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Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Nov. 20)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Nov. 20. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

4:50 p.m.

The workshop has started. Council took no action out of executive session.

4:53 p.m.

Canvassing of Election Returns

The council canvassed the Nov. 7 election returns and unanimously declared the results. Linda Harvell, Bob Brick, and John Nichols are elected to the city council.

4:57 p.m.

Oaths of Office 

Harvell, Brick, and Nichols were sworn in as council members by Municipal Court Judge Ed Spillane. We’ll post photos here later.

John Nichols

Linda Harvell

Bob Brick

5:38 p.m.

Farewell to Outgoing Council Members

Council members, city staff, and citizens bid farewell to outgoing Mayor Pro Tem Julie Schultz and Councilwoman Blanche Brick, who each served two terms since their initial election in 2011. As a parting gift, Brick presented a large print of Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech” for display in city hall.

The council will take a short break for a reception honoring the new and former council members.

Firefighters with Blanche Brick and Julie Schultz

Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech”

6:14 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:19 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilman James Benham recognized Army Capt. Andrew R. Houghton as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 25-year-old Houston native died Aug. 9, 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade detonated near his vehicle in Ad Dhuha, Iraq.

6:22 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for discussion:

  • Christmas Parade Banners: The city has been approached about erecting and displaying seven banners at various locations from Nov. 21-Dec. 4 to recognize the annual Christmas parade. Banners may be exempt from regulations when they promote a positive image for the city that attracts business or tourism, depicts an accomplishment of an individual or group, or creates a positive community spirit.
  • FY18 Certificates of Obligation: The FY18 Budget includes several Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Information Technology projects funded with certificates of obligation that haven’t been issued. The “Resolution Declaring Intention to Reimburse Certain Expenditures with Proceeds from Debt” would cover spending that is estimated to occur in advance of the scheduled FY18 debt issue.
  • Greens Prairie Trail Project: The change order would reduce the contract for the Greens Prairie Trail Widening Project by $198,223.18. The project included reconstruction of Greens Prairie Trail from Wellborn Road through the intersection of Royder Road. Quantities actually used were less than estimated in the original contract.

6:22 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Banners for the annual Christmas Parade.
  • A resolution declaring intent to reimburse certain expenditures with proceeds from debt for Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Information Technology projects in the FY18 Capital Improvements Program Budget.
  • A reduction of $198,223.18 to the contract with Hassell Construction for the Greens Prairie Trail Widening Project.
  • The $136,470 purchase of 15 traffic signal cabinets from Paradigm Traffic Systems.

6:29 p.m.

UDO Master Plan Amendments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to recognize locational flexibility to ensure consistency among various master plan components and clarify that plan depictions may be updated as development occurs.

The UDO is intended to implement planning policy as provided in the city’s Comprehensive Plan and associated plans. Since thoroughfare and bikeway alignments in these plans are generalized locations, the plans authorize discretion for those elements to be refined as needed up to a distance of 1,000 feet without an ordinance amendment.

As part of reviewing thoroughfares for the proposed Thoroughfare Plan update, it was identified that several thoroughfares remain depicted as conceptually shown in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, although development plans and surrounding conditions have provided refinement when implemented.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:07 p.m.

Comprehensive Plan Thoroughfare Amendments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the city’s Thoroughfare Plan and Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan to reflect recent revisions to the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2050 Thoroughfare Concept.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:09 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

7:09 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop meeting will resume after a short break.

7:14 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

7:46 p.m.

Suburban Commercial Zoning Requirements

The council voted 6-1 to approve the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations for changes to Suburban Commercial zoning as part of the 10-year update to the Comprehensive Plan. Councilwoman Harvell voted against the motion. 

Most current and future Suburban Commercial locations are located near neighborhoods along major highways and thoroughfares, which creates tension between neighborhood concerns and market demands for higher intensity.

The council voted 5-2 against an earlier motion to approve the recommendations with the exception of gas stations and drive-thru establishments.  Harvell and Councilman Brick voted for the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:39 p.m.

Bicycle Parking Requirements

The council discussed the city’s bicycle parking guidelines and ways to increase development flexibility and reduce requirements. The consensus of the council, with the exception of Councilman Jerome Rektorik, was for staff to bring back an ordinance reflecting the recommendations.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:46 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. 

The council meets again on Thursday, Dec. 14.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Monday at city hall for its workshop (4:30 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings. Please note the change in start times.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Canvassing Election Returns: In the workshop, the council will canvass the returns from the Nov. 7 election and declare the results.
  2. Oaths of Office: Newly elected council members John Nichols, Bob Brick, Linda Harvell will be sworn into office, followed by a short reception to welcome the newcomers and thank outgoing members Julie Schultz and Blanche Brick for their service.
  3. Suburban Commercial Zoning: The council will consider possible changes to Suburban Commercial Zoning districts to encourage development that’s compatible with nearby neighborhoods. Topics include architectural elements, permitted uses, buffer requirements, and lighting.
  4. Bicycle Parking Requirements: The final workshop presentation will be about the city’s bicycle parking requirements.
  5. Updates to Thoroughfare, BPG Plans: In the regular meeting, the council will consider amending the city’s Thoroughfare Plan and Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Master Plan to reflect recent revisions to the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2050 Concept.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Podcast: Is This A Thing? Dallis family’s Burger Mojo

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Talk about a down-and-dirty episode…

Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I met after hours in our neighborhood — using a portable recorder — to talk about a new restaurant concept coming to College Station.

It’s called Burger Mojo and is the latest restaurant venture for the Dallis family, which is best known for Cafe Eccell and La Bodega.

“We are very excited to be able to develop this class A location at the main crossroads of our community,” Costa Dallis said. “To be neighbors with both the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel, as well as such a strong local brand as Aggieland Outfitters, is an opportunity we count ourselves fortunate to have.”

Natalie explains what the Dallis family has in mind, where it will go, and how that business will fit into its surroundings.

Total run time: 4:20

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay 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 Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Our community needs YOU on a citizen committee

“Civic responsibility means taking a healthy role in the life of one’s community.”
Former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn

By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager

If you’re a typical, civic-minded resident of College Station, you vote on Election Day, write an occasional letter to the editor, and may even attend a city council meeting or two.

You may also wonder how to become more directly involved in local government decisions that determine the kind of community in which we live.

Here’s your chance.

You can make a genuine and meaningful difference by volunteering to serve on a city board, committee or commission. The primary qualifications are that you live in College Station and are a registered voter.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1. The city council will make appointments at its Jan. 11 meeting.

For complete details and an application, visit cstx.gov/committees. Here’s a quick look at the committees that need your help:

ARCHITECTURAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Architectural Advisory Committee provides recommendations on the scope and design of new municipal facilities. The committee bases its recommendations on architectural themes, community compatibilities, aesthetics and site use.

B/CS LIBRARY COMMITTEE: The library committee encourages development, recommends policies and programs, and coordinates with other public and private groups for the advancement of the Bryan/College Station Library System.

BICYCLE, PEDESTRIAN & GREENWAYS ADVISORY BOARD: The Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Board advises the city council, planning and zoning commission, and other appointed boards and commissions on matters concerning biking, walking, and greenways.

CONSTRUCTION BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS: The Construction Board of Adjustments hears appeals of decisions, considers interpretations of the building official, and considers variances to the terms of technical codes.

DESIGN REVIEW BOARD: The Design Review Board hears and takes action on design district site plans and concept plans for Planned Development Districts and Planned Mixed-Use Districts, as well as other duties. Some specialized skills are necessary.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMITTEE: The Historic Preservation Committee helps collect and preserve College Station’s history, provides educational opportunities, and designates historical areas. The board carries out other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the city council.

JOINT RELIEF FUNDING COMMITTEE: The Joint Relief Funding Committee reviews funding requests from charitable or other public or private assistance-type agencies and makes appropriate recommendations.

PARKS & RECREATION BOARD: The Parks & Recreation Board advises the council on the establishment, maintenance, and operations of city parks and recreation programs. The board carries out other duties and responsibilities as assigned.

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION: The Planning & Zoning Commission is a review body that recommends changes in development codes and zoning ordinances and has final authority over submitted plats. The commission also studies and makes recommendations about proposed annexations.

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS: The Zoning Board of Adjustments hears and decides appeals of zoning interpretations, special exceptions, and variances, as well as use permits and other duties.

We have abundant opportunities for you to make a difference in our community’s quality of life by serving on a board, committee or commission. With your help, we can continue to make College Station one of the nation’s best places to live, work and play.

 


About the Blogger

Lacey Lively has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. She previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.


 

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

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Nov. 9. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:17 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of executive session.

Councilman James Benham is participating by teleconference.

5:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • Architectural Advisory Committee: The five-member committee will consist of not more than three council members and two qualified citizens appointed by the council. The committee’s purpose is to “review and make recommendations on scope and schematic design for the exterior of vertical projects and the aesthetic finishes on linear projects.”
  • Greens Prairie-Arrington Cost Participation/Contract: Two items concern the addition of a traffic signal and other improvements at the Arrington Road-Greens Prairie Road intersection. The first is a cost participation agreement with the landowner and the second is a $650,000 construction contract with Palasota Contracting.
  • Cooner Street Parking Removal: The ordinance would remove parking on the south side of Cooner Street from Texas Avenue to the cul-de-sac, around the cul-de-sac, and on the north side of Cooner to the west of the intersection with MacArthur Street. Severe traffic congestion has been witnessed on Cooner because of parking on both sides of the street. School buses also are unable to complete their bus routes without drivers knocking on doors to have cars moved.

6:03 p.m.

New Police Station Design

The council reviewed fresh design concepts for the new police station that reflect the council’s desire for a traditional theme with elements such as a pitched roof, arches, columns, and a clock tower. The council directed the architect to bring back additional information as quickly as possible.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:27 p.m.

Future City Hall Location

The council voted 4-2-1 to select the current city hall property at 1101 Texas Ave. as the site for a future city hall building. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Julie Schultz voted against the motion, and Mayor Karl Mooney abstained. Basic concepts and site layouts were discussed for each of three proposed locations. The design process is tentatively scheduled to begin in FY18, with construction planned for FY19.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:36 p.m.

Student Housing in Single-Family Neighborhoods

The council discussed potential short-term and long-term options to mitigate the impact of student housing in established single-family neighborhoods, including minimum parking requirements, accessory structures, and single-family overlays. The consensus of the council was to schedule a further discussion for another workshop. 

Issues include an increasing number of student rental properties that impact neighborhood character, high market demand to re-plat and rebuild homes on single-family lots as student rental housing, and concerns about traffic, noise, and trash.

The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the following actions for consideration:

  • Amend the single-family parking requirements for new construction in areas designated Neighborhood Conservation on the Comprehensive Plan to require one parking space per bedroom.
  • Amend the accessory structures code to allow living quarters to be rented with some limitations.
  • Amend the single-family overlay code section to allow additional options for inclusion in Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:36 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended and will resume after the regular meeting, which will start after a short break.

7:47 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:53 p.m.

B-CS Regional Association of Realtors

Mayor Mooney recognized Nov. 16 as the 50th Anniversary of Bryan-College Station Regional Association of Realtors

7:56 p.m.

CSU’s Rowe Cited for Lineman Rodeo Performance

Mayor Mooney recognized College Station Utilities Lineman Justin Rowe for winning three of five events in the Annual Apprentice Lineman Rodeo last month at Veterans Park. In his second year as a CSU lineman, Rowe won first place in hurt man rescue, fuse replacement, and obstacle pole. Here’s a short highlight video of the event:

8:01 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ben Roper recognized Army 2nd Lt. Brian D. Smith as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 30-year-old McKinney native died July 2, 2004, when he was shot in combat in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

8:04 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve these consent agenda items:

  • A participation agreement with OGC Greens Prairie Investors to share the costs of intersection improvements at Greens Prairie Road and Arrington Road.
  • An interlocal agreement with Texas A&M for sharing the costs of pedestrian improvements at the intersections of FM 60 with Discovery Drive and the Large Animal Clinic driveway.
  • A $51,185.04 credit change order to an existing contract and a new emergency contract for $135,887.30 with Blastco to repair a concrete foundation at the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A $651,494.05 contract with Palasota Contracting for the Greens Prairie and Arrington Road Intersection Improvements Project.
  • A $439,126 contract with Marek Brothers Construction for renovations to the Traffic Operations Center.
  • Removal of parking on Cooner Street from Texas Avenue to near the cul-de-sac to the intersection with MacArthur Street.

The council voted separately on this consent item:

  • By a 7-0 vote, the council created an Architectural Advisory Committee, which will consist of no more than three council members and two citizens, preferably qualified, appointed by the council.

10:25 p.m.

Eastgate Neighborhood Plan Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted 4-2 to amend the Eastgate Neighborhood Plan to allow for vehicular access from Lincoln Avenue to a proposed Planned Development District (PDD) at 801 Lincoln Avenue. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Linda Harvell voted against the motion, and Councilman Barry Moore recused himself.

The PDD request proposes multi-family and commercial uses on the interior property, and single-family land uses fronting Lincoln Avenue. The amendment removes language from the Eastgate plan that restricts vehicular access between multi-family/commercial and single-family uses.

Fifteen people spoke during the public hearing, and most were against the change.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:01 p.m.

University Town Center Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning designation from General Suburban to Planned Development District for about 7½ acres at 801 Lincoln Avenue. The plan calls for multi-family and commercial uses on the interior property, and single-family land uses fronting Lincoln Avenue. Councilman Moore recused himself from the vote.

Seven people spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:02 p.m.

The council is taking a short break

11:10 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

11:12 p.m.

Corsair Drive Right-of-Way Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to abandon a 0.132-acre portion of right-of-way on Corsair Drive to allow for development. Councilwoman Julie Schultz recused herself from the vote.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:14 p.m.

Corsair Drive Easement Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to abandon a 0.083-acre portion of a 20-foot wide public utility easement on Corsair Drive to allow for development. Councilwoman Schultz recused herself from the vote.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:15 p.m.

Brazos Central Appraisal District Appointments

The council voted unanimously to reappoint Ron Kaiser to the Brazos Central Appraisal District board of directors. The current term expires Dec. 31.

11:16 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

11:19 p.m.

The remaining workshop item about suburban commercial zoning districts has been pulled and will be discussed at a later date.

The council has gone into executive session.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 20.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

  1. Student Housing in Neighborhoods: In the workshop, the council will discuss possible ways to address the impacts of student housing in single-family neighborhoods. Topics include minimum parking requirements and single-family overlays.
  2. Suburban Commercial Zoning: The council will consider possible changes to Suburban Commercial Zoning districts to encourage development compatible with nearby neighborhoods. Topics include architectural elements, permitted uses, buffer requirements, and lighting.
  3. Police Station Design Concepts: The council will weigh three fresh concepts for the design of the new police station that reflect architectural elements council members requested last month.
  4. Future City Hall: The final workshop presentation will be about possible locations, basic concepts and site layouts for a future city hall.
  5. Greens Prairie-Arrington Improvements: The consent agenda includes two items regarding the addition of a traffic signal and other improvements at the Arrington Road-Greens Prairie Road intersection. The first issue is a cost participation agreement and the second is a $650,000 construction contract.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Colin has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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