Loveland’s City Council again postponed voting on a proposed ban on flavored tobacco and vaping product sales Tuesday, pushing it to April to invite more public comment.

Councilor Rob Molloy successfully moved to put off voting on the ban to solicit comments particularly from parents and families of youths harmed by the products.

The council last heard the item on Dec. 8, when they voted to table it to Feb. 16 while the city performed more business outreach.

Council members voted 5-4 to postpone the item Tuesday, with Don Overcash, John Fogle, Steve Olson and Richard Ball opposed.

Molloy and others said they wanted to target the families of young vapers in a way similar to how the city received targeted input from flavored tobacco and vaping product retailers.

“I believe we did a disservice to the citizens of our city to not including them in public outreach,” he said. “I think it’s a very important part that we aren’t just looking at business owners. We’re looking at the actual people who were affected on the (other) side of the flavor ban.”

Councilor Andrea Samson said she envisioned the comments taking place as part an “outreach activity” led by the Loveland Public Library or modeled off its Community Conversations event series.

“No offense, I love public comment, but that was excessive,” she said of the several hours of testimony received by the council during hearings in the fall. “And it wasn’t productive in getting the message across that I think our citizens … wanted to get across.”

Olson said he still opposed the ban because it would restrict the freedom of businesses to sell a legal product and that giving families more time to testify would be unfair to business owners.

“You’re trying to stack the deck, and I think that’s just not intellectually honest,” he said.

Fogle and Overcash said they would want to hear from a more broadly representative cross-section of citizen comments once the results of the city’s business outreach are presented. Molloy said he was worried that restarting public comment could turn the meeting into a “circus.”

“I’m just afraid that if we open it up to public comment, we may end up with the circus that we had before,” he said, later walking back his choice of words.

Ball too questioned the need for more public comment.

“We had over 10 hours of very well thought-out citizen input,” he said. “To say that both sides weren’t, I mean, I get it about the merchants, but there were all kinds of parents who spoke out, all kinds of health care providers. I agree with our city manager. We have beat this thing to death.”

“Well, I thought we did before, but we opened it up to the businesses,” Molloy replied.

“Let’s get it back. Every month that goes by, another 10, or 15, or a thousand kids get addicted. Let’s have a vote,” Ball said.

The next hearing of the ban was postponed to April 6 at the soonest, a date given by City Manager Steve Adams.

The date could include a second and potentially final vote on the ban. Though it passed 6-3 on first reading in November, some of those who voted in favor said late that they wanted more input from businesses.

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