New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 14, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 10A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, October 14, 2000
He looked at that money and saw it as 12 homes that could be repaired. He ended up accepting, in an unpaid capacity, the job of volunteer coordinator.
“At the time, there weren’t that many homes (that needed repair),” he said. “What I thought was going to be a very simple job turned out to be a little over two years.”
In the two years since the flood, New Braunfels Rebounds has helped rebuild and repair flood damage to 84 homes. Another two homes are under construction and two more homes are waiting for their turn.
All the homes should be completed by December, according to information from New Braunfels Rebounds.
About 32,000 total volunteer hours have been donated to help New Braunfels Rebounds. During the months after the flood, many church groups and groups of students volunteered to help.
But as the months have gone by, the regular volunteers have trickled to just a handful.
But Humphreys is almost always at Phelps' side.
Humphreys did not work with New Braunfels Rebounds when it first formed. But he was at a church function one day in March when he saw Phelps and a couple of other men, fresh from working on a house.
“Man, they were dirty,” he said, laughing.
Phelps joined in the laughter, remembering that the house he was working on at that time was one of the dirtiest.
“We were filthy,” he said.
Humphreys asked the men what they were doing, and when they told him, he pledged to help.
“We’ve had a lot of people who said they would like to help but very few people show up,” Phelps said.
But Humphreys kept in his word and has continued keeping his word ever since.
The pair molded a friendship during their work together. Phelps said Humphreys tells his wife that they can’t take a vacation because Phelps needs him.
“It takes two people,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys and Phelps have
helped in disaster situations before. But Humphreys said shortly after he began working with New Braunfels Rebounds, he looked at all the work and wondered how it would get done.
During the past two years, Phelps has figured out how to approach the daunting amount of work.
“For me, it’s got to be just one house at a time,” he said.
Responsibility and commitment are what the two men said kept them going.
“We have a responsibility to our fellow man,” Humphreys said.
Phelps and Humphreys were working on a house on West Mill Street this week. The house was not under water during the flood, but water had gone under the house.
This past summer, the effects of the water under the house combined with the summer’s heat to cause the living room floor to buckle. Phelps and Humphreys replaced the floor and reminisced as they worked.
“I’m sure in some houses there are hammers buried in a wall,” Phelps said, explaining that they had somehow lost a number tools during the past two years.
The various volunteers who have worked for New Braunfels Rebounds have suffered more than 30 injuries, collectively, during the past two years.
Humphreys and Phelps had their share of those.
Humphreys once cracked several ribs. Phelps has a tom retina, a small chip in one of his ankles, a knee that must be repaired and wrist problems as a result of working with New. Braunfels Rebounds.
As their work draws to a close, they are quick to point to the many churches, businesses and individuals that helped the city recover from the flood.
Their work soon will be done, and they’re planning how they will then spend their time.
“I’ve got a yard that needs all kinds of work, a house that needs all kind of work,” Humphreys said.
And Phelps said, smiling, “I’ll stay busy. Don’t worry.”
tionnaires during the meeting for those present to mail back to NBGS with questions and comments. NBGS also has set up an e-mail address to receive comments: [email protected]
Mike Jaroszewski, president of NBGS, led a presentation on the proposed river walk, or Wasser Strasse, and water transportation system, called Transportainment. He also encouraged those present to provide input.
“This is what NBGS does, and quite honestly, it’s what Schlitter-bahn does,” he said. “We think we’ve got a good team working on it. However, the team includes you.”
The New Braunfels City Council recently approved a request from NBGS to develop a business plan for the proposed Wasser Strasse and Transportainment system. The public meetings are part of the process NBGS is using to develop the plan. The plan should be complete sometime this spring.
Under the proposal, an approximate two-mile landscaped river walk would be built from Landa Street to Garden Street.
The Transportainment System would be a type of water ride extending at least from the Garden Street exit on the Comal River, across Schlitterbahn property and back to Prince Solms Park.
Tubers on the Comal could either pay to ride the three-mile Transportainment System back to Prince Solms Park or use the Wasser Strasse’s walkway. The Transportainment System also would link Schlitterbahn’s two parks via Prince Souns Park.
Questions from the audience Friday included concerns about parking and how Transportaintnent would affect the river.
Sohn said the transportation system could not affect the river flow. However, he said there are otherWASSER Strasse
The next public meeting is at noon Oct. 24 at the Senior Citizen Center, 655 Landa St.
NBGS also has set up an e-mail address to receive comments: [email protected]
options to provide water for Transportainment. *
The Transportainment proposal includes two possible places for the public to enter the system from the river, either at the Garden Street exit or the last public exit at Union and Garden.
NBGS’s proposal includes the possibility of building a bridge from the last exit across the street to Schlitterbahn property, where a Transportainment entrance would be located.
However, one audience member suggested a tunnel instead, to keep as much pedestrian traffic off the street as possible.
“The tunnel idea is a great idea,” Jaroszewski said.
Another suggestion included a multi-level parking garage. Others worried whether people who carry their coolers or animals on the river would be able to take them through the Transportainment system.
“That’s obviously an issue,” Jaroszewski said. “It’s a problem we’ll have to address.”
Audience members were still asking questions and offering suggestions more than an hour into the meeting. •
The next public meeting is at noon Oct. 24 at the Senior Citizen Center, 655 Landa St.Great pumpkin patch
Marie! Elena Campos, 3, is looking forward to eating the pumpkin she and her “dog” Toto selected from the pumpkin patch at First United Methodist Church, 572 W. San Antonio St. The church sells pumpkins at this time every year.
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-News
create a drainage problem, and the money goes specifically to fixing those problems, Akers said.
A development fee, however, is a flat fee for every new development.
The city referred the question to Freese and Nichols, the consulting firm hired to work with the city on the drainage ordinance. The city hired Freese and Nichols, which has years of experience working on similar projects with cities, to provide the work for $89,350.
Most of the money was to perform the hydrology and hydraulics work on the 300 square miles of watersheds on the Dry Comal Creek, Blieders Creek, Guadalupe River, Comal River and Alligator Creek.
“We’re getting a ruling from the people who were supposed to be looking at the ordinance, who were paid to draft this ordinance and are supposed to be the experts,” Akers said.
Akers said he had not been working closely with the drainage committee because the city hired a consultant.
The Freese and Nichols representative working with the city was not available for comment Friday. Another Freese and Nichols representative said the company normally referred questions back to the organization that hired the firm.
Freese and Nichols drafted the original ordinance that the committee considered. Akers said the development fee in the original draft ordinance and in the final draft before council are the same.
The issue of whether the fee in the current ordinance and the original draft ordinance are the same or if it was changed during the committee process is what Freese and Nichols will evaluate for the city, City Manager Mike Shands said.
“If it is in the original draft, that we could have the watershed systeni development fees that were not impact fees, then it’s going to be pretty clear that they would come back with a ruling that they are not impact fees because they provided us with the information, and they would not provide us with something that is wrong,” Shands said.
Shands said the city had been advised from the beginning that the development fee was not an impact fee.
“Everybody was relying on the paid consultants to resolve these issues,” he said.
Freese and Nichols is expected to provide an answer about the* fees to the city next week. Shands said the company also would determine whether the second proposed fee in the ordinance, a watershed management utility fee for improved land, was still a non-impact fee.
Shands also said Akers and City Engineer C.A. Bolner previously advised him that the fees were not impact fees.
Akers said, “It doesn’t meet the technical definition of an impact fee.”
He also requested information from the Texas Municipal League, an organization formed to provide support to Texas cities.
“They say they are definitely not impact fees,” Akers said. “They’re going to look at the question a little more in-depth for me, but they’re definitely not impact fees.”
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s no question about it being a development fee,” he said.
New Braunfels’ ordinance mirrors San Antonio’s ordinance on this issue, he said. Bolner explained the importance of the what the fees would do for the city.
“We’re just beginning,” he said. “In order to establish the maps and database that we need and basic engineering.... It takes time.”
The city needs those maps and databases to determine where drainage structures or dams should be built, for instance. Developing those maps and information takes money. And Bolner said the city was trying to spread the cost among all new developments, not just developments that impact the drainage.
The city has considered the possibility of implementing impact fees in the future, he said. But that is a separate issue from the watershed system development fee.
Hal Herbelin, chairman of the drainage advisory committee, said Friday that he was disappointed that the development fee is being questioned now.
“We welcomed the developers to have input, and we had input from the chamber of commerce and from several very active developers,” he said. “It seemed like once we got a year down the road and kind of got into a groove of what we were going to do, then the developers no longer showed up at the meeting.... It’s another hold up or step backward in getting this complete. I feel we will. It’s just going to delay it a little bit.”
However, Bolner said he thought the developers who raised this issue supported the fee but were trying to make sure it was not contested in the future.
Local homebuilder and devel
oper Randy Taylor, who said he was not one of the people who raised this issue, said the development fee posed a “massive impact” on developers. The result would be making homes more expensive to buy in New Braunfels, he said.
“We want to do whatever is right, correct and appropriate to secure quality living or safe living,” Taylor said. “I just feel like it’s the responsibility of everybody in New Braunfels to help pay for these drainage issues. Just because a new subdivision goes in, we shouldn’t be carrying the brunt of this thing.”
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