Council won’t ban outdoor burning appliances

Published 6:59 am Tuesday, December 8, 2009

City officials decided Monday not to ban outdoor, solid-fuel burning appliances in Austin.

City council had been considering a proposed ordinance that would have prohibited outdoor stoves that burn solid materials, such as wood, corn or other waste, but the motion failed 3-4.

Interestingly, the ordinance actually received a positive 4-3 vote last month during a council meeting, but per city charter, an ordinance needs unanimous approval to pass during its first presentation.

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The draft law was spurred by a number of residents in northeast Austin concerned with smoke coming from a nearby pallet-making factory.

However, the ordinance would have grandfathered in existing appliances, and council didn’t feel it necessary to restrict newer, cleaner stoves.

Councilman Jeff Austin said this is especially true given how quickly technology develops.

“I have a problem just banning things, especially in this area,” he said.

However, Austin said it would still be wise to consider adopting some type of nuisance ordinance to regulate existing structures that might pose health risks, which was a component of the longer ordinance that failed Monday.

That issue was moved to the council’s “matters at hand” and will receive more discussion.