New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 16, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
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That Old Feeling
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From Page 1
with lively discussion on the topic of attracting new industries and residential growth versus protecting :the quality of life.
* “We had people who felt that anything that created a job was great and those w ho wanted to close the city off and build a wall,” said Ron Patterson. San Marcos planning director, who along with one other full-time staff member assisted with the Master Plan project.
To break down the project into more manageable pieces, the 55-membeT group separated into six focus groups to explore transportation, community' growth and land use. economic development, natural and cultural resources, community’ facilities and the town center.
Before focus group meetings 1 began, the city staff asked soulsearching questions about the city’s identity and philosophy for quality of life that provided a basis for the rest of the talks.
After the subcommittees met and formed recommendations, the entire group reconvened to discuss what findings to include in the plan.
That’s where lively remarks ran as free as the salary for serving on the committee, Patterson said.
“Sometimes (the discussion) was a little hair-raising but it was always civil,” he said. “(Committee members) really looked at the large issues.”
The San Marcos plan won the top award from the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association in 1996, but city officials said they would have done a few things differently.
During some of the deliberations, committee members made requests for up-to-date statistics.
Patterson, who worked part time, only had one full-time staff member providing reports for the committee.
Because of budget constraints, Patterson said, the city was unable to pay for a consulting firm who could have supplied fresh information in an opportune moment.
Names in the news
ChristofMr Rittn gats star on Hollywood Boulevard
WW WW WVNw WW
LOS ANGELES (AP) — As an out-of-work actor 21 years ago, Christopher Reeve would stroll along Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame and dream of someday having a star of his own.
He received his star on Tuesday, and in an emotional ceremony spoke of his new dream.
“lf we keep giving our scientists the funds they need for research, I w ill take my family by the hand and I will stand here in front of my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” the “Superman" actor told fans who turned out for the unveiling.
Reeve, who was paralyzed in a 1995 horse-riding accident and is nursing a broken arm suffered when two attendants dropped him, appeared with his wife. Dana, and
Radford htidi to upttita New York for next film
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (AP) — There’s snow place like upstate New York for Robert Redford.
, , \ LZ i »
The actor said he chose Saratoga County to shoot scenes for his next film, “The Horse Whisperer,” because the snow was abundant.
“The weak winter knocked Connecticut and New York (City) out,” Redford said Monday as he took a break from shooting. “(Saratoga County) had the history we were looking for and probably just enough snow ”
“The Horse Whisperer” is based on a best-selling novel by Nicholas Evans.
Gristmill fire causes only limited damage
from stat! reports
Firefighters were called out to The Gristmill Restaurant late Tuesday night for a tire which caused slight damage to the eatery.
The New Braunfels Fire Department responded to the fire which occurred at about 11:28 p.m., <, aptam Wayne Rousseau said.
! “The fire started in construction
debris outside,” Rousseau said. “Since the pile was against the wall, the flames went up against the wall.”
The flames went up the 20 foot wall and caused little damage to the gable, or ends of the roof, Rousseau.
Employees discovered the fire and alerted authorities. The fire was extinguished immediately by firefighters.
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“We probably could have used a consultant,” he said. “We didn’t have the money and there were times we didn’t have as fresh information and we couldn’t supply (it) as quickly.” With 55 citizens on the committee ranging in age and background, group dynamics also played a part in the process.
“(The meetings) tended to be dominated by the folks who were more outgoing,” Patterson said. “There were those who were dying to talk in the committee. My job was to give those people a chance.”
While views were as diverse as the people on the committee, most agreed that the city should take an aggressive stand on extending its city limits - a perspective the city council hasn’t shared, Patterson said.
More recently, city council members have veered from the Master Plan and opted to take a more cautious approach that has resulted in small portions of land acquired voluntarily.
“(The San Marcos City Council) wants it to be a controlled method to
include the people being annexed rather than just appearing to just land-grab and add to the tax base,” Patterson said.
But, the committee’s feeling was that extending the boundaries was the best defense against uncontrolled development and would require zoning and traffic requests to pass through the toll bridge of the city council and the planning and zoning commission.
They envisioned nearby regions such as the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone being protected from development by including them in the city’s district.
Still, the process of deliberating on a Master Plan committee for any community results in long-term bonds of relationship that add to the city’s quality of life, San Marcos committee members said.
“We met some new people and we all had a good time,” said San Marcos Planning Committee member Linda Reese. “There was some lasting friendships from that.”
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By ABE LEVY
San Marcos residents enjoy their university, river and springs and they want to keep it that way, participants in their Master Plan committee said.
Nestled below the capital city of the Lone Star State. San Marcos was determined to retain a unique identity by embarking on an 18-month process of writing a Master Plan almost three years ago.
Toward that end, committee members wrote as their first
statement of vision in the plan, an assertion that the city keep its “small town charm for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors by carefully managing its growth and protecting its unique quality of life.”
The wording tiptoed around the community's love of uniqueness and commitment to maintain an open-door policy to visitors and new industries, said Ron Patterson, the city’s planning director who oversaw die Master Plan process.
“There was a lot of discussion chi
how do we maintain that sense of unique identity,” Patterson said. “We don't want to become a Smith Austin or North San Antonio. There was a lot of emphasis on that.”
Linda Reese, a committee member who facilitated the natural and cultural resources subcommittee, said San Marcos residents would rather control their own growth than feel the larger hand of the city of Austin.
“We do know that we are getting an influx of Austin residents,” said Reese, a retired real estate
saleswoman and expert gardener. “We feel that we can pretty much protect the growth from our end of the spectrum.”
Some New Braunfels residents said they share the San Marcos sentiment. Cathy Talcott moved from Dallas in 1992 to New Braunfels to enjoy the benefits of a smaller city.
The box-shaped buildings that continued to pop up across the Dallas area did not provide the same “warm, fuzzy feeling” of the houses and businesses in New Braunfels, she
Still, the councilwoman for District 5 said she’s alarmed at the number of buildings currently under construction here that remind her of what she left in Dallas.
“This is the first small town I’ve lived in since I was 5 years old. I saw the Dallas-Fort Worth area - filled with the towns in between - become one continuous city,” she said. “I’m concerned that San Antonio and Austin will become one continuous city so that it’s all alike. People come
here in order to rekindle the small town feeling that is no longer around in the big city.”
Talcott said one key to maintaining local identity is for architects to understand the uniqueness of the New Braunfels culture.
Talcott has urged city staff to try to incorporate that uniqueness in this city’s Master Plan process and in upcoming design plans for the new police station on FM 725 and the new library on Common Street.