How much does Texas love barbecue? So much that the city of Austin refuses to regulate its smoke.
Owing to an increasing number of complaints from residents who said that smoke wafting from nearby barbecue restaurants was ruining their quality of life, the Austin City Council considered a plan that would have regulated how these establishments handle their deliciously scented pollution. However, the thought of putting restrictions on brisket created a backlash that eventually led to the council voting down the proposal 4–0, leaving it up to residents to continue to submit any complaints on their own.
Austin’s Statesman points to two such instances where barbecue joints changed their smoking procedures to accommodate neighbor complaints. One councilwoman, Kathie Tovo, said she didn’t want to put restaurants under an “undue burden,” though she also didn’t want to force residents to have to sue to keep their backyards from smelling like a constant cookout. “I will say that I do not want to see communities be in the position of having to take things through the legal system if it’s a nuisance that the city should be regulating,” Tovo stated. “There may be a need to come back and revisit this issue and see if we need to tweak our city’s nuisance ordinance to provide citizens some relief from situations where the only path of responsiveness, it sounds like, is through a state agency.”
It’s a reminder that in barbecue-loving locales like Texas, it’s more than just the school district you need to consider when looking to buy a house. Definitely stand out back and get in some good sniffing before putting in a down payment.