I lived in the Caribbean for 15 years, and to barbecue was part of everyone's lifestyle, black, white, rich, poor, homeowner, renter, beach bum. Pigs cooked slowly over spitfires for lechon, sausages sizzling on the grill beside burgers. Chickens sold at the side of the road by entrepreneurs, 'cued up special and smelling up the island for miles around. So it is particularly egregious when a home owners' association decides to make a no barbecue within 10 feet of the wall rule that nobody can appreciate or understand.
See, for 30 years in my Oxnard neighborhood, folks been barbecuing without incident. Millions of hot dogs have ignited celebrations and never once burned a thing else. Then some fool comes along, 'cue's up some t-bones and leaves the balcony with the barbecue still fired up. Of course, along comes a wind and the next thing you know the wood beam catches fire and the roof starts to glisten. Insurance company comes to survey the damage and says it will no longer pay for such idiocy. No barbecuing on the balcony, as you will not be covered, period, end of story. Even though open-pit barbecues are the problem and not gas or electric grills.
Just because a driver drinks and hits somebody does not mean cars and alcohol are forbidden. You simply make a law that drinking too much and driving is illegal. The way you could say, don't leave your house with your barbecue lighted. You don't stop everybody from searing their lamb chops. Ten feet brings the barbecue right into the planter boxes on the patios. For an HOA to do this in a drought-ridden beach community is practically sacrosanct. I mean, the electric company along with wind whipped up the Thomas blaze and electricity equipment is not banned. You have to put your thinking caps on to find a way to rectify this, otherwise the buzz on Nextdoor will not quit.
To set the barbecue back 6 feet might work to help prevent fires, but that would take the barbecue off the balcony and move it to the patio. Most of the patios are downstairs and the kitchens are upstairs. So who wants to schlep their pork chops down two flights and through the guest room? You could roll the barbecue onto the grass and make a 'cue party on the street, like they do in Puerto Rico. But then you might have to share skewers with strangers, something Americans are unaccustomed to.
Barbecuing is a summer ritual all over the world. When visiting friends in Germany, we sat outside on the patio overlooking the ancient rooftops drinking local white wine and grilling turkey legs. It is food of the gods, complete with saucy blackened edges. Sometimes stupid people ruin it for everyone. Think about that next time you are tempted to drink that fourth beer and drive away with your charcoal barbecue still lit.