Comal County grows at a rapid rate

Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth said he has been at his post about 13 years, and during those years, there has been very little commercial growth, until now.

Comal county is ranked 84 among the U.S. counties by percentage change from 1990 to 2000, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

The population in Comal County in 2000 grew from 51,832 in 1990 to 78.021 ­ a 50.5 percent increase.

Also, Comal County is ranked 59 among the 100 fastest growing counties in the U.S. from 2000 to 2001.

This population growth has officials concerned because most of the growth is happening in the rural areas of the county, where there is not enough authority to manage growth because it falls under county jurisdiction (as the map indicates).

"I was stunned by the lack of any city government," County Commissioner Jay Millikan.

Millikan is currently working with state officials to try to bring legislation into effect that would grant counties more authority to manage growth.

County Commissioner Jan Kennady is also concerned about the growth and said the area is "loosing that hometown feeling."

However, people keep moving into the area and businesses are following.

Hornseth said septic permits are a good indicator for growth because people do not apply for septic permits unless they plan to develop their property.

Hornseth went on to say, on average, he issues about 100 septic permits per month. He added that most of the developments are attracting families and the average household in Comal County is 3.5 people. Also according to Hornseth, there are about 3 families moving into the county per day.

County officials are being proactive in their efforts to help manage the growth, but the population burst is also impacting other areas of the county, including the school district, traffic and zoning to name a few.

The Times Guardian is launching a series of articles to shed some insight into how growth affects the county and Canyon Lake.

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