployment of land-use powers by Bedford Town Board in curbing a flourishing commerce in e-cigarettes as well as other vaping products.

Sometimes a town zoning code was amended and it eliminated the vape-shop plans of several gas station dealers. However, in the year that followed, two of them in Katonah, State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz told them to come see her on Monday in White Plains for a discussion on the way forward.

There was a public hearing in May of last year and no voices was in support or opposition as there was a change in the Bedford’s zoning code by Town Board for the limitation of the sales of vaping products to businesses along Route 117 in Bedford Hills.

The code revision became effective in November. After that, five Bedford gas stations outside Route 117’s “Roadside Business District” were sued. The two plaintiffs include Katonah Gas and Auto Service as well as Katonah Service Station. They both charged Bedford with overreach of its municipal zoning authority. They insisted that the provisions of the code should not be extended to commerce but only land-use regulation.

Lefkowitz gave temporary encouragement to Bedford from the enforcement of the vape-shop restriction within the zoning code amendment.

However, Councilman Don Scott was unhappy with the decision of Lefkowitz. The Councilman had given a warning concerning the likely health hazards of vaping. He expressed his dissatisfaction as well as the rest of the board.

The argument of the Plaintiffs is that the ordinance is not valid and unenforceable. According to the opinion of Lefkowitz, the reason is that it is more than the statutory authority given to the town for the regulation of the use of land through zoning. Likewise, the assertion of the Plaintiffs is that the ordinance has to do with the business of the occupants and not the use of the land; therefore, the enactment is not proper.

It appears that Lefkowitz support the assertion, Lefkowitz, saying the enactment of the zoning amendment by Bedford was to deal with the general health issue of youth vaping and not to deal with the land use.

E-cigarettes appeared in the market 15 years ago and its sales have been increasing. Likewise, the efforts of the government in discouraging its usage by their teens have increased. Some of them include the increase of the legal age to buy any smoke to 21 years, limiting some flavors that seem to target youths, as well as restrictions on the time and location of sales.

The other Bedford plaintiffs are Bedford Village Service Station of Westchester, Maruti 7 Corp. and Preferred Gas Mart.


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