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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Hmmm. Looks like dropping a deuce is now an act of civil disobedience.

I shall begin resistiting this ordinance forthwith.




Be a good citizen and do your part to meet the 25% water reduction — don’t flush at all. If the city tries to take action against you tell them the have contradictory ordinances.


let’s try the opposite. when i was living in Canada we would take the boat up the Gatineau-Quebec to smell the fresh cuts. They cut on Thursdays. Regarding grills, we can tell what our “down the hill neighbors are grilling. wife and i have learned to smell chicken, steak, and hamburger. doesn’t help with our diet!

Jorge Estrada

This is governance gone wild. If someone has a problem with stink, they can make their own stink within a private civil action. Asking for embarassing new laws is a foul abuse of the public trust. How does the City keep their clouds of stench within their sewer farm? Has anyone on the council discussed that?


City claims ‘do as I say, not as I do’ defense.


Somebody voted these people in,this must be the type of govt that they want,too bad they don’t come over and express their views now.


Janny the nanny.


Yay! Being smelly homeless is now a crime, finally we can clean up the streets, public parks and sidewalks.


Jan Marx is the most screwed up individual there is. She has taken her anti pot attitude and found a loophole to screw with those who need to grow their own medicine. So, If I don’t like the chlorine smell from the three pools that surround my home is she going to do something about that? If my neighbors bbq smoke with all its cancer causing smoke wafts into my property is she going to do something about that? Selective enforcement won’t work for that stupid woman. She had the gall to try and stop my company from working down the street from her home one day because we were making too much noise even though it was during the day. Chainsaws do make noise. Get ready for that ordinance next.


Please please, someone that lives downwind of Jack in the Box start bitching, to me that is the most ghodawfull stench there is! Lets see how long this stupid measure holds up to the pettifoggers of Ralston Purina


try coffee roaster


I wish they would spend time on issues they CAN control, such as ending the drought, making July

not too hot, etc like Camelot did.