SLO City Council votes to outlaw odors
April 1, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to enact an ordinance that allows the city to prosecute people who allow foul odors to creep across their property lines for a misdemeanor.
During public comment, a handful of people asked the council to vote against the ordinance, calling it vague and poorly assembled. In addition, speakers said it was unfair, unenforceable, and could be used indiscriminately.
Several speakers questioned how the ordinance would be enforced when residents share property lines at apartment complexes and duplexes. No one from the public spoke in favor of the ordinance.
Last year, the city had several complaints about an undesirable scent emanating from a medical marijuana grow in the backyard of a San Luis Obispo home. When the council failed to adopt a proposed medical marijuana ban, staff responded by drafting the foul odor ordinance. An ordinance that includes an exemption for all city owned properties.
On Tuesday, when asked how many odor complaints the city has received in the past, Community Development Director Derek Johnson said there had been two.
As a result of the new odor ordinance, city code enforcers are mandated to respond to odor complaints. If a property owner receives three verified complaints from neighboring property owners, code enforcers can issue citations to the property owner.
Mayor Jan Marx, Councilman John Ashbaugh and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson, two of whom are attorneys and one of whom is married to an attorney, voted in favor of the “odor nuisance” ordinance at Tuesday’s council meeting. Councilmen Dan Carpenter and Dan Rivoire cast the two dissenting votes.
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