McKenna on KIRO: Odors that violate your property rights

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a lawsuit by a Marysville man over compost odors. Attorneys for James Moffat alleged that smells from Cedar Grove’s composting facility in Everett interfered with his enjoyment of his property. A Snohomish County jury found in favor of Cedar Grove earlier this month.

Dave Ross: “Somebody still has to be held responsible, right? If a private property owner has to be able to establish the exact weather conditions that caused this, nobody would ever be able to win such a lawsuit. And yet, their property would still be useless to them, and certainly nobody would want to buy it.”

Rob McKenna: “Well, this raises the age-old philosophical question: If compost is rotting in the forest but there’s no one there to smell it, is it still stinky?

“If you can show your property value is diminished – particularly if you can show that the company running the facility is violating clean air laws and regulations – I think you’ve got a pretty strong case. But apparently this one plaintiff wasn’t able to isolate the odor to Cedar Grove, or how much of the odor was coming from them.

“It is a little bit like noise, too – the farther away you get from the source, the more mixed it becomes. How do you assign liability to one company if you can’t somehow quantify how much of the problem is their responsibility as opposed to the other facilities?”

Listen here

  • MaynardGKrebbs

    My first thought on this supposed “offending “odor law which is not in the article is this. Can muslims use it to stop a restaurant from cooking bacon,sausage,sausage gravy and biscuits ?

    • Toby

      When the odor seeps into your house, with all the windows closed, it’s not ok. It’s intrusive and unacceptable.

  • Nathan B. Modrow

    Another question should be who was there 1st? Was the composting facility there before or added after Mr. Moffat purchased his property? If it was there before, then he knowingly purchased the property despite the presence of the facility.

    • Toby

      For most of us, the facility was smaller and didn’t accept food scraps when we moved here. Now it’s almost a daily occurrence. You should experience it.