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City considers retention pond aesthetics


The city of La Vernia may take a different approach regarding retention ponds in new development, following a discussion during the Aug. 9 La Vernia City Council meeting.

Members of the city council will join Code Enforcement Officer Janet Thelen and other city personnel to visit the Judson Independent School District with members of the San Antonio River Authority; the group will view alternatives to retention ponds for runoff water incorporated into the landscape on district properties. This is part of the city’s low-impact drainage plan.

“There are a lot of developers using this new approach,” Thelen told the council. “It’s more aesthetic, you don’t have to mow, and it’s a less costly wait to let some of that water drain without looking like a big green hole in the ground. é It’s probably a much smarter path than retention ponds.”

Thelen said the alternative methods in addition to being more aesthetically pleasing than retention ponds prevent erosion, filter water, and allow for better use of land.

A date will be set with the river authority for a site visit.

Also on the evening’s agenda were two “380” agreements for consideration one each with West Texas Gas Co. and TEKMAK Development. The council withdrew into closed session to discuss these with La Vernia Municipal Development District Executive Director Jennifer Kolbe. When they reconvened in open session, the full council approved entering an agreement with West Texas Gas “as discussed in closed session,” then approved authorizing Mayor Robert Gregory to proceed “as discussed” regarding the agreement with TEKMAK. No specifics were provided during the meeting regarding either agreement.

In other matters, the council:

¢Approved resolutions to correct fees relating to the city’s signs ordinance, rabies-vaccination dismissals, dangerous dog liability insurance, and garage sale permits.

¢Renewed without any increase in fees a contract with Charlie Trowbridge to perform customer service inspections on behalf of the city.

“We would like, eventually, to do this in-house,” Thelen said. No city employee has the relevant training or certification at this time, she said.

¢Heard from La Vernia Police Chief Bruce Ritchey that some items from recent car burglaries have been recovered by another agency, and that a full confession was obtained from a suspect arrested in relation to account fraud at the Nixon State Bank branch in La Vernia.

The council also met for its first budget workshop Aug. 6. Expenses for the current fiscal year total approximately $1 million, according to City Secretary-Treasurer Angela Cantu after the workshop; the city’s revenue is approximately $1.1 million, she said.

The same evening, the city’s zoning board of adjustment met to consider granting a variance to Koepp Chevrolet. The variance was approved for the business to remodel its current building to accommodate requests from General Motors. No opposition was received regarding the matter, Cantu said after the meeting.

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