Responding to a Growing Community
According to 2020 Census data, in the last decade, New Braunfels experienced a 56 percent growth rate in population and has been consistently recognized as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. While this area’s growth has provided new opportunities and amenities for citizens, it has required New Braunfels Utilities to be even more strategic in its planning.
With more than $688 million in capital improvement projects, NBU is planning, building, and enhancing necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing community. These improvements will ensure NBU is well prepared to meet the electric, water, and wastewater needs of its customers for decades to come. In addition to more than 145 capital improvement projects over the next five years, NBU has added personnel, equipment, vehicles, and is in the planning phase to construct a new Headquarters facility.
NBU Headquarters Overview
An extensive process to identify the right location for the new facility began in early 2019, and a number of sites were considered. The NBU Water Resources Plan called for the expansion of the Trinity Well Field site to improve the withdrawal and treatment processes and volume available from the Trinity Aquifer. Adjacent to NBU’s existing Trinity Well Field Treatment Plant, a 48.58-acre tract located off of Westpointe Drive, in west New Braunfels, was selected as the new NBU Headquarters site for many reasons, particularly because it was the most economic use of public funds while meeting all development requirements of the City of New Braunfels. New Braunfels Utilities will be able to co-locate the facility on property we already had to purchase for the Trinity Well Field expansion.
Primary access to the new NBU Headquarters site is anticipated to be from Westpointe Drive, with a planned emergency access route through the Stone Crossing neighborhood. Every possible route was considered; however, following a third-party Traffic Impact Analysis, Westpointe Drive was identified as the most cost-effective primary access point. The Regional Transportation Presentation outlines the challenges with alternative route options and includes traffic impact analyses and diagrams of the planned route.
When the NBU Headquarters opens (anticipated 2024), it will consolidate operations of the Main Plaza Offices and Service Center, and will include NBU’s fleet. The new NBU Headquarters will provide an adequate amount of facility space for personnel, materials, and vehicles for decades to come.
February 2022 Update
New Braunfels Utilities continues to research customer comments that were raised during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that was held on October 6, 2021, for recommendation to the City Council. On October 7, 2021, NBU staff requested to temporarily postpone the scheduled October 25 City Council agenda item to allow for additional time to address customer comments adequately. New Braunfels Utilities continues to research and consider all possibilities to address these concerns.
The following frequently asked questions are provided to bring the community current with our latest updates.
At this time, NBU is exploring several items resulting from the fall 2021 City of New Braunfels Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. One of the items under consideration includes determining if a more optimal location to develop the NBU Headquarters site exists.
As NBU continues to scale the size of its operations to meet our growing community’s needs, we are looking at alternative site options for the Headquarters’ site. Currently, our staffing projection will require an increase in building size to accommodate a larger future workforce. Larger staffing projections would also result in larger support areas including the warehouse and parking requirements.
The NBU Headquarters property was originally purchased for expansion of the NBU Trinity Well Field and Treatment Plant, which is currently underway.
Below are some frequently asked questions about NBU Headquarters, as well as a projected timeline of the project.
New Braunfels Utilities has outgrown its Main Plaza and Service Center facilities, and they are simply not adequate for the complexity and security of our community’s critical utility infrastructure. The new Headquarters will allow NBU to consolidate operations and meet the demands of growth and improve efficiency required to continue providing essential services to the community.
An endangered species study was conducted by a third party and no endangered species were found to be inhabiting the site. If endangered species are discovered on the site in the future, NBU and their contractors will follow all applicable laws and protocols.
Protecting the caves that are located above and in the middle of our community’s Trinity Aquifer Well Field is very important to NBU. If a private developer were to develop the land, a minimum 50′ buffer is all that is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). However, in the planned NBU Headquarters layout, NBU is maintaining a minimum buffer of 300′ and setting aside seven to eight acres to protect these sensitive features. In addition, during the design and construction of the Headquarters facility, NBU will complete a geologic assessment and develop a Water Pollution Abatement Plan (WPAP) for the project in accordance with the TCEQ and Edward Aquifer Authority’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program rules and restrictions to further protect the cave system.
The NBU Headquarters will be designed to include protective measures to comply with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Edward Aquifer Authority’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program rules and restrictions. New Braunfels Utilities will be required to provide the appropriate secondary containment measures to meet Federal and TCEQ requirements for the storage of hazardous materials onsite, including petroleum products. Environmental controls for all potential contaminants, including oils, lubricants, and potentially hazardous chemicals, will comply with the RG- 348, Edwards Aquifer Rules. In addition, during construction, the site will be monitored to assure compliance with a site-specific Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SW3P), which is part of the TCEQ’s approved Water Pollution Abatement Plan (WPAP) for the project.
A Traffic Impact Analysis was completed and verified that of all the possible access routes, the proposed route on Westpointe Drive is the most cost-effective, while meeting all city requirements for safety and level of service.
Over the course of a week, there would be less traffic generated by NBU.
Three other primary access routes were considered. The projected costs and challenges associated with each can be viewed in the Regional Transport Presentation.
The chosen Westpointe Drive route is projected to cost approximately $1.5 million to develop, while the other routes would range in cost from $9.5 to $13 million.
The emergency access through Stone Crossing will be gated and locked; however, all emergency services will have full access, at all times.
Operations at the new facility will be in compliance with the City of New Braunfels’ noise ordinance NO. 2015-43.
The NBU fleet is comprised of 51 vehicles ranging from pick-up trucks to bucket trucks. Only 27 of the 51 vehicles are larger than an F-250 truck. If all 27 vehicles left during the peak hour on a weekday, they would represent approximately 7% of the traffic on Westpointe Drive and 1 to 3% of traffic on Oak Run Parkway.
All NBU fleet drivers are required to take the Smith System Driver Training, with re-training on an annual basis.
Staggered shifts in the morning, between 7:00 – 8:30 a.m. All fleet vehicles return to the facility by 4:00 p.m.; before evening rush-hour traffic.
No, unless they are responding to an outage/emergency situation.
Approximately three to four deliveries a day, which vary day to day – from Amazon delivery trucks to deliveries on semi-trucks.
As of September 2021, NBU has 345 employees, but not all will work at the NBU Headquarters. Some will continue to work at remote facilities such as treatment plants. Like many employers, post-COVID-19, NBU’s workforce includes some employees who work from home and many others that work in a hybrid arrangement, splitting their time between home and office.
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The zoning request went before the Planning Commission on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, for recommendation to the City Council. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously declined the zoning request. On October 7, NBU staff requested to temporarily postpone the scheduled October 25 City Council agenda item to allow for additional time to adequately address customer comments.
For additional information, please email us.