Austin City Council drops barbecue smoke ordinance

Austin's barbecue restaurants are getting a little break from the City Council.

We reported awhile back that the city was looking into a possible resolution to stop the effects of smoke emissions from restaurants and mobile food vendors near residential areas.

It has been dropped by the City Council.

They are now giving any complaints to the city Health Department and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to make a decision on the air quality issue.

A city survey shows 51 restaurants in Austin have smokers. Terry Black's on Barton Springs is the spot that seemed to have gotten the most attention.

"There has to be a northern wind to hit them and it's only certain times of the day when we are smoking," said Mark Black with Terry Black's.

Guy Watts lives right behind Terry Black's. Last month, he testified at a council meeting about the ordinance showing a time lapse from his neighborhood

"You can smell it as we sit here today. I'm certain of that and when you attempt to open your windows and doors, your couch smells like a campfire," he explains.

At that meeting, Watts had suggested he would file a nuisance lawsuit, though he won't rule one out, he does say this story may have a happy ending after all

"Both sides have been working on this issue for a while and we think that something good is imminent," he said.

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