Stakeholders will gather to find solutions for barbecue smoke complaints

Barbecue Barbecue restaurants and other eateries could face limitations on smoke emissions.[/caption]

Stakeholders, including restaurant business owners and neighbors affected by smoke from barbecue restaurants, will begin to meet and possibly create a city ordinance to manage smoke emissions.

The resolution was proposed by District 3 Council Member Sabino "Pio" Renteria, who said that many residents had reached out and voiced concerns to him about their health and quality of life being affected from smoke emissions from restaurants like Terry Black's Barbecue and La Barbecue.

The resolution suggests requiring restaurants within 100 feet of the nearest residential property line to have a smoke mitigation device, such as a smoke scrubber. Residents that live behind Terry Black's Barbecue on Barton Springs Road said such regulation would still not help them because the smoke travels such far distances.

Many citizens who spoke to council voiced concern that the issue only pertains to certain businesses while many barbecue restaurants operate in Austin without negatively affecting nearby residents.

Hoover Alexander, owner of Hoover's Cooking, told City Council he's not aware of any complaint from neighbors hear his business and he just wants to be a good neighbor to all.

LeAnn Mueller, owner of La Barbecue, said she was not aware that smoke from her food trailer's pits were causing such a serious issue and there are plans to move the pits farther away from residences this weekend. La Barbecue has a brick-and-mortar restaurant, at an undisclosed location, opening soon and she said the smoking pits will be placed on the roof to try and keep smoke from affecting surrounding residents.

The purpose of the resolution was to find a solution best for all parties and bring all the stakeholders together to solve the issue, Renteria said. City Manager Marc Ott must come back to council with a possible ordinance at the first meeting after July 31 of Austin City Council.

The Economic Opportunity committee and Health and Human Services committee will consider the issue to provide recommendations to the full council.

Nine Austin City Council members voted to approve the resolution while Council Members Ellen Troxclair and Don Zimmerman voting against it.