Here's the information from the AFD: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/fire/fcfaq.htm#bbq
Is it legal to use a barbecue pit at an apartment complex?
The City of Austin has adopted an ordinance banning the use of barbecue pits on apartment balconies. Local Ordinance 1220.127.116.11 reads as follows:
"No person may construct, erect, install, maintain or use any incinerator or barbecue pit or burn any combustible material to constitute a fire hazard by the use or burning or to endanger the life or property of any person. Residential barbecue pits, hibachis or other cooking appliances utilizing charcoal, wood or gas as a fuel may not be stored or used on any balconies of R-1 occupancies, on other combustible balconies, within five feet measured horizontally from any portion of a combustible building, or within fifteen feet measured along the shortest distance if the pit is located below any portion of a combustible building."
The Austin Department recognizes that the language in the above ordinance is confusing and misleading. AFD intends to rewrite the ordinance for Council approval in the near future.
The intended interpretation of this ordinance is as follows:
No barbecue pit of any type is allowed in/on any R-1, multi-family residential balcony or apartment;
On any other balcony (such as can be found on many commercial, mercantile, or single-family residential occupancies), the pit must meet horizontal and vertical spatial clearances as declared in the ordinance;
R-1, multi-family residential occupancies can have barbecue pits on the premises given that they are not on balconies, not in apartments, and meet the spatial requirements of the ordinance. (An example would be a first-floor apartment with a pit that is located and stored in a common area that is at least 5 feet from the building and not located under a structural overhang.)