Seven Ames businesses filed a lawsuit Monday against the City of Ames, asking the court to grant a temporary halt to the enforcement of the smoking ban while they try to prove the ordinance is illegal.
Owners claim the smoking ordinance, "is inconsistent, irreconcilable and in conflict with the state law," according to the legal request for a temporary injunction.
Caf‚ Beaudelaire, 2504 Lincoln Way, has "lost a ton of business" and "an astronomical amount of money" since the smoking ban went into effect Aug. 1, said Erin Scott, a waitress at the restaurant. Profits for August were about $8,000 less than last year, she said.
"[The smoking ban] is infringing on our state rights," Scott said.
Plaintiffs are basing their lawsuit on Chapter 142B of the Code of Iowa, which allows smoking in public places and public meetings within designated smoking areas. The same chapter also says the code will "supersede any local law or regulation which is inconsistent ." with the Iowa Code.
Jim Moran, general manager of People's Bar and Grill, 2428 Lincoln Way, swore in a Sept. 21 affidavit that his business "has been damaged and will continue to be irreparably harmed by the impact of that . ordinance."
According to his affidavit, the restaurant saw "a significant drop in food sales," amounting to $500 to $700 per week.
It also said the kitchen closes at 3 p.m. on Fridays, and owners are considering eliminating other food sales to comply with the exemption for establishments that earn less than 10 percent of the revenue from food.
"Instead of being a `no-smoking ordinance,' the effect on businesses in Ames, such as ours, has turned it into a `no eating ordinance,'" Moran's affidavit stated.
Dirk Rozeboom, president of Rozeboom Foods, Inc., the corporate owner of Whiskey River also wrote in an affidavit that his business has been "irreparably harmed" by the ordinance.
The affidavit stated Whiskey River, 132 Main St., lost about $1,000 the first week after the ordinance took effect, because smokers chose to go to other restaurants where they could eat, smoke and drink alcohol. Rozeboom's affidavit said Whiskey River also has closed its kitchen at 3 p.m. every day, causing the business to lose $600 to $800 each week.
"I think it is more appropriate to be able to offer food, as well as alcohol at my business," Rozeboom's affidavit said. "Not only for business/revenue reasons, but I feel it better serves my customers' interests."
A judge will hear the case Tuesday in Nevada.
Also included in the law suit is Cyclone Truck Stop, 1811 S.Dayton Ave.; Wallaby's, 3720 Lincoln Way; Tradewinds Caf‚, 115 5th St.; and Dublin Bay, 320 S. 16th Street.