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Sriracha showdown intensifies as Irwindale declares public nuisance

An attorney for hot sauce maker Sriracha said Irwindale is "determined" to assert its authority after the City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to declare the company's production facility a public nuisance.

The 4-0 vote came despite assurances from company attorney John Tate that Huy Fong Foods planned to submit an action plan within 10 days and have the smell -- which residents say burns their eyes and throats at certain times of day -- fixed by June 1.

"The City Council is determined to assert its authority regardless of the status of the odor remediation efforts," Tate said.

Officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District have been performing tests at the facility and have offered to help the company craft a mitigation plan. Although they would not release the test results, AQMD officials indicated that the smell issues could be resolved with active carbon filters -- a technology the company has used in the past.

Once the City Council adopts an expected official resolution at its next meeting, Huy Fong Foods will have about 90 days to mitigate the odor. If it doesn't, City Council members on Wednesday asserted the city has the right to eventually enter the factory and make the changes itself, while assessing the costs to the factory. 

Irwindale already has sued Huy Fong Foods in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the sauce maker breached terms of its development agreement and created a public nuisance. A judge granted the city a preliminary injunction and a trial is set for November.

Despite the public tussle, Councilman Albert Ambriz said that the city wants to keep the hot sauce factory.

"I respect the fact that they are here. But they know there's a problem and it needs to be fixed," Ambriz said.

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frank.shyong@latimes.com

Twitter: @frankshyong

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