Residents who live along the old Escondido Country Club golf course are raising a stink about the smell in their backyards.
Two weeks ago, the owner of the golf course started using chicken manure to fertilize the grass. Some residents say the company is harassing them with the odor on purpose. The homeowners have been vocal opponents of the developer’s plan to build homes on the property.
So far, 50 residents have submitted complaints to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control Center. The Air Pollution Control Center has sent violation notices to both “Stuck in the Rough,” who owns the golf course, and the manure company.
The minimum fine for this type of odor is $10,000 a day, according to officials. However, if an investigation reveals the owner was doing this as retaliation, the golf course could be charged as much at $75,000 a day.
“The idea of a penalty here is to make it large enough to have a deterrent effect for them from doing it in the future,” Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Kard said. “It’s also penalty for doing what they did wrong, but the idea is to prevent them and others from undertaking similar things by setting an example.”
Now on Day 6, the clock is ticking for the golf course to get rid of the stench. Last week, the Air Pollution Control Center classified the smell as a Level 5. On Tuesday, it was a Level 3.
The owner of the golf course says the lawn is maintained by an "industry-standard landscaping program.” However, the owner apologized and promised to use a less-smelly fertilizer in the future.