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Stanfield passes nuisance ordinance, considers mobile food vending rules

Rules for mobile vendors discussed as new business readies to open
Jade McDowell

East Oregonian

Published on September 20, 2017 1:37PM

Last changed on September 20, 2017 9:27PM


Stanfield’s city council passed a new nuisance ordinance Tuesday, but the city is giving 3D Idapro Solutions until the end of November to fix its odor problems before it begins levying fines.

“We already had an agreement with them so we will give them until the date we agreed,” said Councilor Jason Sperr.

The company’s dehydration plant has drawn complaints about odors from the raw potato waste lingering over town, particularly since a fire destroyed the plant’s odor-reducing scrubbers in February. 3D Idapro Solutions has since promised a three-part solution to the problem that includes site grading, enclosing the plant’s receiving area and installing new scrubbers by Nov. 30. Site grading was completed last week.

Discussion of the problem prompted creation of a new, more clearly-defined nuisance ordinance that city staff feel would hold up better in court in the event the city decides to pursue legal action. The ordinance counts the odors as a “nuisance” if there is an oral or written complaint to the city by four or more people in a 12-hour period, or if a “qualified person employing appropriate technology” measures certain levels of hydrogen sulfide or ammonia in the air.

Each nuisance will be a Class A violation, carrying a presumptive fine of $435 and maximum fine of $2,000, and the court can impose additional fees to reimburse the city for abatement.

The ordinance also creates rules for noise-related nuisances. Noises measured at the property line above 50 decibels between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. or 60 decibels between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. are a violation. Exceptions include emergency vehicles, organized athletic events, aircraft and railroad operations regulated by the federal government and events that have been granted a special permit.

The ordinance was passed by a vote of 5 to 1.

On Tuesday the council also discussed, but did not pass, an ordinance regulating mobile food vendors. Currently the city does not have any mobile food vendors or regulations specific to mobile food vendors, but a resident recently obtained a business license for a food truck they plan to operate in Stanfield.

City Manager Blair Larsen presented an ordinance that was based on the city of Hermiston’s rules for mobile food vendors and modifications suggested by a committee of two city councilors.

Stanfield’s version of the ordinance as discussed Tuesday does not include the $500-per-year license fee contained in Hermiston’s. It does include a list of other rules, including a requirement to be located within Stanfield’s downtown district and at least 400 feet away from other mobile food vendors. Vendors are not allowed to provide any tables, chairs, shade canopies or other accommodations for eating on site. The unit must be fully self-contained with no extra propane tanks, water or sewer lines, swamp coolers, etc. It must follow visual standards that include a ban on flashing lights and “loud” colors.

Sperr, Councilor Sue Whelan and Mayor Thomas McCann disagreed with the total ban on things like shade canopies and seating. McCann said if those things were packed up and moved with the food truck every night he felt it would still make them a “mobile” food vendor.

“As long as it’s not any type of permanent structure I have no qualms about it,” he said.

Councilor Pam McSpadden said she felt that defeated the idea of mobile food vending, however.

Whelan also said she disagreed with a provision that required the vendors to close by 8 p.m. McCann said that was done out of consideration for other establishments in town.

“Other restaurants would have a chance to get customers,” he said. “It makes it fair for everyone.”

The council agreed to continue looking for ways to improve the ordinance, and Larsen said that any vendor who set up in the meantime would still be required to start following any ordinance that was passed in the future.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.



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