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Austin City Council Committee Votes Against Barbecue Smoke Regulation

The vote opposed to the code was unanimous.

La Barbecue's pits
La Barbecue's pits
La Barbecue/Twitter
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

All members of the City Council Committee on Economic Development voted against the proposed code change that would regulate smoke emissions from local barbecue restaurants on Monday, as reported by Austin Monitor. As part of the stakeholder process initiated after the city council meeting on April 2, the committee explored the affects of the potential regulation.

Council Member Ora Houston made the motion not to pursue an ordinance initially proposed by Council Member Pio Renteria. Houston moved that individual complaints be referred to Code Compliance or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The code, which was presented by Renteria, would have required all wood or charcoal-burning grill to be placed at least one hundred feet from a residentially-zoned property. He also wanted restaurants located near those areas to install exhaust systems known as smoke scrubbers. Aaron Franklin told Eater that the proposed changes "would destroy Austin barbecue," because of the high installation and maintenance costs.

During the April meeting, restaurateurs and neighbors testified about the proposal, including Barton Springs resident Guy Watts, who wanted the city to deal with smoke regulations on a case-by-case basis. His house is located right behind Terry Black's Barbecue and its pits, which bothered neighbors. In response to complaints about La Barbecue’s smoke, the trailer moved its pits.

Terry Black's BBQ

1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX (512) 394-5899 Visit Website

la Barbecue

2401 East Cesar Chavez Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website