New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 6, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. 148, No. 229 18 pgs. in 2 sections October 6, 1999
Serving Comal County since 1852
Football bet: Sausage vs. pecans
Put up your dukes and let’s get down to it: Seguin Mayor Mark Stautzenberger and New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams look as if they are ready for Friday’s big game between the New Braunfels Unicorns and Seguin Matadors.
‘Rival’ mayors make friendly wager on Friday’s game
By Bill O’Connell Sports Editor
SEGUIN — There’s a lot riding on Friday’s game between the Seguin Matadors and New Braunfels Unicorns.
Both teams were 3-2 during the non-district season that concluded this past weekend, and they are hopeful of starting District 14-5 A play with a victory.
Then there’s the fact the Seguin-New Braunfels rivalry is the longest-running series in Texas high school football.
On top of all that, this year’s contest also will determine the outcome of a friendly wager between the mayors of both communities.
Seguin Mayor Mark Stautzenberger and New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams met at Seguin City Hall Tuesday to make Friday’s game a little more interesting
- Stautzenberger put a few
pounds of locally-grown pecans on the line, betting Seguin finally would end a nearly 20-year losing streak to the Unicorns.
Williams wagered a box of sausage from a New Braun-fels-area smokehouse. Handing out “God Bless Texas” bumper stickers and offering members of the press samples of Guadalupe County pecans, Stautzenberger sounded upbeat about Seguin’s
New Braunfels (3-2) at Seguin (3-2), 7:15 Friday Radio:
KGNB (1420 AM)
P&Z stalls auto store plans — for awhile
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer
New Braunfels Planning Commission postponed a decision Tuesday on a special use permit for an auto supply retail store on Business 35 after neighbors and city staff voiced concern.
During a public meeting on the proposed zoning change, four citizens expressed disapproval of the project, citing concerns about drainage, increased traffic and noise and a negative impact on the quality of life.
City staff also expressed reservations about drainage issues as well plans to preserve trees.
Chuck Mitchell, who said he was representing the applicants, told the commission he would be happy to work with the city.
Currently, the lots at 490 S. Business 35 and 890 Academy are zoned for R-3 Multi-Family and C-3 Commercial, which do not provide for businesses such as an auto supply retail store.
But Hi-Lo Auto Supply, L.P. wants to change that.
“There’s a lot of uses that could be here that the neighbors would like less than what we’re proposing,” Mitchell said.
Despite this, the city received 13 letters objecting to the zoning change and only three in support.
Fem Higginbotham, who owns four nearby lots, said she “strongly objected” to the special use permit.
“Of all the places in town they could have picked — I think they chose the wrong place," she said.
Higginbotham said she was concerned about increased traffic, additional water draining onto her property and the lights in the parking lot flooding into her bedroom window at night.
Neighbor Mary Ann Van Ham said she was more concerned about quality of life issues.
“Moving that residential lot to commercial is what concerns me,” she said. “We fear the encroachment of businesses into our neighborhood. This is the start of that process. We want to keep the integrity of our neighborhood solid and that takes a lot of work.”
Mitchell said the company would work with the city on drainage issues and lighting wouldn’t be a problem.
“The fence will block it,” he said. “The light will only shine on the parking lot.”
Commissioners asked Mitchell to provide more information on several issues:
• the exact appearance of the building;
• the size of delivery trucks and when they would deliver merchandise;
• the possibility of reducing the height of the sign (a proposed 25 feet tall); and
• revised plans for drainage and tree preservation.
Commissioners agreed to table the matter until
more information was provided.
Commission chairman John Dierksen said, “Its not a pretty site the way it is. I’d like to see it changed, but I don’t know if this is the right one.”
In other action Tuesday, commissioners decided to recommend a special use permit for a 14-unit bed and breakfast at till Gruene Road — also given approval by the Gruene Homeowner’s Association.
Proprietors Richard and June Horridge of Houston said they planned to live at the property. Richard told commissioners the bed and breakfast was “their dream.”
Key Code 76
Attorney, FOI: ‘Competitive matters’ issue sets bad precedent
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
New Braunfels Utilities trustees might have the authority to discuss matters they deem competitive behind closed doors, but they can choose to keep those doors open to the public.
“They can err on the side of openness,” Houston attorney Charlie Daughtry said. “And I would encourage them to do so.”
Daughtry said a resolution approved recently by NBU allowing the board to discuss certain matters in closed session — and the new state law that gives it die authority to do so — set a dangerous precedent.
Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio,
‘7 think its a recipe for disaster to have a governmental body decide for itself what should be
open."Charles Daughtry Houston attorney
who helped write the legislation, says it made “good common sense” and leveled the playing field between private and public utilities for “fair competition.”
NBU’s resolution was made possible by the electricity deregulation bill approved by the Texas Legislature earlier this year.
Under Senate Bill 7, investor-owned utilities are forced into competition by Jan. I, 2002. Municipal-owned utilities such as NBU, however, have the choice whether to open the market for competition.
The bill and NBU’s resolution allow the board to decide in closed session whether a matter is “competitive.” If the majority of the board agrees the issue is competitive, it can treat the information as confidential and discuss it in closed session.
The information cannot be kept confidential from New Braunfels City Council, who governs NBU Council also can learn about the information in executive session, city attorney Floyd Akers said.
But the public, including customers, poten
tial competitors and the media, would not have access to the information, except for a general description of the matter discussed.
Daughtry said, “I think it’s a recipe for disaster to have a governmental body decide for itself what should be open.”
Officials with the Freedom of Information Foundation also are concerned.
Foundation president Rob Wiley said the foundation would be watching closely for any abuses and consider lobbying for changes during the next legislative session.
“It’s always troubled us,” Wiley said. “We recognize the potential for abuse here.”
The broad definition of “competitive mat-See FOI/3A
Comal dam work to begin this month
From staff reports
The Lower Colorado River Authority will begin major repairs later this month on the Comal Dam, the structure that forms Landa Lake in Landa Park.
LCRA’s contractor, C.C. Carlton Industries, Ltd., of Austin, could begin work as early as Friday, stabilizing erosion around the dam and reinforcing it with a rock berm overlaid with concrete blocks.
Hie work, estimated to cost $317,000, should be completed by next spring, LCRA officials said.
The refurbished Comal Dam will be the same height as the existing structure.
“The repair work may occasionally cloud the water around the work area and downstream,” said John Gosdin, LCRA manager of parks and conservation services. “The cloudiness will dissipate within a few hours. It should not affect the aquatic life in Landa Lake or the Comal River.”
Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, have reviewed and approved LCRA’s work plan and will monitor the repair work, Gosdin said.
The dam is on the north comer of the old Comal Plant site.
LCRA built the dam in the 1950s to supply spring-fed water for the power plant’s operations. The other side of the dam impounds and controls the elevation of Landa Lake.
Repairs on the Comal Dam will begin as LCRA completes its remediation of the Comal Power Plant. LCRA shut down the aging plant in 1974. During the past decade, LCRA has worked to clean up the site as officials consider possible uses for the building and land, including a destination hotel.
Man swings, lands headfirst in shallow Guadalupe
New Braunfels Fire and Rescue personnel lift an Austin man to an ambulance after he reportedly fell headfirst into the Guadalupe River and struck his head on the bottom.
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer
A 32-year-old Austin man who hit his head on the Guadalupe River bottom was transported by helicopter from Gruene Tuesday afternoon.
New Braunfels Fire and Rescue Chief Jack Collier said the man might have suffered trauma to his spinal cord.
Friends of the man said he came off a rope swing headfirst and landed in a foot and one-half of water.
The group of seven were tubing down the river and stopped on the shores off River Terrace, south of Loop 337, to use the swing about 5 p.m.
One of the friends used a neighbor’s phone to call 9-1-1 after the
New Braunfels Fire and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services officials used a raft to float the victim across the river.
The victim, whose name was being withheld until family was contacted, was transported to University Hospital in San Antonio by an Air Life helicopter.
Collier said he didn’t think alcohol was involved.