The Seal Beach City Council voted unanimously Monday to make it harder to open a new smoke shop and also officially defined them in city codes and banned their distant relative, the smoking lounge.

Councilman Gordon Shanks said before the meeting that the new ordinance would affect only new businesses that are looking to primarily sell tobacco and cigarettes. With the vote, these smoke shops will now be required to apply for a conditional use permit.

A smoking lounge is defined as an establishment that allows customers to test products or smoke indoors.

The new ordinance comes after the city's five-month suspension of the sale of e-cigarettes to allow time to research their effects. The ban was lifted Feb. 10 when the council adopted an ordinance that would allow the regulation of e-cigarettes in a fashion similar to the constraints on traditional cigarettes.

"E-cigarettes need to be treated the same way regular cigarettes are being treated now," Shanks said before the meeting.

About 11 stores sell cigarettes and tobacco in Seal Beach but none of them would qualify as a smoke shop, according to Jim Basham, the city's director of community development.

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Power Outage

In other businesses Monday, the council also discussed a power outage planned to take place from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. in Seal Beach.

Affected areas include Leisure World, Old Town and The Hill, according to Jenelle Godges, local public affairs region manager of Southern California Edison. She said the outage is for maintenance purposes and upgrades.

Residents who have backup generators or need electricity for medical equipment are urged to call Southern California Edison before the event.

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Edison Park Gardens

After the announcement about the power outage, Councilman Gary Miller asked Godges about the possibility of expanding the community garden at Seal Beach Edison Park and Gardens.

Godges said Edison considers the cost necessary to expand the garden prohibitive.

"I can tell you right now that we've looked at it from the highest (position), and it's very time consuming," Godges said.

Mayor Ellery Deaton and Councilman David Sloan asked the Edison representative to look into the expansion and what the city could do to lower the costs for Edison.