Can Ban Overturned
It's been almost two months since a judge overturned the controversial "can ban" ordinance in New Braunfels. On Friday, things became official when Judge Don Burgess signed the injunction on the grounds that the City's enforcement of the can ban was unconstitutional.
The voter-approved ordinance prohibited tubers on the Guadalupe River and Comal River from bringing disposable containers (like beer cans) on the river. It also limited the size of coolers allowed on the trips.
Now that the ban is lifted, river outfitters are preparing for the return of big coolers, cans of beer and bigger crowds. "Every year that we don't have that can ban, business will pick up," Scott Gromacki of Green River Company told KXAN. He explained that the company saw "about [a] 70 percent drop in business [after the ban]."
On Friday, Judge Burgess also awarded $250,000 in attorneys fees to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the City, which included local river tubing companies Rockin' R River Rides and Texas Tubes among other businesses.
But, while the businesses celebrate, the City of New Braunfels is already planning further action. On Monday, the New Braunfels City Council voted 5-2 to appeal Judge Burgess's can ban ruling.
"[During the can ban] I noticed that our rivers were cleaner, we had more families visiting, our sales tax numbers were up, our hotel taxes were up and it seemed to work very well," said New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil, who initially proposed the ban.
Revelers and river outfitters need not worry just yet. Judge Burgess' ruling will stand during the appeal process, which could take a couple of years. So, for the coming season, it's cans and coolers on the Comal again.