site plan has been passed

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site plan has been passed

Postby burningflorida » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:34 am

We tried, the applicant came into the Planning & Zoning board meeting with an X city councilman. The councilman spoke for the applicant to put a Smoker on the outside of a restaurant, 50 feet away from a couples residents with a 2 month old infant. 100 feet away from property that has a full ecosystem, hawks & Owls, snakes & lizards and everything in between, including a bee hive. We don't know how to stop this tragedy from being approved at the City Council Meeting on 7/14/08

Can anyone suggest an approach to success?

Thank You
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Postby FriendofAir » Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:12 am

I would talk to a land use or environmental attorney asap.
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Postby MPA » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:46 am

In your city/county is their a nuisance ordinance already on your books?


If someone creates a nuisance, which this will, you should be protected under the ordinance....
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Postby Wilberforce » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:38 am

Welcome!

There is an overwhelming amount of convincing scientific evidence proving the toxicity and
health danger of secondhand smoke (specifically wood smoke.)

Please look in our Health Matters section. There are links to dozens of free documents
available for download, especially in the first link: "Wood Smoke and Health Research Papers."

Research as much as you can. Talk to your neighbors. Educate them on the health dangers
of wood smoke. Print out some of the research studies which you consider useful for your case,
and distribute to your surrounding citizens, the town fathers, and even the restaurant owner.
Perhaps if that owner knew something about secondhand smoke, he might reconsider?
Most people are not aware of the magnitude of the potential harm which smoke can cause.
Not surprisingly, tobacco users may be the most difficult-to-convince of all.

You may need to do some digging into the town's ordinance book (or have a lawyer do it)
There should be something under the nuisance laws. City and state ordinances/laws can
usually be accessed online.

Here is a short article on an ordinance I have found under "Health and Sanitation" in my town.

Make contact with every national organization possible: American Lung Association, American
Cancer Society, etc, and follow links on their web pages. Contact your state and county
department of environment, department of health, etc.

If the pollution endangers wetlands, get the feds involved. Come to think of it, there are strict
federal laws concerning wetlands, especially if endangered species are involved. This may be
a clever approach to the problem: air pollution causing water pollution in the wetland.
This may be a longshot, but worth considering.

Please keep us posted.

W
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Postby burningflorida » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:53 pm

Thank You very much.

I am aware of the ordinances that apply but as I mentioned an x city councilmen is a sponsor and the process in the Planning and Zoning board meeting was tainted by his presence. This same problem happened in 1994 and the City defaulted to Property Right law discounting the Nuisance as a secondary concern. It took intervention from the County to remove the nightmare. It's a good city, moving forward, cleaning the Bay waters and starting a Biofuel program for the vehicles but they don't see the wood smoke through the barbecue deception, the culinary art is very deceptive around here and the restaurant industry is huge. Rural cooking has come to the urban area to arouse the taste buds and bring tears to our eyes.

Sec. 12-1.a-1,3,5,6,7
Sec. 12-1. Definitions.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) Nuisance means allowing or causing any condition or thing to exist which:
(1) Injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of any person; or
(2) Offends decency; or
(3) Is offensive to the senses; or
(4) Interferes with, obstructs or renders dangerous for passage any public or private street, alley, highway, right-of-way, easement, sidewalk, stream, ditch, channel or drainage of any property; or
(5) Renders other persons insecure in life or the use of property; or
(6) Interferes with the comfortable and quiet enjoyment of life or property; or
(7) Tends to or could depreciate the value of property of any person; or
(8) Is declared by ordinance or statute to be a nuisance, unlawful or prohibited.
(b) Person includes any natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, organization or entity of any kind.

Sec. 12-3. Nuisances prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person to create, cause or allow a nuisance to exist within the City of Gulfport. The owner and any person having care, custody or control of any parcel of real property within the city shall be responsible for any nuisance existing at, on, over or under said property and any right-of-way adjacent thereto. Each day in which a nuisance is allowed to exist shall constitute a separate and distinct offense for the purpose of assessing an appropriate fine or penalty.
(Ord. No. 93-6, § 1, 7-6-93)
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..and..

Postby burningflorida » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:08 am

I meant to add that folks around these parts do not give a lot of weight to the opinion of other countries, States, or the Federal Government. They will pay attention to what Florida Folks have to say though. That may be the same in every State as well. And so, for me to quote what the Iowa Supreme Count has to say on the topic would have very little impact. If I were to mention what California thinks, they would most likely think I'm a tree hugger and discount me for a wacko extremist. Just saying that I may question the nutritional value of Barbecue got the Planning & Zoning Boards eyes rolling.

I suspect because of the strength of the restaurant lobby here in Florida that the documents, that can be found, are written in generalities rather than mentioning any food preparatory process. You can find info on Wildfires and indoor stoves but nothing on the danger of outdoor smokers.

I've yet to find out what kind of wood/fuel is being used, what the brand of stove will be used, and what measures will be taken to reduce the impact of the emissions beyond a 12 foot stack. No one will address the process directly, so I suspect the Smoker is a homemade device, still unseen. If I could find an EPA certified Smoker's owners manual that would warn to operator not to use the Smoker within 50-100 feet, I could make the argument that; if this was a certified Smoker the applicant would be noncompliant in the use of the stove where the Site Plan is requesting it to be placed.

There are roofs higher than the 12 foot stack and second story window 40 feet away, a child's bedroom 50 feet away with the prevailing wind crossing the stack pushing the smoke right into the residential area. There is so much that is wrong about this and not much we can do, I was hoping that there was a magic bullet, something I was missing perhaps that could make a convincing argument.

There were 4 people who spoke against the Site Plan, all quite knowledgeable, and still the cronyism seems to have outweighed our concerns.

If anyone wants to watch the hearing it will be broadcast on July 15th at 7 pm EST here http://www.ci.gulfport.fl.us/GTV615/Live_Webstream.htm you can watch me make a fool of myself. There will be other speaking on the subject, so I won't be alone and I don't know where on the agenda the topic will be placed so it may not start until other issues are settled.
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Postby MPA » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:47 am

Be sure to mention our website, and divert them to this page. In my battles I simply use the simplest maxim possible. Feel free to use this :

"To break it down as simple as possible, it doesn't take much effort. All of you (whoever you are addressing) break this down to a very basic thought. If there is wood and that wood is being burnt the result is..... smoke. There is no disputing that.

Many studies and research have proven and shown (many can be found on this site) that constant exposure to any kind of smoke, not just wood smoke, is not good for the health of any human being or animal. There are no studies that have proven that "smoke" is not harmful to a person's health."




PS: Look for that to be in our upcoming OWB brochure, which I am in the process of writing.
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Postby burningflorida » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:19 am

Thank you for your interest. Does anyone know where I could find an online owners manual for a Factory Built, Name Brand Smoker? Contained within should be instructions on safety and distances.

Warning: "do not place your head inside this smoker", sort of liability statement, you know ....the fine print that no one reads but covers all the liability bases?
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Postby MPA » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:15 am

If you have access,

If you know the manufacterer of the burner, call them up and ask for a brochure/owners manual. Act like you you're interested as a buyer.....?
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Postby Wilberforce » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:40 am

Google "meat smoker" (use the quotation marks) There are a few companies
which sell these things; go to their website and search for "operators manual"
and/or "warranty information" on their products. This may be listed under
FAQ, help, or customer service headings. If you cannot find the info you need,
call their toll-free number with the request.

Some of these are electric or propane. Is the restaurant planning an actual
wood-burning smoke oven? There should be regulations in that area. Industrial
and commercial businesses almost always fall under the watchful eye of state/
county/city regulators. For example: food safety, cleanliness, as well as the HVAC
system, electrical codes, seating capacity, so forth. That is, he cannot install this
device without an operating permit. Now is a good time to research every town
and county in your state for such ordinances.

Contact (by phone) restaurant owners in other towns, and inquire about their
smokers, and how they went about "beating the opponents" (you would present
yourself as being a prospective restaurant owner, planning to install a smoker)

In order to defeat one's enemy, carefully study him well in advance of the fight.

W
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Postby turning_blue » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:43 pm

Did you mention contacting the media to cover this? Could that be a good idea?
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Postby Wilberforce » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:39 pm

The smoking of meats, made ever more popular by the TV cooking shows, is not without health hazard.
Google "smoked meat" along with keyword cancer OR carcinogen.

Pointing out the pertinent facts about food safety may bring attention to the undesirability of serving/eating
foods cooked this way. If smoking of tobacco is bad, smoking meats cannot be much better. There is actually
more benz(a)pyrene in the wood smoke (used for smoking) than there is in tobacco smoke. It should be no
surprise that prolonged consumption of smoked foods can result in stomach cancer.

This and the addition of vast amounts of salt and nitrites, one wonders why such foods do not exhibit some
sort of warning label, as is presently on packaged tobacco and alcohol.

Personally, I don't understand the fuss over smoked meats anyway. Some people feel they must smog
out a city block with their "smoker" in order to get that "flavor." In my humble opinion, smoke is a seasoning,
like hot peppers, and a little goes a long way. Overdo it and the meat is ruined. A good steak then tastes more
like a charred baseball bat than a steak. That lightly smoked flavor I am talking about can be achieved just
by the normal grilling process which creates a minimum of smoke. You don't have to conjure up a thick,
impenetrable London fog in the neighborhood just to cook dinner.
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Postby turning_blue » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:59 pm

I have been googling restaurant smokers, outdoor smokers, food smokers, commercial smokers...I can't find anything valuable as far as pollution. I'll keep trying.


I did find this site http://www.smokeeaters.org/
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Postby burningflorida » Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:42 pm

Thanks for your help.

From what I can gather the State of Florida had no expectation that restaurants in urban areas would resort to using wood. So when they wrote the leniency laws for restaurant emissions it was under the use of clean fuel. They do not regulate wood burning at a state level because of Florida's rural, suburban and urban diversity, so they leave it up to the Counties, who in turn leave it up to the communities. St. Petersburg is a large city but they allow in on its fringes, other communities do not reveal why they may not allow it, but they find ways. This Site Plan may have failed in the Planning Stage but the excouncilmen sponcorship and intervention tainted the process. The Board disregarded all reasonable appeals by residents in close proximity stating at the end of the hearing that if the councilmen supports the plan then we'll agree.

Pointing out the 2 month old infant 50 feet away, or the elder in a wheelchair 90 feet away, or the second story bedroom window 40 feet away at the same height with the proposed stack, had no influence on their vote. The meeting was a travesty and the neighborhood will be another casualty of a cultural trend unless I can find a way to make them understand that in just a few years from now the Medical industry will determine that this process is a health risk and the Insurance industry will conclude that underwriting such a risk is no longer profitable. It will take, in my opinion, both these industries to overcome the power of the restaurant lobby in Florida.

In the meantime these locations will acquire grandfather rights and become imbedded. I'm sure some will move or sell and loose property value as well. Who is going to be willing buy or lease a house next to a business that pumps wood smoke into their lives 10-12 hours a day?

Folks, earlier I had found this list of smokers http://bbq.about.com/od/smokers/tp/aatp092904a.htm and thought I would call them as some here have suggested.

Thanks!!
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Gulfport Florida voted to pollute its population

Postby burningflorida » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:05 pm

The City Counsel of Gulfport Florida voted to pollute its population today July 15 2008.

It made no difference to this body that a 3-month-old infant lives 50 feet away from this proposed smoker. It made no difference that a garden with 50 species of Florida native plants and a beehive that services them. Cronyism abounds as the ex councilmen influenced the newbie councilors and contradicts the Mission Statement and Nuisance Laws of the City. All commercial advertisement in Gulfport Florida that claim to be clean, quiet and environmentally concerned are now in direct contradiction to the determination of the City.
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