Hookah Lounge Plans Go Up in Smoke

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A plan to bring a hookah lounge to Tolland went up in smoke on Monday night.

The owner of New Haven's Mediterranea wanted to set up shop near UConn and offer a place where people could go and have a communal smoke of a hookah, which is filled with tobacco, fruit and honey.
"(It's a) very good atmosphere for the college students. Nice place to hang out, to meet people, to relax, to socialize and keep a lot of kids out of trouble," said Omar Rajeh, who said he's had success among college students in New Haven.
However, the town's Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny the application permit because it was inconsistent with the economic development in that part of town.
Dozens of people had expressed their opposition to the hookah lounge. At Monday's public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, they said the hookah lounge was a health risk.
"I think the health risks have been well-established with the use of tobacco products and second-hand smoke, and it would be doing a disservice to our community to have such a business," Heather Freeman said.
"I believe that a business whose sole purpose is to advocate smoking is a public health risk and is not in line with the visions of this town," said Ken Kittredge of Tolland.
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