Hookah bar owners fuming over city ordinance

By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The owners of an unopened hookah bar in Nacogdoches are under fire over their interpretation of the city ordinance.

City planners are telling owners they can't open a business where patrons pay money to smoke-flavored tobaccos from a water pipe.

Owners say this is the exact opposite of what they were told after their attorney got involved.

The ordinance interpretation is the sticky point.

"We wouldn't have opened if they wouldn't had said go ahead and open," said Josh Norris, on of the bar owners." We wouldn't have quit our jobs. We didn't purchase the building til the day we got confirmation. We weren't trying to rush anything. We were just doing what we were told. We plan to pursue it. Our main business investor doesn't want to give up. He says he's willing to put as much money towards it as he can."

The ordinance does exempt businesses that sell primarily tobacco from the no-smoking ordinance.

Recently an amendment was presented to exclude hookah bars.

It was denied.

Planning and zoning say the current ordinance is strong enough.

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