AUSTIN (KXAN) — City of Austin officials said they are working on a “path forward” for Nixta Taqueria amid permitting issues identified at the restaurant, according to a city memo released Monday.

KXAN reached out to Nixta Taqueria and business owners said they hoped to be able to give more clarity on the process once they know more.

City leaders said in the memo there are “life safety and permitting challenges” at the restaurant, located at 2512 E. 12th St. On Aug. 16, an Austin Energy high heat alarm was triggered due to an electric meter overheating at the restaurant, per the memo. The building is divvied up into two suites, using two meters.

“The AE technician found burned wires on the business owners’ side of the meter and determined that the business was using too much amperage,” the memo read in part. “This presents a severe risk of fire or explosion and a threat to public safety. Therefore, AE disabled one of the meters and left a Notice of Electrical Hazard with the business owner.”

The memo said Nixta Taqueria’s owners submitted an electric permit application to upgrade the restaurant’s service. AE didn’t approve the application “due to discrepancies with the information submitted,” per the release.

Some of the discrepancies cited in the memo included amperage requirements not being consistent with the submitted diagrams.

Staff with the City of Austin’s Development Services Department met with the business owners on site, with the city’s chief building official identifying the following “life safety concerns” during the visit:

  • Structural integrity of the building’s roof threatened due to “three unpermitted air conditioning (AC) units” located on the building’s roof
  • Overload of the building’s electrical system due to the AC units and other electrical components added outside the building, such as a lighting system, ceiling fans and outlets
  • Fire safety due to outdoor expansion: Officials said the roof was extended to build “an unpermitted outdoor area,” with the meters enclosed under the roof extension

DSD staff and Austin Fire Department personnel met with Nixta Taqueria’s owners on Monday to discuss next steps, per the memo. Those conversations entailed how to meet building safety regulations and resume operations.

Staff walked the entire property with the business owners and their architect who is developing architectural plans and a structural analysis of the building’s roof and outdoor areas. The business owners are hiring a surveyor to begin the work needed for a site plan, as well as an engineer to perform load calculations and design a new electrical service for the property. The load calculation and necessary documentation detailing the electrical requirements of the building will be reviewed by Austin Energy to ensure electric service levels meet the property’s needs. The City’s team is also analyzing the unpermitted work and developing a prioritization of the work based on the life/safety risks. Once the architectural plans and analyses are submitted, a cross-departmental team will review building plan submittals and conduct related inspections.

City of Austin’s Aug. 28, 2023 memo on “Life Safety and Permitting Issues at Nixta Taqueria”