UPDATE 4/6/20115: Consideration of this new zoning ordinance has been pushed back to the May 4th. See video (at 00:31:30): Watch Video
Under this proposed zoning, a new vape shop that sells smoke-free products would be unreasonably and unjustifiably prohibited from opening within 500 feet of a gas station, convenience store or tobacco shop that sells combustible tobacco products. This zoning essentially protects the sale of harmful products while restricting the greater availability of and easier access to safer alternatives! This action could easily have statewide consequences, so ALL Wisconsin vapers and vape shops who support smoke-free alternatives should take action NOW!
Please keep sending emails and calling the Commissioners (see contact info below) and expressing your opposition to this ordinance!
UPDATE 3/25/15: After several vapers and shops spoke at the March 23rd meeting, this ordinance was recessed until April 6th. (See video of March 23rd meeting here, starting at 01:38:00) NOTE: It was made clear that this ordinance would NOT impact existing businesses in their current location.
Two Commissioners, Eric Sunderquist and Melissa Berger, requested further information on exactly how the zoning would impact the ability for new vapor shops to open, as well as to hear from the Mayor’s office as to the merits or rationale of singling out vapor shops for this type of zoning. They semed open to opposing this zoning. Alderman Steve King, who is apparently no fan of vapor products, quickly attempted to change the dialog, insisting that the next public hearing stay closed, to avoid any more discussion on the health debate. He insisted that was all settled during the indoor ban hearings and any new discussion should be limited to land use issues.
In that light, it is imperative that vapers and store owners attempt to meet with and write the Commissioners (see contact list below) to express their opposition and insist that the City provide clear evidence supporting why e-cigarette sales should be treated in the same way as traditional cigarette sales AND why stand-alone shops selling vapor products should be treated differently than other retail stores and gas stations that sell vapor products.
3/23/2015: Madison is attempting to amend its tobacco zoning and licensing rules to include e-cigarette retailers. This was introduced by Mayor Soglin to the Common Council on March 3rd without debate and was referred to the Plan Commission. Based on a Google Maps search, this ordinance would severely limit new vape shops opening or expanding to new locations, based on their proximities to parks, churches, healthcare facilities, schools, playgrounds, daycare facilities, youth centers and other stores of any kind that sell tobacco! It would also impact the state’s wholesale companies, if other municipalities follow suit. (Note that existing shops ARE grandfathered and can remain open under these new zoning restrictions.)
It is imperative that ALL Madison and Wisconsin e-cigarette shops, wholesalers and consumers oppose this ordinance, as this will set a precedent that will be used in other cities around the state!
This matter is on on the Plan Commission agenda for April 6 at 5:30 PM at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 201 (City-County Building)
Note: Public Hearing items may be called at any time after the beginning of the public hearing. Those wishing to speak on an item must fill out a registration slip and give it to the Secretary. The Plan Commission uses a consent agenda, which means that the Commission can consider any item at 5:45 PM, where there are no registrants wishing to speak in opposition regardless of its placement on the agenda.
This ordinance states:
- A tobacco retailer is any establishment that either devotes twenty percent (20%) or more of floor area or display area to the sale or exchange of tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia.
- Tobacco paraphernalia includes electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems, or any item designed to atomize liquid solutions that simulate smoking.
- Tobacco products includes e-liquids such as propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavorings, or other products for use in electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems.
- Key supplemental regulations under this ordinance include that no tobacco retailer shall be located within one-thousand (1,000) feet of the boundary of any residential zone or parcel occupied by certain other uses, such as schools, day cares, playgrounds, youth centers, parks, libraries, and health care facilities. (1,000 feet is approximately 3 city blocks.)
- No tobacco retailer shall be located within one thousand (1,000) feet of the boundary of any residential zone or parcel occupied by:
1. A public or private kindergarten, elementary, middle, junior high or high school;
2. A licensed child-care facility or preschool other than a family day care facility;
4. Youth center;
6. Library; or
7. Health care facility.
- No tobacco retailer shall be located on a site which is within five hundred (500) feet of a site occupied by another tobacco retailer or any establishment selling tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia, as measured in a straight line from the two properties nearest parcel boundaries. (500 feet is approximately 1 /2 city blocks. This means a vape shop couldn’t be within 500 feet of a gas station selling cigarettes or a cigar store that has no relation to vapor products!)
- Tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia shall be secured so that only store employees have immediate access to the tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia. Self-service displays are prohibited. (We do not know if this includes “tasting bars.”)
Here is a link to the proposed new ordinance:
Here is a link to the Plan Commission Agenda for 3/23/2015:
Contact the members of the Plan Commission by and voice your opposition to this zoning change! Explain that:
- This zoning would negatively impact businesses and jobs in Madison, severly limiting new business and expansion of existing businesses to new and secondary locations.
- There is no justification for restricting locations of vapor shops, when other stores that sell very similar products do not have the same restrictions.
- A zoning restriction that would forbid a vapor shop to be within 500 ft (approximately 1 1/2 city blocks) from a gas station selling cigarettes or a cigar store that sells only cigars makes no sense. Such a restriction makes deadly combustible products far more accessible to the public than low risk vapor products!
- Tell them how vapor products sold by vapor shops are an important part of your better health.
- Let them know how vapor shops are more responsible than other stores selling vapor products. Vapor shops are far more likely to ask for ID to avoid sales to minors and help smokers, compared to gas stations and other stores selling these products.
- If you own a store, tell them how your customers count and you for their supplies to keep from smoking. Have your customers write to the Commissioners, too!
Take Action to Oppose this proposed zoning ordinance: Contact the Plan Commissioners!
Bradley A Cantrell
Eric W. Sundquist
Maurice C. Sheppard
Melissa M. Berger
Michael G. Heifetz
Michael W. Rewey
Scott J. Resnik
Tonya L. Hamilton-Nisbet
Bulk email list:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org