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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 1, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas VIV NEWdltiriwFELS 20332. NO09 10/22/99    72 SO - WI ST ti IC RO PU BL I SH ING 2627 E VONDELL DR EL PRSO, TX 79903-Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 160    14    pages    in    I    section July I, 1999 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsIngram plant gets TNRCC approval Company officials ‘pleased’ with decision; opponents plan to file re-hearing motion By Heather Todd Staff Writer AUSTIN — The state’s top environmental agency unanimously gave Ingram Readymix Company final approval on Wednesday to build a concrete batch plant off U.S. 281 and Texas 46. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission approved Ingram’s appli cation for a standard exemption, granting the franchise authorization to build a second plant in Comal County. Ingram Readymix currently lies a concrete batch plant off old Highway 81 West. The proposed plant site is in the Spring Branch and Smithson Valley area — several miles west of U.S. 281 and Texas 46. The commissioners’ decision was yet another round in an ongoing feud between Ingram and a band of Bulverde residents, city officials and school board members. Comal Independent School District, Citizens League for Environmental Action Now, the city of Bulverde and Comal Area League of Women Voters opposed the site because of its proximity to local schools. CISD officials said about 2,500 students attended school near the plant site. Ingram Readymix cannot begin construction on the new plant until the commissioners’ order is final. Commissioner chairman Robert J. Hus ton said the protestants had 20 days to file a motion for a re-hearing, plus a 10-day response period. Commissioners then have 15 days to respond to the motion. If they do not take action, the order becomes final. Kip McClinchie said CLEAN planned to file a motion for a re-hearing. Gary Johnson, vice president of Ingram Readymix, said, “We’re very pleased. I think we’ve proved our case. We’ve done all we can to address their concerns, and I think the decision proves that.”See INGRAM/3 Warrant issued for hit-and-run suspect Police impound car; driver remains at large By Chris Crews Staff Writer New Braunfels Police impounded shindy aller 6 p.m. Wednesday a 1987 Acura which they believe was the car that struck and killed a 78-year-old New Braunfels man on Monday night. Police issued an arrest warrant for Jesse Gomez, 38, of New Braunfels. Officials said they believed Gomez owned and drove the vehicle that struck and killed Ray Biggadike as he crossed Business 35 near Avenue A on a battery-powered scooter about 9:53 p.m. Monday. Police arrived at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday at a residence where the car was parked in the 1600 block of Bridge Street. They had a search warrant for the car and an arrest warrant signed by County Court-at-Law Judge Brenda Freeman. The vehicle, with significant damage to the right front fender, hood, bumper and lights, was found in a two-car garage behind the residence. Officers doing surveillance before the warrant was obtained said a man fitting Gomez’ description left a residence shortly before the warrant arrived. Officials said Gomez’ residence is next to the one w here the car was impounded. Residents at the home where the car was found declined comment on why the car was parked in their garage. The arrest warrant was for failure to stop and render aid. Police said they had no other suspects. Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldnp said the offense was not classified as a felony but fit into a special category', punishable by a prison term no longer than five years. Lt. John Wommack of the New Braunfels Police Department said he expected to arrest Gomez “shortly.” “We don’t know where tire subject is right now, but we have been contacted by his attorney and the attorney said he would bring him in (today),’’ Wommack said. New Braunfels Police, C omal County Sheriffs Office and the Criminal District Attorney’s Off ice See WARRANT^ New Braunfels a big part of population boom in TexasCity experiences growth of 34 percent since 1990 By Heather Todd and Chris Crews Staff Writers In a decade that saw Texas pass New York to become the nation Is second most populous state behind California, New Braunfels was among IOO cities that led the boom. Population figures released Wednesday showed New Braunfels grew by about 34 percent since 1990, ranking 40th among 109 Texas cities with at least 8 percent growth between 1990 and 1998. The growth rate of 33.6 percent represents a 3.73 annual increase. Cities like New Braunfels — which sits at 33,906 — made up 77.5 percent of the 892 cities experiencing double-digit growth. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau indicated cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 grew faster — at 8.6 percent — than any other population category. Michael Meek, president of the Greater New Braunfels C hamber of Commerce, Inc., said the figures showed the population would not increase as rapidly as some predicted. “If you extrapolate these percentages out to the year 2020, our population will be a far cry from the 107,000 predicted in the comprehensive plan. Our population will be about 8L000,” he said. At these rates, New Braunfels would reach the 40,000 population mark in 2001, the 50,000 mark in 2007 and the 60,000 mark in 2012. The city will have 70,000 residents by 2016, he said. The Comprehensive Flan Committee used a base growth rate of about 5 percent annually, compared to the 3.73 figure calculated MEEK by the Census Bureau, New Braunfels City Manager Mike Shands said. The comprehensive plan estimates a population of 45,975 by 2000, 70,655 by 2010 and 107,694 by 2020. Shands said the city had to balance growth w ith economic realities. “We’ve got to try to keep pace with growth knowing the community wants a conservative economic approach, meaning keeping taxes low,” he said. Shands said the city’s budget increased between 3 and 4 percent annually between 1994 and 1998, roughly matching the 3.73 annual population growth. Inside Abby............................. .........5 | Classifieds................... .11-14 Comics........................ ......10 Crossword ........5 Forum......................... 6 Local/Metro................. 4 : Movies......................... ........5 Obituaries............ ........3 Sports......................... .. .7-9 Today......................... ........2 Television................... .....10 www .herald-zeitung com Key code 76 HEATHER TODD/Herald-Zeitung Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission members discuss Ingram Readymix Company’s application for a standard exemption on Wednesday. Getting over the underpass Plans to widen two-lane section of Seguin Avenue rank high on priority list PERI STONE/Herald-Zeitung Planned expansion to the Seguin Avenue underpass will affect eight buildings and 15 parcels of land, including the home of Mary Rosales at 853 Seguin. “We’re moving soon,” Rosales said, “by August or September.” The project won’t open for bids until September 2000. Eight buildings and 15 parcels of land will be affected by the construction. TxDOT has made offers on three of the 15 parcels of land based on “fair market value,” Malatek said. lf homeowners won’t sell the land for the price offered, they can request a condemnation hearing in which a mediator helps the two parties reach a mutual agreement. This process could hold up the project, depending on how long it takes, Malatek said. If homeow ners do accept the agreement, TxDOT seeks out several choices of homes and See UNDERPASS/3 By Peri Stone Staff Writer Traffic solutions sure don’t come easy. The Texas Department of Transportation has plans to alleviate some of the challenges on Seguin Avenue, one of the major crossways through town, but riot without closing the road and asking eight homeowners to move. The plan is to raise and widen the two-lane Seguin Avenue underpass to four lanes by taking out the existing bridge and putting in a new concrete structure. The project is rated as the fourth highest priority in the city’s master plan. Makes sense: the underpass is about three blocks north of Interstate 35, and the U.S. Post Office is two Part of a series buildings north. on the roads we drive ®u* ^lc c‘*y won * participate in funding of the project. Federal money will fund 80 percent and state money will fund the other 20 percent. Because the project could take 18 months or more, motorists traveling on Seguin from Interstate 35 to downtown and beyond will need to find an alternate route for about nine months. The traffic likely w ill be diverted to Castell Street, a mostly residential street that runs parallel to Seguin. TxDOT won’t open the project for bids until September 2000 at the earliest, depending on how swiftly the agency acquires right-of-way. “(That) is our biggest challenge,” TxDOT resident engineer Greg Malatek said. But some homeowner already are prepared. “We’re moving soon,” Mary Rosales said, “by August or September.” Once she moves, her home at 853 Seguin Ave. will be demolished to make way for the traffic that swishes past her home — or chugs at a snail’s pace, depending on the time of day. ;