By Leigh Martinez

TURLOCK (CBS13) — The City of Turlock spent months debating whether to ban smoking in public parks, but found out this week the council already banned it years ago.

“What if someone’s walking on the sidewalk and smoke blows into the park?” said one man who was about to light up inside Summerfaire Park. “Should it be banned to the other side of the street?”

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Smoking on the street is fine, but it’s illegal to smoke inside a Turlock City park.  It’s not a new law, just one never enforced and forgotten.  In August, a group of girl scouts asked Turlock City Council to ban smoking in parks to prevent second hand smoke inhalation. The idea had some smokers fuming and council members considering a vote.  Then, according to the city, one Parks and Recreation employee said, “Wait a minute. Smoking is already banned.”

How did no one with the city know about the existing ban? Turlock spokesperson Maryn Pitt said the simplest answer is that several different managers have come into the Parks and Recreation Department.

“We’ve had a great deal of turnover of our managers when this policy, which was part of a comprehensive package, was proposed,” said Pitt.

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The city’s parks post about littering and Crime Stoppers, but nothing about no smoking. Several locals said they don’t mind smokers as long as they keep their distance.

“If they’re around the playground or where children are then, no,” said Rosa Navarro. “As long as they’re away from the children, that’s fine.”

“Doesn’t matter to me,” said Byron Fruetel.

“If people are outside they should be able to smoke if they want to.”

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But city hall said it will review the no smoking in public parks policy and possibly vote to affirm it next month.