6 stories to follow in New Braunfels in 2019

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Last year Community Impact Newspaper covered stories on a variety of local topics. From Hill Country land-use control to school district growth and more, below are updates on some of our most popular stories from 2018.

Local land-use legislation may not move forward

What we reported
Local entities hoped to revive a past bill that would give Hill Country counties more land-use authority to protect environmental assets.

The latest
Annailsa Peace with the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance said that after meeting with county commissioners and judges, the GEAA has not seen as much support for the initiative as it had hoped. However, the GEAA will continue to advocate for its environmental goals in the 2019 legislative session.

New Braunfels real estate market still going strong

What we reported
In our June edition, local housing experts said homes in the regional seller’s market could begin to stabilize or shift in favor of the buyer. A seller’s market happens when the demand for homes exceeds supply. This is a time when sellers commonly receive above the asking price. On the contrary, a buyer’s market happens when available properties in an area exceed demand. When this is the case, buyers are more likely to negotiate a lower price.

The latest
New Bruanfels remains largely a seller’s market for homes below the $300,000 price point, but more expensive properties are staying on the market longer, according to Realtor Michelle Broderick.

Broderick, who works with Reliance Residential Realty, said she predicts this year’s housing market to remain similar to 2018 but notes an ongoing challenge for homebuyers.

“The problem in New Braunfels is there is a shortage of affordable housing,” she said. “So the new builders are building in the $200[000]-$250,000 range, but that’s not considered affordable housing.”

Permits delay progress of Solms Landing project

What we reported
In February 2018, Community Impact Newspaper’s front-page story shared details about an up-and-coming 98-acre mixed-use development named Solms Landing, located east of I-35 in New Braunfels. Once it comes to fruition, the $250 million project is expected to bring 510 rooftops, 300,000 square feet of class A office space, retail and dining opportunities, two hotels and 2,657 jobs.

The latest
In a Dec. 31 email, Fred Meyers, Solms Landing vice president of project development, said its partners have faced challenges with getting city permits but were told they are “imminent.”

At the Jan. 23 New Braunfels City Council meeting, a resolution was passed to create a public improvement district to help fund horizontal infrastructure in the development.

Veramendi will receive homes in coming months

What we reported
In August, Community Impact Newspaper reported construction on the first round of 650 single-family residences from four homebuilders would soon begin in the Veramendi master-planned community.

The latest
Construction will commence during the first quarter of 2019, according to Veramendi Development Manager Max Harford. Extensions of Oak Run Parkway and Borchers Boulevard are set to open to traffic and connect to Loop 337 early this year. Sector Plan 2, a master planning document that contains details related to land use, neighborhood configuration, road networks and parks, is currently being reviewed by the city of New Braunfels.

Implementation, tracking begin on city’s comprehensive plan

What we reported
An August front-page highlighted the 20-year Envision New Braunfels comprehensive plan, which was headed for final City Council approval Aug. 27.

The 249-page plan serves as a nonregulatory framework document that will help steer city initiatives in nine key areas­­—growth and future land use; facilities, services and capital improvements; urban design and cultural, heritage and historic preservation; parks, recreation and open space; economic competitiveness; transportation; tourism; education and youth; and natural resources and infrastructure.

The latest
The plan was approved as expected, and the city added a new senior planner to its staff, Jean Drew, in December who will lead the tracking process of the plan’s implementation. New Braunfels Planning Director Chris Looney said the city is also working to develop an annual online report to keep the community updated on the progress of projects.

School districts flourish as enrollment increases

What we reported
The February edition of Community Impact Newspaper shared how area school districts are preparing for rapid growth. Steve Stanford, executive director of communications and governmental relations for Comal ISD, there are three ways school districts keep up with growth: through the use of portable buildings, by building new schools and by redrawing boundaries within the district.

The latest
Both school districts that serve New Braunfels are building new campuses. In November, more than 70 percent of voters passed the largest bond referendum in New Braunfels ISD’s history. Part of the $118 million in funding will be used to construct a new middle and elementary school. In addition, the district will add eight additional classrooms to Veramendi Elementary School, which opened in August 2017.

In December, two new CISD middle school campuses wrapped their first semesters in operation, and construction is underway for High School No. 4 on the district’s Garden Ridge area that will open in fall 2020. Another high school will open in 2021. Both new high schools are funded through a 2015 bond initiative.

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Rachel Nelson
Rachel Nelson is editor of the New Braunfels edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covers local business, new development, city and county government, health care, education and transportation. Rachel relocated to Central Texas from Amarillo in 2009 and is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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