Superior’s City Council adopted a pair of ordinances Tuesday, Nov. 5, that go into effect Friday, Nov. 15.

The first one encourages the development of green infrastructure to combat the impact of wet weather events and reduce stormwater pollution.

The other prohibits smoking in parks within 50 feet of playground equipment, pavilions and shelters, and redefines tobacco-related products to include vaping.

Green infrastructure

A monarch butterfly rests on plants in a native lawn, now allowed in Superior to combat pollution from stormwater runoff. (Courtesy of Superior Environmental Services Division)
A monarch butterfly rests on plants in a native lawn, now allowed in Superior to combat pollution from stormwater runoff. (Courtesy of Superior Environmental Services Division)

Changes to the noxious weed section of the property maintenance code allow the cultivation of native plants and lawns.

It also encourages the creation of residential compost piles for the first time in Superior, requiring them to be at least 5 feet from side and back lot lines and no closer than 10 feet from an adjacent occupied dwelling. The ordinance specifically prohibits compost piles from containing garbage, pet waste, meat scraps and other materials that may attract animals or vermin or emit obnoxious odors.

More information about native lawns is available at www.ci.superior.wi.us/nativelawn, and compost piles, www.ci.superior.wi.us/compost.

Smoking ban

“Councilors, this has been kind of a long road,” said Councilor Brent Fennessey, who proposed banning smoking in parks. “I think we’ve been to Parks and Rec four times and then the Wisconsin Point Committee at least once.”

Fennessey said his original intent was to ban smoking near playgrounds and it grew to eliminate smoking at all of Superior’s recreational facilities and permitted events. The Parks and Recreation committee brought it back to its original intent, he said.

“It makes sense that we create these spaces that kids and families are encouraged to go to, and what this would do is just make smoking prohibited around playground equipment,” Fennessey said.

The ordinance prohibits smoking within 50 feet of playground equipment, shelter and pavilions within city parks. It also extended prohibitions for use of tobacco-related products to include vaping. Violations or the ordinance come with fines from $100-$500.

However, Councilor Ruth Ludwig said the ordinance doesn’t go far enough. She said the goal of the ordinance isn’t a “gotcha,” but rather to promote healthy environments.

“It’s a good start, but doesn’t go far enough,” Ludwig said. She proposed adding picnic tables, park benches, basketball and tennis courts, skate park, bleachers and skating rinks to the list of amenities where smoking should be prohibited within 50 feet.

“I don’t know that this is the right time for us to be making that amendment because this needs to be this needs to be vetted out in committee,” Councilor Craig Sutherland said.

Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said she would support another discussion in committee.

The Council rejected altering the ordinance without the Parks and Recreation Commission’s input by an 8-2 vote.

The Council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance approved by the Commission on Oct. 9.

Ludwig said she would consider bringing those additional areas to the Parks & Recreation Commission further down the line.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Ludwig said. “But yes, I think we need to take it further.”