San Marcos city officials approve new river rules

by JIM BERGAMO/KVUE News and Photojournalist DATHAN HULL
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM
Updated Tuesday, May 1 at 10:38 PM


SAN MARCOS — A ban on alcohol in San Marcos parks, as well as bridges or dams crossing the San Marcos River; a ban on styrofoam products on the water; a ban on tobacco use near playgrounds and practice fields; and tubers can only bring containers with lids or covers on the river: Those are just a few of the issues discussed by council members Tuesday night as they voted on whether to amend the San Marcos ordinance pertaining to public facilities and parks.

With just some minor adjustments, the San Marcos city council voted 4-2 Tuesday evening in favor of all of the bans it had laid out in previous meetings. Among the amendments, violators will be given one warning before they are issued a citation. The rules will now go into effect on Jan. 1.

“I am for the ordinance,” said Ollie Giles, a San Marcos resident. “I don’t want liquor served in the parks because there is enough mess downtown as it is without having liquor at the parks.”

“If we are going to borrow from the model from New Braunfels, then lets take it for a vote,” said Lisa Marie Coppoletta, a San Marcos resident who opposes the ban. “Let’s let the residents of San Marcos vote on the ballot and not workshops with 10 days notice.”

During Tuesday’s citizen comment period, some residents expressed concern and confusion over perceived changes in the ordinance from its first reading.

“Visitors are going to come, and even citizens are going to have to try to figure out what is the new rule,” said Melissa Derrick, a San Marcos resident. “Am I going to have to hide in a bush to drink my Busch? Do I have to wrap my beer in a coozie so no one can tell it is a beer? Then am I safe? So this seems like the coozie code.”
Other residents say they see both sides of the argument. They say bad behavior is the real problem, and they are not sure bans, no matter how extensive, can change that.

“I have had people at church and other places say they have gone down there, and they are not going back,” said Jaimy Breihan, a San Marcos resident. “They are not going to get on the river and deal with that again.”

Also included in Tuesday night’s vote are new limits on all terrain vehicle use, and the fine for littering has been doubled.