Since January, Leander leaders have been working to put regulations in place for the operation of vape shops and smoke lounges within the city.

City staff’s proposed amendment in the city’s composite zoning ordinance provides updated definitions, added uses and a criteria for vape shops and smoke lounges in Leander city limits.

The specifics

Per staff’s recommendation, a vape or smoke shop where products are sold would be considered a retail use zoned as local commercial, Executive Director of Development Services Robin Griffin said.

However, if the business is a lounge where the products are being used, it would be zoned as heavy commercial, she said. For example, a hookah lounge would be zoned as heavy commercial.

Further, the proposed ordinance amendment includes a requirement that vape shops and smoke lounges are not to be located within 1,000 feet of a public or private school.

Staff identified roughly five vape shops in Leander, and Griffin said none of them are within 1,000 of a school.

Also of note

The proposed amendment also addresses cosmetic services, a use that has caused strife between the city and developers, Griffin said. Cosmetic services include eyelash extensions, microblading, Botox and chemical peels.

Griffin said those uses will now be zoned as local commercial to help broaden options.

The use of vape and smoke shops as well as cosmetic services was not previously defined by the city’s zoning ordinance, Griffin said.

The action taken

Council unanimously approved the ordinance amendment during its June 6 meeting. However, the item was approved on first reading, which means it will come back before council for a second and final reading at the June 20 meeting.