New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 8, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung g Sunday, June 8, 1997 Q 3A
San Antonio border inches toward Comal County
By DENISE DZIUK
Tranquilizer guns safer for the criminals than for police
DEAR ABBY: Recently here in the Santa Rosa area, a police officer shot and killed a man who was behaving in an irrational manner. He was advancing toward the officer with a wooden bar in his hand.
A few weeks ago, a man was killed at a service station because he attacked a police officer with a screwdriver.
Abby, I think I have a way for the police to protect themselves without killing anybody if they feel threatened.
I have always enjoyed “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” When they have shown episodes where they were checking on the health of a potentially dangerous creature such as an elephant, rhino, etc., they shot the creature with a tranquilizer before approaching it!
It seems to me that having a tranquilizer gun in his hand instead of a .357-caliber Magnum would give the police the means to gain control of an incident and allow everyone to go home to their families without being in a coffin.
Why can’t the police use a tranquilizer gun in cases where they feel threatened?
WAYNE IN SANTA ROSA, CALIF.
DEAR WAYNE: That’s an interesting question, and one that I took to James Butts, chief of police in Santa Monica, Calif., who responded; “Tranquilizing agents don't affect everyone uniformly. Therefore you cannot predict whether or not you have a sufficient dose to tranquilize the individual.
“Second, any tranquilizer Will tike time to enter the bloodstream abd sedate the individual, lf someone is advancing on you with a deadly weapon or a threatening object, there’s no way a tranquilizer would take effect in the two to three seconds it would take someone to seriously injure you.”
An increasing number of residents are leaving city life in San Antonio and Austin for life in Comal County, and the county already is feeling the growing pains of providing services for these new residents.
County Commissioner Danny Scheel, whose precinct includes the expanding Bulverde and Spring Branch areas, said in the past 60 days, the county has approved plats for three subdivisions. These developments will have lots for 591 new homes. Scheel said more subdivisions are on the horizon.
“We hear comments of more where people are just talking right now,” he said. “We’re definitely growing.”
Anyone wanting to plat a piece of property or drill a septic tank in the county must go through County Engineer Tom Homseth’s office. Homseth said his office is receiving paperwork for roughly 80 permits a month, which averages to about 200 new residents in the county each month. Most of these new residents move to the Bulverde and Spring Branch area, he said.
Tax Assessor/Collector Gloria Clennan said her office has seen an increase as well. She said that in the past two years, there has been an increase of 25 to 30 percent in all activities in her office.
Why move to Comal County?
Many of the people moving to Scheel’s precinct are trying to escape the city of San Antonio, the commissioner explained. However, he said, unless residents do something to manage the growth, residents could end up in the exact situation they left.
“People are moving to the county or the Bulverde area in particular to get out of the confines of the San Antonio area, but if they don’t
‘My understanding is the next extension (of the San Antonio Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) will put the line north of 46.’
— County Commissioner Danny Scheel
incorporate in the next few years, they will be annexed and end up right back in the confines of San Antonio,” Scheel said. “My understanding is the next extension (of the San Antonio Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) will put the line north of (Texas) 46.”
County Judge Carter Casteel said people also are drawn to Comal County because of the quality of life. However, as the county grows it will be harder to maintain those attractive qualities, she said.
“We have a very desirable area and people want to live here,” Casteel said. “I think we have to work very hard at preserving the heritage, ambiance and culture. All of those are things we have to work at.”
Effects of Growth
With all the growth, the county is sure to feel the effects, county leaders say.
One of the big issues for the growing Bulverde and Spring Branch area is water. Residents currently get their water from the Trinity Aquifer, and Scheel said some residents feel the growth could cause a water shortage.
County Commissioner Jack Dawson, who represents the Canyon Lake area, said the water issue could be addressed with plans to construct a pipeline in the western portion of the county to supply water to residents. Dawson said if the pipeline was built, even more people would move to the area.
“By the year 2000, I think we’re going to see an interesting statistic," Dawson said.
The pipeline could mean houses will be closer together and denser
than they currently are, Scheel observed. Hornseth said under county regulations, new developments using a public water source could use smaller lots.
Another issue plaguing the area is transportation. Scheel said his constituents contact him regularly regarding intersections with U.S. 281 that are considered dangerous because of location, land features and drivers’ speed. Although the county does not have control over the highway, the court does work closely with the Texas Department of Transportation to get issues addressed.
Another area the commissioners court is looking to stay ahead of the growth curve is emergency and fire services. Scheel said the goal is to make sure the county residents are adequately covered in the future.
“I think we’re fairly well covered now, but I think with the growth we’re going to see in a few years we’ll be inadequate,” Scheel said.
Dawson, who chairs a county-appointed committee looking into services, said the group will have to analyze locations, personnel numbers and equipment, and determine what increases are needed.
Finding the Funds
The growing population taxes the county’s infrastructure, Casteel said, including roads, water and county services.
At least a year lapses between the time a home is built to the time the resident pays taxes on it, Scheel said, meaning the county is having to expand its services without an expansion in revenue.
City Council to consider holiday lighting display for Cypress Bend
By ABE LEVY
The City Council is planning to consider forming a committee to oversee a proposed holiday lighting project in Cypress Bend Park at its rcgblar meeting Mbhddy. i Therogoimittee’s chair would be Anna Lee Hicks who has bedn instrumental in studying the project
for the city, said Mayor Jan Kennady.
Hicks has contacted eight people who have indicated they would accept a position on the proposed committee, Kennady said.
City staff members already have sent out a request for bids to build the lighting display in the park that the city will consider leasing or buying, city officials silt!. lf plans go smoothly, city officials
said they hope to offer the display after Wurstfest in early November and continue to Jan. I of 1998.
The cost of the project is estimated at about $277,000 and is expected to bring in about $21,000 in profits the first year. Subsequent years could bring in upwards of $100,000 to the city while providing a winter holiday activity for local and statewide residents, city officials said.
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“We know we’re going to be in a bind this year already with our budget trying to fund everything that needs funding,” he said.
Dawson sent a letter to the legislature this past session to try to get lawmakers to address the problem. Although nothing was done, he said he will try again during the next session.
His proposal is for legislators to develop an impact fee. Dawson said developers then would have to pay fees that would help cover the cost of expanded services.
“That would cover the lag time,” Dawson said. “We have to pay for 15 months of growth right now before we see any income from it, and that’s difficult.”
The Up Side of the Growth Trend
Despite the negative points to growth, there are also positive results, Casteel commented. More families moving into the county increase the tax base, so taxes are being spread among more property owners. She said it also helps families remain close.
“It’s good to know kids can move back home after they finish school and find a job and a place to live,” Casteel said.
Even though the numbers seem to
be skyrocketing, the commissioners and the judge said they believe they eventually will level off.
“The growth will eventually slow down,” Scheel said. “Not in the next five to IO years, but eventually it will slow down.”
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