February 15, 2007
Cooler restrictions passed in New Braunfels

The New Braunfels cooler crackdown has survived a second reading and become law.

The measure, approved in a 4-3 vote, limits floaters on the Comal River to one small cooler, big enough to hold six 12-ounce cans. On the Guadalupe River within the city limits, which starts at the Gruene Road bridge, tubers will be allowed a cooler large enough to hold 12 cans.

Proponents predict the limit on cooler sizes will reduce litter and alcohol-fueled bad behavior. Riverfront residents have complained for years about having to put up with drunken, cursing, fighting and trespassing tourists floating by their backyards.

"I've lived here for 24 years and the status quo is no longer acceptable," said Councilwoman Kathleen Krueger, who supported the cooler limits.

But most of the dozens of residents who spoke at the meeting opposed the new rules.

Resident John Seidel said his family has floated the Comal River for five generations and he is "upset that a handful of people are trying to come in and change the rules."

Many complained that the small coolers are not big enough to hold the snacks, suntan lotion, medicine or other items people store along with their drinks.

Mayor Bruce Boyer, who voted against the cooler rules, said that although the rule is supposed to encourage families to visit the rivers by taming rowdy behavior, he has heard from many families it will be unworkable for them.

I think this is a case of good intentions gone awry, and that it will harm people who are not part of the problem. I can definitely see this bill doing damage to the tourist industry in New Braunfels. We'll see if they wind up repealing or amending it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 15, 2007 to The great state of Texas

I'm not sure what the rationale for the regulation is, but I'd expect it will help schlitterbahn, where they allow full-sized coolers and sell beer from swim-up bars.

Posted by: Michael on February 15, 2007 10:08 AM