Today the Texas Supreme Court denied a petition for review filed by the Stop The Ordinances Please, or STOP, meaning a disposable containers ban and cooler size ordinance can remain in effect on New Braunfels rivers.
According to a city news release, the decision made by the Austin Court of Appeals to uphold the ordinances banning disposable containers and limiting cooler sizes on rivers within the New Braunfels city limits will stand.
“This ruling by the Texas Supreme Court should effectively mark the end of the long-running legal challenge filed by STOP and will allow the city, its citizens and all of the parties involved to move forward with an eye toward making the disposable container and cooler size ordinances work for everyone involved and to the benefit of all of the citizens of New Braunfels,” the news release stated.
While opponents of the ban hoped a Texas Supreme Court decision earlier this year to end plastic bag bans in cities would provide a precedent for overturning the disposable containers and cooler size restrictions on New Braunfels rivers, that was not the case today.
“It’s real simple,” said Jim Ewbank, attorney for STOP. “Myself and my clients are disappointed and surprised at the decision and will have a discussion on what the potential next steps could be soon.”
The New Braunfels City Council first passed the disposable containers and cooler size ordinances in 2011, but enforcement was halted in 2014 after visiting judge Don Burgess ruled it was unconstitutional. The city appealed, and the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals reversed the decision in 2017, putting the ordinances back in effect in time for the 2018 river season.
The decision comes at a time when city officials say the 2018 river season was more manageable than the year before. In its news release the city said the season saw “an unprecedented level of cooperation between municipal entities, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the visitor industry, and the river outfitters.”
Ewbank said that while the battle may be over, he and STOP will weigh their options on how to move forward in the near future.
“It may be the end; there may be motions for rehearing. It is just something that I will discuss with my client,” Ewbank said.