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New Braunfels bans bottles and cans

On the river, that is.

City Council gave preliminary approval on Monday to a controversial rule prohibiting disposable containers — bottles and cans — from the ecologically sensitive Comal River.

The first reading of the proposal, amending an existing ordinance, passed by a 5-2 vote. Another ordinance, which would prohibit tubers from taking an extra inner tube on floats down the river, failed 4-3.

Residents who spoke against both proposals said the council was going too far.

“On a day when the Dow went down 630 points, you’re taking a shot at the economy of this community,” say Jay Patrick, who said the rules would create health problems because on days of 100-plus degrees, tubers wouldn’t be able to take enough water with them to stay hydrated for three hours. “Let’s call it what it is. It’s a backdoor alcohol ban.”

He said the city should be renamed “New Ban-fels”


The arguments came four years after the city’s last major attempt to control river behavior. State law prohibits glass and Styrofoam from rivers but doesn’t allow the city to ban alcohol. The city can control container size, however, and has limited the size of ice chests and banned large containers for beer and small containers for Jell-O shots.

It’s sort of a tradition of mine to follow all of this stuff in New Braunfels. What can I say, I find it all fascinating, and a great example of how some fun thing that started out as small and local can grow to the point where the folks who were there at the beginning don’t recognize it any more. (See all of the fuss related to Lights in the Heights for a much closer to home example.) Here’s what I’ve blogged about the bans on beer bongs and Jell-O shots; here’s what I’ve blogged on cooler size restrictions, which led to an ultimately successful recall effort against one of the architects of these ordinances, and a lawsuit in which I presume the city prevailed. Looking back at these old posts, I was pretty disdainful of what the NB City Council was doing at first, but I must say I have a lot more sympathy for them now. You can chalk that up to my advancing state of geezerhood if you want; I will freely admit that the behavior they’re trying to regulate has considerably less appeal for me now. I don’t know how you can control the growth of something that so many people want to be a part of in a way that keeps it fun for everyone. I wish them luck as they try.

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