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The San Luis Obispo City Council officially approves an odor ordinance 

Despite opposition from some residents and two San Luis Obispo city councilmen, it’ll soon be illegal to make a stink in SLO.

On an identical 3-2 vote, the SLO City Council officially adopted an ordinance at its March 31 meeting, stipulating “it is hereby declared to be unlawful and a public nuisance to cause or permit any persistent odors, which are offensive to individuals of normal sensitivity … to emanate across any parcel or property line.”

As they did during the odor ordinance’s introduction on March 17, council members Dan Carpenter and Dan Rivoire voted against adopting the law, which was once again supported by council members John Ashbaugh and Carlyn Christianson, as well as Mayor Jan Marx. The ordinance will take effect on April 30.

On March 31, Carpenter called the odor ordinance “unenforceable” and “absolutely ridiculous,” while Rivoire merely stated he supported “most” of Carpenter’s viewpoints.

Six speakers at public comment also spoke against the ordinance, with none speaking in support.

“I oppose the odor ordinance, and I really don’t want to see city staff spend taxpayer dollars by tracking this down,” said SLO resident and former mayoral candidate Gordon Mullin. “There are other means to deal with this particular problem.”

In defense of the ordinance, Christianson said she doesn’t expect a flood of trivial complaints to bog down city staff, adding that the odor ordinance will instead serve as a tool for the city to address rare, but serious, problematic odor situations.

“Other than those [serious odor situations], I think this thing is going to go away,” Christianson said. “I’m perfectly happy to revisit this ordinance if it doesn’t turn out that way, though.”

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