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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 11, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Local officials give TxDOT a lot to think about Friday, November 11, 2005 — Herald-Zeitung — Pa|e 5A Tis the season By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — Local officials who met with planners for the Texas Department of Transportation to discuss road project priorities expressed concerns Wednesday about heavy traffic and what’s being done to address it. The meeting, conducted at the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative, is part of TxDOT’s annual Transportation Improvement Program, which state officials use to plan road improvements over the next three to five years. About 25 people — all but a very few local city and county officials from Comal and Kendall counties — attended the annual meeting, which was hosted by TxDOT New Braunfels Area Engineer Greg Malatek. “We’ve done these meetings for a long time,” Malatek said. “It’s basically to give direction to TxDOT on projects in the district.” Malatek heard concerns from local officials during a prolonged question-and-answer period. Bulverde Mayor Sarah Ste-vick commented on the extent of growth her community is seeing and the level of traffic she expects it to bring. HYDRANTS CONTINUED FROM Page 1A Bulverde, Spring Branch impacted The issue came up in August when Apex Water Services president David Wallace sent letters to the rural fire departments in Bulverde and Spring Branch warning them that a number of subdivisions it serves through the Diamond Water Co. and Water Services Inc. don’t really have hydrants. The problem is a big one for rural firefighters who must truck water around with them — a problem that soon could cost the Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department a quarter-million dollars for a new, 3,000-gallon tanker truck the department is considering purchasing. Affected subdivisions include Rimrock Ranch, Windmill Ranch/Kestral Airpark and Oak Village North. “(Texas Commission on Environment Quality) public drinking water rules require that the systems have appropriate valving to allow the water mains to be flushed under conditions prescribed by those rules," Wallace wrote. “In some of the subdivisions, our metal flush valves resemble and are often confused with the typical metal fire hydrant installed by municipal water systems for fire fighting.” Wallace warned the fire chiefs in the Aug. 9 letter that they could use the water only on condition that they understood Apex made no promise it would be provided in pressures that support firefighting — and that the fire department would be liable for any damage to the water system caused by use of a flush valve for firefighting. “It is important that the fire departments fully understand these conditions ... because the untrained or inexperienced operation of a water system valve can damage expensive service pumps and water mains through uncontrolled pressure changes,” Wallace wrote. Bulverde Fire Chief Charlie Ivy said his department would not risk the liability of using the flush valves — even though they have in the past and routinely tested them for Apex and other water purveyors. “Really, we can’t use any of those hydrants,” Ivy said. “He said we could use them to fill our trucks. If we do and they’re messed up, we have to pay for whatever damage was done that they say we Bulverde Mayor Sarah Stevick “We can see the dust and hear the hooves, but we just can’t see the cattle coming,” Stevick said. “We have major growth coming, and we’re concerned about what needs to be done to be able to handle it. We’re looking at doubling in size in three to five years. If the improvements don’t come for IO years, that's not going to work.” Stevick said she hoped planning would go on before it was too late to plan — and that TxDOT would get back to Bulverde with right-of-way needs so the city could begin planning to pay its IO percent of its costs with as little impact on taxpayers as possible. “We’re very concerned about the Texas 46 expansion project and the future Johnson Ranch, which may be coming in with 800 houses. If you add 800 homes and an elementary school on FM 1863, you almost have to go to four lanes,” Stevick said. Another concern, she said, would be access to the new Home Depot store being built at U.S. 281 and Texas 46. Malatek told her traffic studies would be addressing “I don't want residents in this county thinking they're protected by a ore hydrant when, in fact, they're flush valves and the water company won't let tile fire department draw water from what looks like a fire hydrant." — Jay Minikin County commissioner did. My board said, ‘Well, it’s best we don’t use these hydrants right now.’” The question came up after his department tested some hydrants that didn’t work. They bagged them and notified Apex, Ivy said. “He said, ‘They’re not hydrants; they’re flush valves,’” Ivy said. “It’s a bad deal all the way around for the homeowners because they might think they have a hydrant in front of their house, and we can’t use it. That’s irritating to the public.” Ivy said Apex and other rural water companies should notify the public that the flush valves are not for fire suppression. “People need to know about this,” Ivy said. “Some folks bought lots with the hydrant right there, thinking they’d have better insurance rates. At least put signs up going into subdivisions that these hydrants are not for fire suppression.” That’s Minikins concern — that residents who think they live near fire hydrants don’t realize that they don’t, and that the fire department might not be able to hook into the flush valve at all. “I don’t want residents in this county thinking they’re protected by a fire hydrant when, in fact, they’re flush valves and the water company wont let the fire department draw water from what looks like a fire hydrant,” Mil-likin said. Apex attorney Mark Zep-pa said customers of rural water companies sign a statement of service agreement that lists the limitations of the system, including for fire protection. “If it’s not inside a city, the odds are 9-to-l that it’s not a fire hydrant,” Zeppa said. “You can pump water through it, but does it meet the state criteria for fire flows? No.” To get that kind of flow in a rural system would increase its cost three or four times, Zeppa said. “That really affects rates,” he said. the issues — and that TxDOT would support Bulverde on whatever it feels is needed at Home Depot. Comal County Surveyor Steve Schultz, who heads the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee, listed the Chamber’s priorities, which included the bridge at Gruene and the railroad overpasses on Seguin Avenue. Schultz also mentioned projects on FM 725 and FM 1044. He said he hoped TxDOT would do route studies on FM 725, if nothing else. “FM 1044 is another project that’s been around about 15 years. We hope we’ll see alignments,” Schultz said. “Comal Independent School District is looking at a school out there.” On FM 306, Schultz said, traffic is often backed up behind trains at the two crossings. Business 46 and Loop 337 also merit TxDOT’s attention, Schultz said. “Traffic backs up on Walnut Avenue from Landa Street to Loop 337,” Schultz said. Comal County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin asked that a project being coordinated with the city of Schertz on FM 3009 between FM 2252 and Interstate 35 proceed at the fastest rate possible. “I want to make sure TxDOT doesn’t lose sight of the needed upgrades on FM 3009,” Minikin said. Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawson asked that a new study be commissioned to establish whether the intersection of Canyon Bend and FM 2673 met federal standards for a traffic signal. In 1999, the intersection was studied and didn’t meet the requirements, Dawson said. County Engineer Tom Hornseth presented the county’s other priorities, listed in a proclamation by commissioners’ court. Those include realigning and widening Texas 46 and U.S. 281, a study of a much talked-about outer loop around New Braunfels, the improvements to FM 306, a bridge on the Guadalupe {fiver at Rebecca Creek Road and improvements to FM 1863. aw. 5 JJS P.*    .**•» fr VY7 •5* rf .. •: • • V / • :* s*.-.    <v- .• ,\ y • . ,v •• ^ «V*;? • ♦V v ‘ : ;. DAVID INGRAM/Herald Zeitung People gather around the Hope HospiceTree of Lights as the last strands twinkle on at the Marketplace Thursday evening.The annual tree lighting is held to honor and remember loved ones and friends in the community. BEALLS FRIDAY THRU SUNDAY! 50% OF RALPH LAUREN* POLO JEANS CO.' SHOE S Men’s "Keystone” leather slip-on. Reg. 90.00, SALE 44.50. 30%- 50% OF JUNIORS COLLECTIONS U.S. Polo Assn.* and South Pole* w sportswear. Reg. 22.00-52.00, SALE 10.90-36.40. SAVE 30°/o-50°/o STOREWIDE! SWEATERS FOR HIM From Sun River’, Dockers', Ferruche and more. Orig. 28.00-55.00 SALE 13.98-26.9, SSIS (WEAR Erik ' and*Cap< it/’. Reg. 16.0 -66.00, SAU 9.6 -33.60. 30% OF MEN’S CHAPS SPORTSWEAR Knit and woven shirts, sweaters, pants, more. Reg. 32.50-59.50, SALE 21.99-41.65. 50% OF MISSES KNIT TEES Great styles by Rebecca Malone and Hannah . Reg. 18.00, SALE 9.00. 30-50% OF 40% OF KIDS SEPARATES & SETS Infants, boys 2T-20 and girls 2T-16 styles. Reg. 4.00-70.00, SALE 2.80-42.00. ‘Excludes Tommy Hilfiger and value priced items. SALE 15.99 ALL PLAYTEX BOXED BRAS Entire stock Comfort strap, underwire, lace and more styles. Reg. 20.00-28.00. ALL PLUS-SIZE SPORTSWEAR From Sag Harbor, Joanna, Quiz and more. Reg. 18.00-66.00, SALE 10.80-39 60. 60% OF ENTIRE STOCK FINE JEWELRY Gold, sterling silver and vermeil, 18K gold over sterling silver. BUY GET .’ 50% OF 50% OF ALL SHOES FOR THE FAMILY Hus, EXTRA 10% OFF. Reg. 35.00-80.00. ‘2nd pair must be of equal or lesser value Excludes Polo , NIKE "Impax" & "Air Force" HOLIDAY HOME DECOR Nativities, ceramics, floral and more. Reg. 3.99-119.99, SALE 1.99-59.99. Interim markdowns may have been taken Entire stocks only where indicated. Selection may vary by store. 10% OFF ALL DAY! + Bonus F’omts towards VIP status when you open a new account. Subject to credit approval E-ALERTS! Receive advance notice of sales. Sign up at IAP COURTYARD SHOPPING CfflTffl, NEW BRAUV08, TX • 830-625-9121 • MONDAY-SATUBDAY: IO AM-9 PM, SUNDAY: 12 NOON • 6 PM GIFT CARDS! Order at In all stores, or order toll-free I -877-737-8243 ;