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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 23)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 23. 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.

5:56 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

6:10 p.m.

Economic Development Master Plan Funding

The council discussed potential funding mechanisms for implementing the city’s Economic Development Master Plan, which was adopted in 2013.

Staff recommended using the existing City Council Economic Development Committee as an advisory group to guide future economic development efforts. Other options discussed were to reinstate the dormant College Station Business Development Corporation – 4B Board or creating an economic development corporation similar to the City of Bryan’s Development Foundation.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:43 p.m.

Mobile Food Vending Parks

After hearing a presentation on establishing permanent mobile food vending sites, including a summary of how food truck parks are regulated in other cities, the consensus of council was for staff to come back at at later date with a draft ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:47 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  1. Parking Removal on Glade and Southwood: Parking would be removed on both sides of Glade Street and Southwood Drive within 300 feet of Southwest Parkway. Area residents are concerned about vehicles parking too close to the signalized intersections.

6:57 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.

7:06 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:10 p.m.

B-CS Travel and Tourism Week

Mayor Nancy Berry proclaimed May 2-10 as Bryan-College Station Travel and Tourism Week with a presentation to representatives of The Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau. Pictured below are Mayor Berry and Shannon Overby, executive director of the B-CS CVB.

11174360_10153138930063046_8556902293327502105_o

7:13 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. The citizen spoke about how multi-family housing is leading to the decline of single-family neighborhoods.

7:13 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • Annual contracts totaling $660,223 to Green Teams ($642,723) and Roots Landscaping ($17,500) for landscape maintenance and mowing of city sites.
  • Removed parking along both sides of Glade Street and Southwood Drive within 300 feet of Southwest Parkway.
  • An $80,000 contract with Segal Waters Consulting for a salary survey.
  • An inter-local agreement with Texas A&M to operate Fire Station No. 4 and provide aircraft rescue and firefighting services to Easterwood Airport.
  • A $633,081 contract with Kieschnick General Contractors for the Area 2 Water Line Project.

8:03 p.m.

B-CS CVB Update

The council heard an update from the B-CS Convention and Visitors Bureau, including its rebranding efforts, Hotel Occupancy Tax grants, the preferred access agreement with Texas A&M, and other initiatives.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:56 p.m.

Northgate High-Density Dwelling Units

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to allow up to six unrelated individuals to reside together in a single-living unit in Northgate. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion. Similar apartment-type structures intended for fewer than four unrelated individuals remain permitted in Northgate under the multi-family definition. 

The amendment adds this definition to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance:

Northgate High-Density Dwelling Unit: A residential structure providing complete, independent living facilities for three (3) or more households, living independently of each other and including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, cooking, eating, and sanitation in each unit. Households in a Northgate High-Density Dwelling Unit may include more than four (4) but not greater than six (6) unrelated individuals when one bedroom is provided per each unrelated individual.

The use will be permitted in all three Northgate zoning districts to provide developers the flexibility to offer a greater variety of unit types in an area where high-density residential development is desired.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:56 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The next regular meeting is May 14.

Podcast: Coleman responds to city’s water worries

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Director of Water Services Dave Coleman may be the happiest guy on the city staff, but he’s leading the charge on a very serious issue: protecting and preserving our water supplies for generations to come.

Coleman has been Director of Water Services for the City of College Station since 2005. Before joining the city, he served more than two decades as a civil engineer corps officer in the U.S. Navy. A native of Wichita Falls, David received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M in 1981, earned a master’s in construction engineering from Stanford, and also attended the U.S. Naval War College.

In this podcast, Coleman talks conservation, how using treated effluent is saving millions of gallons of drinking water a day, and why his hometown implemented the desperate solution of drinking “potty water.”

Click below to listen. Soundcloud may not play in older versions of Internet Explorer.

 

Having trouble? Click here to listen to the audio file from your system.

Recent Podcasts:

About Jay: Jay Socol is in his sixth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M, Socol has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several B-CS radio stations.

 

Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]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. Economic Development Master Plan Funding: In the workshop, the council will discuss potential funding mechanisms for implementing the city’s Economic Development Master Plan, which was adopted in 2013.
  2. Mobile Food Vending Park: The council will hear a workshop presentation on establishing permanent mobile food vending sites, including a summary of how food truck parks are regulated in other cities.
  3. Parking Removal on Glade and Southwood: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider removing parking on both sides of Glade Street and Southwood Drive within 300 feet of Southwest Parkway. Area residents are concerned about vehicles parking too close to the signalized intersections.
  4. Northgate High-Density Dwelling Unit: After a public hearing, the council will consider allowing a maximum of six unrelated individuals to reside together in a high-density dwelling unit in Northgate. The amendment would allow developers to offer a greater variety of unit types in Northgate, where high-density residential development is desired.
  5. B-CS CVB Update: The council will hear an update on the B-CS Convention and Visitors Bureau and its activities, including rebranding efforts, Hotel Occupancy Tax grants, and the preferred access agreement with Texas A&M.

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:                                                                 

Unsung heroes keep our lights on, protect safety

 Linemen1

By Patrick C. McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

Beginning with the invention of the Edison lightbulb in 1879, electric linemen have kept the nation energized. Today, more than 115,000 linemen and women install and maintain the nation’s nine million miles of electric grid to meet our power needs.

The City of College Station and the U.S. Congress are recognizing Saturday as National Lineman Appreciation Day to honor the hard-working folks who protect public safety and keep our power on. Linemen rarely get the recognition they deserve for working all hours of the day and night — often in hazardous conditions — and going above and beyond to maintain and restore our power.

Linemen are part of the first responder community, which means trouble calls usually come at night in all types of conditions and weather. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics can usually see the emergency issues they face, but electricity is invisible, which can create extremely hazardous environments during storms and other events. Most of our trouble calls are handled by two-person crews, but for bigger events, it’s all hands on deck.

Unlike most occupations, linemen spend a large part of their working lives high above the ground to maintain our electrical infrastructure such as power lines and poles. Fortunately, College Station is committed to the reliability of underground utility construction, and more than 50 percent of our electric grid is underground.

Our electric personnel are required to be knowledgeable in both overheard and underground electrical systems and work with a voltage range as high as 138,000 volts down to the standard 120 volts you use at home.

When you consider all these factors, it’s easy to understand why the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rates being an electric lineman as one of the country’s 10 most dangerous occupations. This infographic illustrates some of the finer points of the job:

LinemanInfographic

If you get a chance, take time to thank a lineman for the hard work, courage, dedication and innovation they bring to their jobs every day.

Twitter Hashtag: #thankalineman

About Patrick: Patrick C. McIntyre is energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for the energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.  

 

Temporary CSPD communications move doesn’t hinder responders

By Lt. Chuck Fleeger, CSPD Public Information Officer

Misc April 2015 001Most of us have been through home improvement projects at one time or another. We know what that can mean – our lives turned upside down by inconveniences that seem to last forever.

What if the project also impacted your place of business, or even forced you to shut it down?

Talk about stress.

The College Station Police Department’s Communications Division had to deal with that kind of issue this week. Required improvements and electrical work to our Communications Center on Thursday and early Friday meant the whole operation would be out of service for a couple of days.

Obviously, shutting down public safety communications and giving our dispatchers a couple of days off wasn’t an option.

6173632359_7b8ca58666_bThankfully, we have a backup center at Fire Station No. 6, so we didn’t miss a beat. We continued to take calls, our responders were able to conduct business, and the whole process was seamless for our citizens. We moved back into our renovated Communications Center this afternoon.

An added benefit is that we’re be confident that our backup systems work properly when they’re needed.

This is just one example of how dedicated public servants find ways to adapt to any situation to serve our citizens.

About Lt. Fleeger: Lt. Chuck Fleeger has 24 years of service with the College Station Police Department and has been public information officer since 2013. A native of College Station, Fleeger attended Texas A&M. 

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 9)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 9. 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.

6:06 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilman James Benham is out-of-town but is participating by videoconference.

6:00 p.m.

Brazos County Vote Centers

Brazos County Clerk Karen McQueen briefed the council on a proposal to implement county-wide vote centers for Election Day. The plan includes 25 polling locations the first year, which could be reduced by 50 percent in following years. A pilot program in several Texas cities has resulted in lower costs and more convenient options for voters.

At tonight’s regular meeting, the council will consider a resolution to support the county’s application to the state to establish the vote centers in place of precinct polling places. 

Polling locations would still need good internet connections, direct recording electronic voting machines, and electronic poll books that check-in voters systemwide in real time. For local elections, every race in which the voter is eligible to vote would be on one ballot, and the voter could go to any polling location in the county. Locations would also need to be placed so that voters are not disenfranchised.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:54 p.m.

Local Mass and Public Transit Operations

The council received an update from Peter Lange of Texas A&M Transportation Services and John McBeth of the Brazos Transit District (BTD) on local mass and public transit operations.

BTD’s fixed-route system started in 1989 and now includes seven fixed routes, an express route to A&M, and seven ADA paratransit, curb-to-curb routes that serve Bryan-College Station and the university. BTD has 16 buses that cover 141 miles of fixed routes, while A&M has 80 buses and uses 65 during normal service. The A&M system has 42 miles of campus routes and 80 miles of off-campus routes that run within a 3.6-mile radius of campus.

Since 2011 BTD has allowed A&M students to ride free by showing their student identification cards, and A&M allows the general public to ride its system by showing a BTD ID card. A&M and BTD have asked The Texas Department of Transportation for $40 million from the Texas Mobility Fund to purchase 60 40-foot buses for A&M and 20 35-foot buses for BTD.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:03 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.

7:13 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:51 p.m.

Hear Visitors

More than a dozen people 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 Staff Sgt. Hector R. Perez as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 40-year-old Corpus Christi native died when his military convoy came under attack north of Al Hawd, Iraq on July 24, 2003.

A total of 12 people spoke against allowing Texas A&M to use Veterans Park and Athletic Complex for parking for the Aggie football game day shuttle. Mayor Berry said the council will address the issue at its April 23 meeting.

One person spoke against the annexation ordinance on tonight’s regular meeting agenda.

7:51 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • A resolution supporting Brazos County’s application to the Texas Secretary of State to establish Election Day vote centers in place of individual precinct polling places.
  • An annual price agreement for $60,200.40 with Daco Fire Equipment for protective clothing.
  • An amendment determining public need and necessity for the city to initiate, complete, and acquire property at the northwest corner of the intersection of West OSR and Sandy Point Road in Bryan for the Well Field Collection System Loop Project.
  • A bid award of $659,700 to Techline for the annual purchase of wire and cable to be maintained in electrical inventory.

7:54 p.m.

Public Utility Easement Abandonment 

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon part of a public utility easement to accommodate the expansion of the gym at A&M Consolidated High School.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:00 p.m.

Rezoning at 8500 Earl Rudder Fwy. South

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to change the zoning district boundaries from General Suburban to General Commercial and Natural Areas Protected for more than 30 acres northwest of the FM2818 and State Highway 6 intersection to allow for development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:09 p.m.

Conditional Use Permit 

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit extending a wireless telecommunications tower from 35 feet to 70 feet at 2504 Texas Ave. South.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:35 p.m.

Capstone PDD Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to amend the Planned Development District (PDD) for the Capstone development to allow removal of a small commercial area along Holleman Drive South and replace it with multi-family use. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:41 p.m.

Parking Removal on Cherry Street

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to remove parking on the south side of the 300 block of Cherry Street to allow aerial fire apparatus access to a proposed apartment development. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:43 p.m.

Annexation Ordinance

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to annex about 233 acres generally bordered by Royder Road, Wellborn Road and Greens Prairie Trail. The annexation service plan can be found on pages 89-98 of the regular meeting packet. The service plan effectively acts as a contract between the city and residents in the annexed area.

Two additional public hearings were conducted in March.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:43 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The next council meets again on April 23.

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