By Dan Metcalf, Jr.
Clipper Online Editor
BOUNTIFUL – Four Bountiful vapor shops will be able to remain open for at least another year after city officials reversed course and allowed them to renew their licenses.
The news comes after the City of Bountiful sent a letter to the owners of four vapor shops on Thursday, informing them that their licenses would not be renewed effective January 1.
The original letter also stated that the city could not issue a license for the vapor business because doing so would violate state law that was passed under House Bill 95 in 2012.
The four businesses are Vapor Loc, Vapor R Us, Vapor Dreams and Urban Vapor.
On Monday, City Attorney Russell Mahan sent another letter to the owners stating they would grant them license extensions through 2014 until the shops were moved to appropriate locations or if the law could be successfully challenged in court - or if the issue could be sorted out with the state legislature.
A copy of the new letter was obtained by the Clipper, which cited “unusual circumstances” surrounding the short notice as reason for the change of course.
The letter also informed the owners that they would not face prosecution for any violation of the specific law during 2014.
The original letter from Bountiful City cited Utah Code 10-8-41.6, which defines what a "retail tobacco specialty business" is, and that such businesses cannot be located within 1,000 feet of any "community location" (school, church, park, library, etc) or within 600 feet of any residence.
Vapor shop owners were confused as to why the city would issue them a license and then revoke it only months later - due to a state law that already existed when the licenses were granted.
Bountiful City Manager Gary Hill told the Clipper, “We don’t have any desire to make life difficult for these owners.”
When asked why the city would grant licenses that were in violation of a state law, Hill said, “I wish I had an answer.”
Hill also noted that dozens of new laws passed every legislative session. Regarding House Bill 95, he said, ”We simply missed.”
Vapor Loc co-owner Alexis Martinez was elated at the news. “We’re still here,” she said.
Stay connected with davisclipper.com for updates on this developing story.