New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 24, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2A — Herald Zeïtung — Sunday, April 24, 2011
House committee hears testimony on Edwards Aquifer pipeline bill
Mitchell Peterson browses alongside fellow customers Saturday during the New Braunfels Swap Meet at Comal County Fairgrounds.
Old, new auto parts offered at New Braunfels Swap Meet
By Megan Holt
Thousands of Texas shade-tree mechanics flocked to the Comal County Fairgrounds this weekend for the 19th annual New Braunfels Swap Meet.
Hosted hy New Braunfels Area Car Club (NBACC), the swap meet brought in more than 1,000 vendors, said Fred Willard, New Braunfels Swap Meet and Car Show cofounder.
Although a slimmer crowd than normal, probably due to the Easter weekend, many families attended the event Saturday to barter and trade vehicle parts and other items.
"People rebuilding or building cars come out here to buy hard to find parts,”
said Mike Haas, NBACC event chairman.
“This targets a popular genre and is a good place to find a lot of parts.”
Aisle after aisle, vendors displayed their car-related items to passing crowds. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and grandparents roamed the fairgrounds in search of great deals.
“I like to buy stuff and look for a good bargain,” said Jerry Henneke, Cat Spring resident.
“Money is tight, but there are still bargains out there. This is more of a hobby, but I always look for deals.” NBACC and the New Braunfels Rotary Club sponsored the first New Braunfels Swap Meet in 1992. Only 356 vendors attended, and 100
cars were entered in the Sunday Car and Truck Show, according to the NBACC website.
NBACC is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of antique, classic and special-interest automobiles and trucks that are 20 years or older.
Money made at the event is given to deserving students as scholarships.
Sold vendor spots and a percentage of parking sales are dedicated to six $1,000 scholarships awarded to students pursuing automotive related degrees at colleges and technical schools, Haas said. "Because we are a nonprofit, we wanted to give back to the community.
“This seemed like a good way to do it.”
By Greg Bowen
The House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony last week on House Bill 814, a water-transport bill backers say would boost springflows in New Braunfels’ Comal Springs.
The legislation would allow for consideration of the Southwest Texas Water Project, a $250 million pipeline that would allow farmers in Uvalde County to lease their water — water they are already per-mitted to pump — to surrounding communities, said Jeff Coyle, project spokesman.
A detailed scientific analysis finds that transporting 40,000 acre-feet per year from the Uvalde Pool to the San Anto-nio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer would increase water levels across the region, increase springflows in the environmentally-sensitive Comal and San Marcos springs and reduce the frequency and duration of mandatory water restrictions, Coyle said.
The project, which would diversify the region’s water supply by providing enough water to serve more than 100,000 families per year in Bexar and Medina counties, would be privately funded without the use of public tax dollars.
“This project makes sense both from a scientific and public policy perspective," said Velma Danielson, former Edwards Aquifer Authority general manager and a project consultant. "At a time when the region is looking to diversify its water portfolio, why not consider all options that can help put the region on a more secure path toward managing and protecting our region’s water supply?”
During testimony on Tuesday, bill author State Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, said, "There is science behind this bill. There is absolute science, and science and business and logic and common sense are what should win the day.”
The bill would create an exemption to an existing pipeline prohibition for
I Jvalde and Medina counties, the only two counties in the state where a water pipeline is prohibited.
The cities of San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos and Hondo enacted mandatory water restrictions last week, while the Uvalde l\x)l of the aquifer remains nearly ten feet above the trigger for restrictions,” said Rod Smith, president of Southwest Texas Water Resources. “So the time is right to have a discussion about better management of the region’s primary source of water.”
Testimony also was heard on a bill filed by state Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, that would provide state funding for wine and grape industry development.
Miller’s HB 3289 was discussed by the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee. The Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association has reported that all wine and grape industry development funding by the state was cut from the proposed budget by the legislature for the upcoming biennium.
“In an effort to regain some funding, the industry has worked with Representative Miller to draft and file (HB 3289),” said Dacota Haselwood, chief governmental affairs officer with the TWGGA.
State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, who represents New Braunfels, said this week that he co-authored SB 238 to strike a balance between a community's interest in maintaining consistent aesthetics and the freedom of individual homeowners to make sensible investments in clean energy.
The bill, which passed the Texas Senate on March 31, would amend current law relating to the regulation by a homeowners’ association of the installation of solar energy
devices. The device, if installed on the roof of a home, could not extend higher than the roofline and must conform to the slope of the roof. It also could be installed in a fenced yard or patio, but could not be taller than the fence line, the senator said.
Fourteen other bills relating to HOAs have been filed during the legislative session, Wentworth said.
HB 2253 would prohibit an HOA from adopting a restrictive covenant that requires a property owner to use an HOA-approved contractor for alteration, maintenance, or repair of the property owner's property.
HB 1278 would prohibit an HOA from adopting a restrictive covenant that prohibits a property owner from displaying on their own door a religious item expected to be displayed by a tenet of the owner’s religion.
HB 2779 would allow residents in an HOA to display the United States flag, the State of Texas flag, or an official replica flag of any branch of the United States armed forces. The HOA would be allowed to regulate the size of flags, and flagpoles could be no higher than 20 feet.
SB 142 would ensure the basic private property rights of individuals in HOAs, he said. It would change the law to require the disclosure of association bylaws prior to the purchase of a home and require adequate descriptions of fees and fines assessed against homeowners and the ability to cure any violations prior to legal enforcement actions by die HOA, he said.
It also would provide avenues of redress and redemption of property in case of foreclosure. SB 142 was passed in the Senate on April 5.
“As HOAs increase in number, so does the potential for abuse,” Wentworth said. “Existing laws do not provide adequate protections for homeowners. I am hopeful that these bills will become law and restore the rights of Texas homeowners.”
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