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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (March 26)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, March 26. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:31 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilman Karl Mooney is absent tonight.

5:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. These consent items were pulled for workshop discussion:

  • Barron Road Improvements: The council will consider a $328,164 contract for roadway, sidewalk and drainage improvements on Barron Road between William D. Fitch Parkway and W.S. Phillips Parkway. Phillips Parkway south of Barron will provide a continuous connection back to Greens Prairie Road, including the new elementary school. This project consists of the construction of new sub-grade, pavement, curbs, median, sidewalks, drainage structures, and associated striping improvements. A budget of $335,000 is included in the Streets Capital Improvement Projects Fund and $50,000 is included in the Drainage Fund.

5:44 p.m.

FY14 Financial and Audit Report

The council voted unanimously to accept the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and audit reports for Fiscal Year 2014. The reports provided a summary of the city’s financial position as of Sept. 30.

Jimmy Ingram of Ingram, Wallis and Co., the city’s external auditor, praised the work of the Fiscal Services staff and reported that the audits revealed no major issues. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:44 p.m.

Veterans Park and Athletic Complex Build-Out

The council unanimously voted to move forward with the concept design of a proposed build-out of Veterans Park and Athletic Complex. Funded with hotel tax revenues, the project would include four additional full-size athletic fields, lighting, 750 new parking spaces, and amenities such as shade, playgrounds and splash pads.

Located on the University Drive side of the park, the multi-use athletic fields would be constructed of synthetic turf, similar to two existing fields near the American Pavilion. One of the fields will be designed as a championship field with seating for about 1,700 spectators and room to add portable bleachers and berms that would expand the capacity to about 2,850. Restrooms, locker rooms, storage and a press box are also included to make the facility attractive to the many sports organizations that would be attracted to Veteran’s Park.

After the concept design phase, council would still have to approve the project itself. 

Under state law, hotel occupancy tax revenues can only be used to enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. In addition, usage must clearly fit into one of nine categories, one of which is upgrading existing municipal sports facilities. These funds can’t be used for public safety, streets, etc.     

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:55 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

7:06 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:08 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • An all-way stop at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Tarrow Street.
  • A $328,164.35 contract with Brazos Paving for roadway, sidewalk and drainage improvements along Barron Road from William D. Fitch Parkway through the W.S. Phillips Parkway intersection.
  • A $80,887.86 contract with CLM Energy Services for the Rock Prairie Road 8-inch water line.
  • A $325,000 contract with Freese & Nichols to update the city’s Wastewater System Master Plan.
  • A license agreement with the College Station Independent School District to provide a sewer system connection for 101 Lee St.

7:11 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army Sgt. Melissa Valles as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 26-year-old Eagle Pass native died in Balad, Iraq, on July 9, 2003 as a result of non-combat injuries. 

7:13 p.m.

Kate Lane Parking Removal

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to allow remove parking on one side of Kate Lane between Keefer Loop and Summerway Drive.

In February, a police officer contacted the Fire Department and asked if on-street parking limits emergency vehicle access along Kate Lane between Keefer Loop and the newly constructed Summerway Drive. The Fire Department evaluated its ability to maneuver along the access road in February, then requested the removal of parking along one side of the street. The Traffic Management Team reviewed the request and recommended approval of the request. City staff will send a letter to the affected property owners about the parking removal ordinance.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:15 p.m.

112 Navarro Drive Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the zoning district boundaries from Rural to Suburban Commercial for 1.9 acres at 112 Navarro Drive, located at the southeast corner of the Navarro-Wellborn Road intersection, to allow for development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:26 p.m.

Fiber Optic Cable Facilities

The council unanimously voted to add a new section called “Lease of City Fiber Optic Cable Facilities” to the city’s Code of Ordinances to encourage economic development. The ordinance provides a severability clause, declares a penalty and provides an effective date.

The development of next-generation bandwidth services in the community includes exploring the option for commercial entities to lease spare city fiber or conduit. The city will earn modest revenue from fiber or conduit leases.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:26 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The next regular meeting is April 9.

Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

gavel[1]The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:  

  1. Comprehensive Annual Financial Report: The council will receive the city’s audit reports and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for FY14.
  2. Veterans Park and Athletic Complex Build-Out: The council will hear a presentation on the proposed build-out – phased or full – of Veterans Park and Athletic Complex. Funded with hotel tax revenues, the project would include four new synthetic turf fields, lighting, additional parking, restrooms, locker rooms and other amenities to help attract large-scale tournaments and events.
  3. All-Way Stop at Lincoln and Tarrow: The council will consider implementing an all-way stop at the Lincoln Avenue-Tarrow Street intersection to improve safety and mobility for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
  4. Barron Road Drainage Improvements: The council will consider a $328,164 contract for roadway, sidewalk and drainage improvements on Barron Road between William D. Fitch Parkway and W.S. Phillips Parkway.
  5. Parking Removal on Kate Lane: The council will consider removing parking on one side of Kate Lane between Keefer Loop to Summerway Drive to allow access for emergency vehicles.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the website. A detailed live blog from the meetings will be posted on this site and also can be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Related links:                                                                 

 

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (March 12)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, March 12. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:38 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:06 p.m.

P&Z Commission Plan of Work

The council met jointly with the Planning & Zoning Commission and discussed its plan of work for 2015, which includes implementation of adopted master, neighborhood, district, and corridor plans, as well as general items and tasks identified in the Five-Year Comprehensive Plan Report.

6:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. These consent items were pulled for workshop discussion:

  • Parking Removal on Royder Road/Greens Prairie Trail: In August, citizens and the principal of Greens Prairie Elementary contacted the city about the loading and unloading of students along Greens Prairie Trail and Royder Road. Primary concerns were students and parents opening car doors into traffic lanes, and pedestrians having to walk in the roadway because of cars parked along the shoulder. Based on the need for pedestrian safety and efficient traffic operations, the traffic management team recommends approval.
  • 2016 Presidential/Vice Presidential Debate: Texas A&M is filing an application to host a 2016 presidential or vice presidential debate, which would shine a worldwide spotlight on College Station and attract thousands of journalists and others. Support from local communities is a key factor in determining where the debates will take place.

7:19 p.m. 

Safety City

The council heard a presentation from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service about proposed plans for a Safety City, an interactive, kid-sized model city that would provide safety education for children. The facility could possibly be located on city-owned property near Central Park on the State Highway 6 frontage road.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations received by the council:

7:19 p.m.

The council is taking a short break.

 7:26  p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

7:28 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. 

7:28 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:32 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army Master Sgt. James Curtis Coons as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 35-year-old Conroe native died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2003 after serving in Kuwait. 

7:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • Authorized city staff to negotiate for the purchase of easements needed for the Southland Street Drainage Project.
  • Removed stopping, standing and parking along Greens Prairie Trail and Royder Road.
  • Prohibited u-turns for northbound, southbound and westbound traffic at the intersection of FM 2818 and Holleman Drive.
  • A $77,546.21 contract with Vox Construction for sidewalk improvements on the west side of Texas Avenue between Hensel and Cooner streets.
  • A change order of $52,875.12 to a contract with Dudley Construction for the Veterans Park Synthetic Fields Project.
  • An inter-local agreement with the City of North Richland Hills for cooperative purchasing.
  • A revised inter-local agreement with Texas A&M University for cooperative purchasing.
  • A resolution supporting a proposal by Texas A&M University to play host to a 2016 presidential or vice presidential debate.
  • A data use agreement with Texas Department of State Health Services for access to confidential information

 7:36 p.m.

Wellborn Area Commercial Signs

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to allow attached commercial signs on existing structures in the Wellborn area without the property owner having to seek rezoning.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:00 p.m.

Annexation Public Hearing

After receiving an overview of the proposed annexation service plan, the council conducted the second and final public hearing prior to initiating annexation proceedings for about 233 acres in an area generally bordered by Royder Road, Wellborn Road and Greens Prairie Trail. Two citizens spoke during the hearing.

In November, the council granted a landowner’s request to annex about 70 acres and expressed an interest in annexing additional properties in the vicinity. Council will make a decision on the annexation on April 6.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:30 p.m.

MUD Development Agreement

The council unanimously approved a development agreement associated with Brazos County Municipal Utility District No. 1. The agreement extends the city’s planning authority over the property, which is expected to be developed into a master-planned community. The property is the current site of the Texas World Speedway.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:31 p.m.

Biocorridor Board Appointment

The council unanimously named Barry Moore, Jim Ross and Councilman Steve Aldrich to the Biocorridor board of directors.

8:31 p.m.

The meeting has been adjourned. The council meets again March 26.

Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Safety City: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will give a workshop presentation on its proposal for a “Safety City,” a model town to provide safety education for children.
  2. Texas Avenue Sidewalk Improvements: The council will consider a $77,546 contract for sidewalk improvements on the west side of Texas Avenue between Hensel and Cooner streets.
  3. Presidential/Vice Presidential Debate: The council will consider a resolution supporting Texas A&M’s bid to play host to a presidential or vice presidential debate in 2016.
  4. Wellborn Area Commercial Signs: The council will consider allowing attached signs on existing commercial structures in the Wellborn area without the owner having to seek rezoning.
  5. MUD Development Agreement: The council will consider a development agreement associated with Brazos County Municipal Utility District No. 1. The agreement extends the city’s planning authority over the property, which is expected to be developed into a master-planned community.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the website. A detailed live blog from the meetings will be posted on this site and also can be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Related links:                                                                 

Severe Weather Week marks start of tornado season

 

Editor’s Note: Gov. Greg Abbott has proclaimed this as Severe Weather Awareness Week. This blog was originally published on April 30, 2014 under the headline “Tornado preparation is important – even in BCS.”

By Brian Hilton, Emergency Management Coordinator

The Bryan-College Station area has had its share of funnel clouds and tornado scares over the years, but we’ve managed to escape any loss of life or catastrophic damage. In fact, straight line winds and microbursts have caused more property damage here than twisters.

Copyright:  / 123RF Stock PhotoAlthough strong tornadoes are uncommon in our area, that doesn’t mean a deadly tornado couldn’t happen. And even small tornadoes have the potential to be violent.

Since 2000, Brazos County has experienced nine small tornadoes, with three rated F1 (wind speeds of 73-122 mph) on the Fujita scale and the rest F0 (under 73 mph). In December 2006, a F1 tornado moved south to north for five miles across central College Station and did considerable damage to an apartment complex on FM2818 and several businesses along Southwest Parkway and Texas Avenue. Three people suffered injuries.

The following video from 1990 shows an ominous tornado that briefly touched down near Easterwood Airport, forcing the evacuation of Olsen Field during a Texas A&M baseball game. Fortunately, it caused little more than raised heart rates and was later rated a F0:

 

Texas leads the nation with an average of 137 tornadoes each year. More than 60 percent of these storms occur from April to June. An outbreak of a dozen or more tornadoes in the Houston Area in November 1992 – which included a F4 in Channelview – shows that we are not immune.

Our near misses and the devastation of the tornadoes across the South last spring are vivid reminders of why it’s important to know how to prepare and react to a tornado.

These links provide in-depth information about what to do before, during and after a tornado:

National Weather Service videos:

Stay Informed

Bryan and College Station do not have outdoor tornado sirens. College Station voters defeated a proposition to fund sirens in the 1990 bond election.

When severe weather approaches, pay close attention to local radio and television stations. They do a great job of providing pertinent information, including tornado watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service, but tornadoes can occur even if a watch or warning has not been issued.

In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials. If a violent storm approaches the Bryan-College Station area, these are the best ways to monitor events and get timely information:

 Recommended Mobile Apps

A number of useful mobile apps also are available for smartphones and tablets. Many of these also have emergency alert capabilities. Here are some recommended apps that you can find in your favorite app store:

Just because tornadoes have been rare in our area doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant and well-prepared. Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms, and we should always stand ready to handle whatever nature sends our way.

About Brian: Brian Hilton has been the City of College Station’s emergency management coordinator since 2003, when he retired as sergeant first class after 20 years in the United States Army. He also serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Committee for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Hilton attended Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.

Photo Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Feb. 26)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 26. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:30 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started. Councilman James Benham is absent tonight.

5:42 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. One item was pulled for workshop discussion:

CSISD Natatorium Reimbursement: Through an inter-local agreement, the city has agreed to share operating costs of the CSISD Natatorium with the College Station Independent School District. Each year, the entities submit their expenses and revenues for the natatorium, then the city determines the net operating costs and how much each one uses the facility. Typically, CSISD overpays its portion of the net cost, and the city reimburses the district through a true-up. The city’s payment of $61,739.92 reflects increased utility, supply and maintenance costs as well as increased revenue received by the city.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:05 p.m.

Recycling Program Update

The council received a presentation about the city’s recycling program and was updated on possible areas to expand the program. The recent implementation of a single-stream recycling pilot program in Emerald Forest and is being evaluated.

The Sanitation and Recycling Division serves about 22,000 single-family homes, 1,000 businesses and 17,000 apartment units.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:13 p.m.

Renaming of Raintree Park

The council heard a presentation about renaming Raintree Park as the Art and Myra Bright Park at the request of the Raintree neighborhood. The council will vote on the change as part of the consent agenda in tonight’s regular meeting.

The Brights built the first home in Raintree and have frequently donated their time and resources to several community organizations. Art Bright’s accomplishments include work with the school district, volunteer work with children, and serving as superintendent of about 25 Habitat of Humanity homes. Myra Bright also did work for the school district and Habitat for Humanity.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:59 p.m.

Automated Metering Infrastructure

The council heard a presentation on water and electric automated metering, which uses electronic meters with high-speed, two-way communication capabilities. Implementation of such a system would eliminate meter reading and manual service connection, but would require additional IT, communication and technical personnel.

The initial cost of an automated metering system is estimated at $11-14 million with ongoing costs of about $100,000-200,000 per year. To cover the costs, customers would likely pay an additional $2.50 per month for about six years. Staff recommended that a formal study be undertaken in 2017 to fully determine options, costs and benefits.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:07 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

 7:18 p.m.

The regular meeting has started. Cub Scout Pack 802 led the pledge of allegiance.

7:24 p.m.

Mayor Nancy Berry presented a proclamation to Cub Scout Pack 802 in recognition of its 78th birthday. The pack is the oldest in the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boys Scouts of America.

cs-scout1

 7:29 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 25-year-old Abilene native died in Habbaniyah, Iraq, on March 31, 2004 when an improvised explosive device hit an armored personnel carrier. As a student at Texas A&M, Hufstedler was a member of the Corps of Cadets.

7:30 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • Authorized the city attorney to condemn easements needed for the Bee Creek Sanitary Sewer Phase II project.
  • A severability clause, penalty and effective date to maintain drainage utility rates set in 2008.
  • A joint use agreement with the Wellborn Special Utility District for right-of-way and utility easements on Barron Road from Victoria Avenue to Wellborn Road.
  • An FY14 financial true-up of $61,739.92 to the College Station Independent School District for use of the CSISD Natatorium.
  • Levels and guidelines for donor recognition and naming rights for the Fun for All Playground.
  • Ratified an increase from $74,166 to $131,157.83 to the purchase order with Alfa Laval to overhaul the centrifuge at the Carter Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and an increase from $23,000 to $67,000 for rental of a belt press unit.
  • An all-way stop control at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Eagle Avenue.
  • The annual traffic contact report as required by the state legislature.
  • A resolution supporting proposed legislation amending the state tax code to allow certain municipalities, including Bryan and College Station, to allocate hotel occupancy tax revenue for the construction and operation of city-owned parks and recreation facilities.
  • An agreement not to exceed $971,262 with Iteris for services, equipment and maintenance of hardware and software for implementation of the first year of the Intelligent Traffic System Master Plan.
  • Changed the name of Raintree Park to Art and Myra Bright Park.

7:34 p.m.

1834 Graham Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to change the zoning district boundaries from Rural to Suburban Commercial for about 1.06 acres and Natural Areas Protected for about 1.62 acres near the intersection of Graham Road and Longmire Drive to allow for development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:41 p.m.

Cain Road Extension Removal

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to remove from the Thoroughfare and Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plans the extension of Cain Road west of Holleman Drive South  to allow for development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:47 p.m.

UDO Amendments

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 for an amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to grant authority to the Planning and Zoning Commission to review and make recommendations on Municipal Utility District consent applications. The final decision regarding consent to form a MUD would rest with the council. The ordinance also removes the prohibition on granting waivers for the minimum lot size in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction if the lots are part of a council-approved MUD.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:47 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The next regular meeting is March 12.

 

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