Doral passes ordinance penalizing residents, businesses for ‘offensive’ odors

Offensive odors are not welcome in Doral.

Following a vote at Wednesday’s city council meeting, Doral approved a citywide ordinance that would penalize residents and businesses if they cannot control odors coming from their property. The proposal passed unanimously. The new measure will penalize any offender who:

▪ “Creates odors or smells which are offensive or obnoxious to other persons within the City”

▪ “Endanger the health and welfare of other persons within the City”

▪ “Create a detrimental effect of the use and enjoyment of property of other persons in the City”

▪ “Unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life, health, safety, peace, comfort or property of other persons in the City”

A first violation of the odor ordinance will incur a $500 fine, a second violation rises to $1,000, and a third and subsequent violations will result in a $1,500 fine if they occur within 180 days of the previous violation.

“We have the right to have pure air,” Mayor Luigi Boria said.

The measure comes after a series of complaints by Doral residents regarding unpleasant smells in the city. A Odor Monitoring Evaluation Report conducted by the city from 2013 to 2014 recorded 309 odor complaints between June 2013 and January 2014 — with complaints spiking at 116 in the month of October.

Two facilities singled out in the report, and in council discussion, as the most egregious offenders were Medley Landfill and the Covanta Renewable Energy Facility in Doral.

Councilman Pete Cabrera, who voted in favor of the motion, cautioned residents to temper expectations that the ordinance would deal with these specific facilities. Doral has no jurisdiction to fine a facility that is out of its city limits and the Covanta facility is owned by Miami-Dade County. Councilman Cabrera asked City Attorney Daniel Espino to investigate what true powers the city has in terms of enforcing this ordinance.

“Maybe it’s a good step. We obviously have to address the odor problem. I’m just not sure how enforceable this is,” Cabrera said. “I do believe we need to do a large community outreach. Every citizen in Doral needs to be aware of the odor hotline.”

The ordinance does not address air quality standards or dust pollution – those are regulated by the county.

“I just want to be clear that this is definitely a first step with controlling odor. This ordinance wasn’t intended to go after any particular property,” said Adam Temple, the city’s Code Compliance Director. “This is meant to deal with odors that are emanating from properties within the city of Doral limits.”