San Marcos City Council considers ordinance to control air pollution and odors

Air quality would be measured employees of the city of San Marcos when residents make complaints of air pollution or unwanted smells, which could result in fines. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)
Air quality would be measured employees of the city of San Marcos when residents make complaints of air pollution or unwanted smells, which could result in fines. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)

Air quality would be measured employees of the city of San Marcos when residents make complaints of air pollution or unwanted smells, which could result in fines. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the first of two votes, San Marcos City Council voted unanimously May 4 in favor of the San Marcos Clean Air Ordinance, which would regulate air quality and odors within city limits.

The ordinance, which would be complaint based, would permit fines of up to $2,000 for the following reasons:

  • If a device called a Barneby-Cheney Scentometer registers more than two units of odor, which is measured by the amount of clean air required to dilute a scent

  • If particulates are emitted beyond the creator's property line at a level deemed to be a nuisance, which means the emissions are either harmful or interfere with normal use and enjoyment of property

  • If used fuel standard oil is burnt within the city of San Marcos


Greg Carr, the Neighborhood Enhancement Department's director may add other regulations he deems necessary to meet air pollution standards.


Place 4 Councilmember Shane Scott questioned Carr over whether the ordinance would impact everyday activities, such as barbecues. City staff said family barbecues would probably not be affected by the ordinance, but a commercial barbecue restaurant potentially could.

"It's not just based on one person likes it, the next person doesn't," Carr said. "It's very quantitative, where you have an instrument that can say, 'No, this is good.'"

The final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for the next City Council meeting, which is planned for May 18.
By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.