Four electronic cigarette stores in Bountiful are being forced to close down because the city has declined to renew their business licenses for the year 2014. The city attorney says it’s closing the shops at the requested of the Davis County Health Department because they’re violation of a state zoning law.
Brad Parsons, the co-owner of e-cigarette store VaporLoc received a letter from the city attorney on Thursday, informing him that he will have to close his doors by January 1st.
Parsons says with only five days’ notice and with Bountiful City offices being closed on Fridays, there’s little time to do anything about it.
“It’s pathetic that a city believes they can do that to be honest with you,” Parsons says. “That’s not enough time to possibly relocate. That’s not enough time to find another property that maybe adheres to the state. That’s not enough time to find out why the city gave us a business license in the first place.”
The zoning law was passed 2012. It bans retail tobacco specialty businesses within 1,000 feet of a school, church or park and within 600 feet of a private residence.
Aaron Frazier is director of consumer advocacy group Utah Vapors.
He says in the past few months similar businesses in Ogden and Payson have also received these notifications.
“They were told that there was not going to be any issue, that they would be able to operate and that none of their stores would actually be classified as a tobacco outlet or a specialty tobacco outlet, therefore the zoning restrictions did not apply,” Frazier says.
Frazier says because the shops were granted business licenses after the zoning law was in place, it’s unlikely they’ll be grandfathered in, but he plans to help business owners appeal for additional time to comply.