SLO City Council votes to outlaw odors

April 1, 2015
Mayor Jan Marx

Mayor Jan Marx


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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JB Bronson

Oh good. For a minute they were going to outlaw garages.

black sheep

“no one from the public spoke in favor of the ordinance”, which was passed. whatever happened to we the people? oh ya- we the people who elected these crooked morons. time for a change


Pro: Cigarette smoke from the neighbors can’t drift INTO my house anymore?

Con: I can’t fart downtown.


If money is free speech and you can voice your agreement with a contribution could you also voice your disagreement with the contribution of a bad odor? Lawsuit for right to free speech? “Better Call Saul”


PEE YOU, Jan and Co.

This stinks!

Mr. Holly

This should be an added endorsement for Dan Carpenter for County Supervisor. Makes you wonder what these fools are thinking about. Most of us think politics stink. This just be the way to get rid of these stinkers?


How about we just swap A. Hill for Dan Carpenter.

SLO gets the kind of leader they deserve and so does the rest of the County.


Quite interesting that all three who voted in favor of this insanity are attorneys or married to one.

Guess who will profit when folks start to sue each other over this craziness?



It’s hard to imagine a more shortsighted and silly law! Just for starters, pretend I’m a vegan and I believe that all animals are sentient beings who have a right to life. My neighbor likes to BBQ meat….which produces an odor I find offensive. I shall demand that legal action be taken to punish my neighbor for offensive odors!

People are far too eager to find something, anything that offends them! It’s a known fact that an overly policed population begins to bite and devour one another before long. I think we can expect all kinds of amazing examples of unintended consequences from this very stupid law.


Oh…..april 1st. Am I a victim of a news prank?


Unfotunately for all you SLO residents, this is not a news prank. (Too bad, it would have been a great one if it was.)


I remember when San Luis Sourdough was on Granada Drive, that whole neighborhood smelled like Heaven.