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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (July 13)

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, July 13. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

3:33 p.m.

The workshop has started.

3:43 p.m.

Fire Prevention Audit

The council heard a presentation on the city internal auditor‘s recent Fire Prevention Audit, which found that the city’s Fire Prevention Division is compliant with federal, state, and local laws and regulations and aligns with industry best practices. The audit identified two areas where operations could be improved — annual inspections and the dissemination of information.

Due to the city’s rapid growth, the Fire Prevention Division allocates most of its resources toward new construction reviews and tests, which hinders existing structure inspections. The audit found no evidence of fires that could have been prevented by direct inspector action, but the city could be exposed to unidentified hazards and an unknown level of risk. The Fire Prevention Division’s reporting system also presents inaccurate and limited fire origin-and-cause information, which hinders the division when evaluating the impact and effectiveness of operations.

The audit recommends the division investigate strategies to bolster annual inspection activities and that it develops a process to report fire cause-and-origin information to aid public education and code enforcement efforts.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

3:48 p.m.

Bob Meyer Restricted Gift

The council received an update on the Bob Meyer gift fund. In 2013, Meyer bequeathed a portion of his estate to the City of College Station Parks and Recreation Department for the benefit and advancement of programs for senior citizens. The restricted fund amount received to date is $570,245.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

3:49 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended, and the council has gone into executive session. The live blog will resume when the council returns at 6 p.m.

6:33 p.m.

The workshop has resumed. The council took no action coming out of executive session. Councilman James Benham is out of town but is participating via teleconference.

6:34 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. No items were pulled for workshop discussion.

6:48 p.m.

Legislative Update

The council heard an overview of actions taken by the 85th Texas State Legislature that might impact the City of College Station.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:15 p.m.

Rental Registration Update

The council discussed the city’s Rental Registration program. The council directed staff to bring back changes such as eliminating the renewal requirement and requiring that fourplexes also be registered.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:16 p.m.

Experience Bryan-College Station

The council dropped the discussion of issues related to Experience Bryan-College Station from tonight’s agenda.

7:18 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:28 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:35 p.m.

Technology Excellence Award

Eric Caldwell, Brazos County’s chief information officer and a member the Texas Association of Governmental Information Technology Managers’ Education Committee, presented the Technology Excellence Award to IT Director Ben Roper for the city’s Code Enforcement Mobile Mapping Application. Pictured below are Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler, Caldwell, Mayor Karl Mooney, and Community Services Director Debbie Eller.

7:41 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Ben Roper recognized Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Green as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Dallas native died on May 4, 2004, while on a night mission in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
  • Fred Dupriest, a representative of the Southside neighborhood advocacy group, spoke in opposition to the rezoning of a property in the area.

7:42 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $1.13 million contract with McDonald Municipal & Industrial for the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Generator Addition Project.
  • An ordinance a making Newton Road one-way between Aberdeen Place and George Bush Drive.
  • Terminated an economic development agreement with the Research Valley Partnership and PM Realty Group and approved a related Release of Memorandum of Economic Development Agreement.
  • Added No Parking Here to Corner on the east side of Stasney Street extending south 85 feet from its intersection with Cherry Street.
  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) fees of $37,000.
  • Modified the city’s definition and requirements for a special event.
  • A $339,853.30 contract with TF Harper for improvements to various city park playgrounds.
  • A bid award for 15 kV circuit breakers and a 138 kV circuit switcher for the Graham Road Substation Construction Project and to be maintained in inventory. To achieve economy of scale pricing on the 15 kV circuit breakers, capital and operational needs for FY18 projects were combined. The total recommended award is $746,347 and will be awarded by line item to the lowest responsible bidder.
  • Authorized a license agreement with Bracol Developers for a 62-square-foot encroachment into the public utility easement in the Prairie View Heights Subdivision.
  • An amendment to the agreement with Wirestar for the lease of city fiber optic cable facilities.
  • Renewal of contracts estimated at $340,000 with Spherion Staffing and Kelly Services for temporary personnel services.
  • A contract for a grant of $220,000 in federal HOME Investment Partnership Grant Program Community Housing Development Organization Set-Aside funds to Elder-Aid for the acquisition and rehabilitation of two houses at 3400-3402 Normand Drive to be used as affordable rental housing for income-eligible elderly households.
  • A contract for Community Development Partnership Grant funds of $794,000 with Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity for the acquisition, development, and infrastructure costs related to the construction of at least eight affordable single-family homes at 14015 Renee Lane.
  • A contract for Community Development Partnership Grant funds of $471,500 to Twin City Mission for the acquisition and rehabilitation costs related to the creation of four affordable rental units at 2404 Blanco Drive. A $110,598 contract with Binkley & Barfield for professional engineering services related to the preliminary design of the FM 2154/Holleman Intersection Safety Improvements Project.
  • A change order decreasing by by $70,631.41 the contract with Binkley and Barfield for the FM 2818 Capacity Improvement Project. The new contract total is $500,471.09.
  • A $397,190.36 contract with Binkley and Barfield for engineering and surveying services associated with the FM 2818 Capacity Improvements Project.
  • Renewal of annual blanket purchase orders not to exceed $1.82 million with Knife River ($1.4 million) and Brazos Paving ($427,000) for Type D hot mix asphalt to be picked up by city crews for the maintenance of streets.
  • A $240,036 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates for design and construction phase services for the Southwood Valley Trunk Line Phase I Project.
  • A $266,000 contract with Jones & Carter for the design, bidding, and construction administration for the State Highway 6 Waterline Phase III project.
  • An interlocal agreement with Texas A&M regarding construction and maintenance of sidewalks constructed as part of Phase 2 of the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project.

8:20 p.m.

Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay Bid

The council voted 6-1 to reject the low bid from Texcon General Contractors and approve a contract not to exceed $472,000 with Brazos Paving for the construction and or installation of one-inch overlay with specialty mix as needed. Councilwoman Julie Schultz voted against the motion.

The council rejected the Texcon bid because it did not meet criteria in the Texas Government Code. Council also directed staff to create eligibility guidelines regarding bidders and vendors who have committed crimes against the city. 

8:25 p.m.

Southwest Parkway Drainage Bid

The council voted 6-1 to reject the low bid from Texcon General Contractors and approve a contract not to exceed $286,088 with Palasota Contracting for the replacement of storm sewer, sidewalk and other drainage improvements along Southwest Parkway.  Councilwoman Schultz voted against the motion.

The council rejected the Texcon bid because it did not meet criteria in the Texas Government Code. Council also directed staff to create eligibility guidelines regarding bidders and vendors who have committed crimes against the city. 

10:07 p.m.

Pebble Creek Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to Restricted Suburban for Block 21 (5201 Pebble Creek Parkway) at the intersection of Pebble Creek Parkway and Champions Boulevard. The motion includes a 25-foot buffer off Champions. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

The council voted 5-2 to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to General Suburban for Block 20 (5101 Pebble Creek Parkway) at the intersection of Pebble Creek Parkway and Champions Boulevard. The motion includes a 25-foot buffer. Councilwomen Linda Harvell and Brick voted against it.

An earlier motion by Councilman Jerome Rektorik to vote separately on each property block passed by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Brick voted against the motion.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

10:08 p.m.

The council will return after a short break.

10:19 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

10:51 p.m.

Harper’s Crossing Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to deny a request to amend part of the Harper’s Crossing Planned Development District and associated concept plan to allow for fuel sales. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:54 p.m.

Stotzer-Turkey Creek Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning designations for about 18 acres northeast of the intersection of Turkey Creek Road and the Raymond Stotzer Parkway frontage road to allow for development. Councilman Barry Moore recused himself from the vote.

The amendment adjusts the zoning district boundary between the subject properties. The land use composition changes from 12 acres Multi-Family and 5.8 acres General Commercial to 13.2 acres Multi-Family and 4.6 acres General Commercial.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:57 p.m.

The council discussed future agenda items.

10:57 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, July 27.

 


About the Author

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 been 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 (3:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Chimney Hill Economic Development Agreement: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider terminating a 2013 agreement for the redevelopment of the Chimney Hill Shopping Center property on University Drive. The property owner wants to modify the plans to reflect changes in the market and move toward a more traditional suburban commercial project.
  2. Playground Improvements: The council will consider a $340,000 contract for new playground structures at Brothers Pond, Lemontree and Bright parks, and rubber surfacing in the playground areas at Edelweiss Gartens and Woodland Hills parks.
  3. Affordable Housing: The consent agenda includes three items related to affordable housing projects: A $220,000 federal grant to Elder Aid, Inc., for the rehabilitation of two homes on Normand Drive;  a $794,000 federal grant to B-CS Habitat for Humanity to build at least eight homes on Renee Lane, and a $471,500 federal grant to Twin City Mission to create four rental units on Blanco Drive.
  4. FM2818 Capacity Improvements: The council will consider a $397,000 contract for engineering and surveying services related to the capacity improvements on FM2818 from Wellborn Road to north of George Bush Drive.
  5. Pebble Creek Rezoning: In the regular meeting, the council will consider a request to rezone about 2.4 acres on Pebble Creek Parkway from Rural to Restricted Suburban and General Suburban. The chance would allow for the subdivision of the property.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. 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 done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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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10 tips to help you safely celebrate Independence Day

By Greg Rodgers, CSFD Battalion Chief

Most of us build our traditional Independence Day celebrations around family and friends —  not to mention plenty of bright and colorful fireworks.

Don’t let fireworks injuries spoil the fun.

More fires are typically reported across the country on Independence Day than any other day. Fireworks account for about half of those blazes, resulting in scores of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.

Hospital emergency rooms treat thousands of fireworks-related injuries, with more than a third of the victims under the age of 15. Most of the injuries are to hands, fingers, eyes, ears, faces, and heads.

Can you guess what types of fireworks cause the most injuries? It’s not bottle rockets, roman candles or small firecrackers. It’s those innocent-looking sparklers, which produce about a third of all fireworks-related injuries.

Considering that sparklers burn at 1,200 degrees, that shouldn’t be all that surprising. Glow sticks are a safer alternative for younger children.

As you prepare for your Fourth of July celebration, here are 10 things to keep in mind:

  1. The possession or discharge of fireworks in the city — or within 5,000 feet of the city limits — is punishable by fines of up to $2,000.
  2. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a professional fireworks display such as the “I Love America” celebration at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The City of College Station proudly helps underwrite this annual event.
  3. Should you choose to use fireworks, read the labels first and wear safety glasses.
  4. Never give fireworks to children. An adult should supervise all fireworks activities.
  5. Light one firework at a time, then quickly move away.
  6. Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
  7. Never re-light a dud. Wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.
  8. Always have a bucket of water and a charged water hose nearby.
  9. Never shoot fireworks near pets. Make sure your pets — especially those sensitive to loud noises — are in a place where they feel safe and comfortable.
  10. Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.

For more information, contact me at 979-229-6625 or grodgers@cstx.gov.

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!


About the Blogger

Greg Rodgers is in his 30th year with the College Station Fire Department, where he is a battalion chief and serves as the department’s public information officer. A native of San Antonio, Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency management administration from West Texas A&M in 2008.


 

Photo Copyright: feelart/123RF Stock Photo

 

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Podcast: Is this a thing? What’s coming to CS (episode 3)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This is the third edition of “Is This a Thing?” with Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz, who talks about restaurants and retail that are more than just a rumor.

This interview covers a lot of ground — all throughout College Station.

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to hear to the audio file from your system.

 

00:00 – Opening.

01:57 — Home Depot shopping center: New arrivals, and status of vacant space.

02:47 — Pappadeaux: Yes, it’s still coming…

04:03 — University Town Center: Plans for 70K square feet behind Abuelo’s, etc. Status update.

05:13 — Chimney Hill: Was a thing, then a different thing. Now becoming a third thing. Comments on market forces and on doubling the size of The Republic.

08:30 — Old Albertson’s location. Status update.

10:45 — Embassy Suites: Opening in September.

11:35 — Dunkin’ Donuts: Still a thing, but…at a different location?

12:43 — Century Square: Comments on hotels and restaurant/retail: Porter’s Steakhouse, Piada Italian Street Food, Mo’s Irish Pub, Zoe’s Kitchen, Blaze Pizza, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Berryhill Baja Grill, Hey Sugar Candy Store, Tiff’s Treats, Subzero Nitrogen Ice Cream, Star Cinema Grille, Merge Boutique, Orangetheory Fitness, Neighbors ER, and 100 Park.

14:55 — Northgate high-rises: $209M in new value currently under construction = 2,700 new bedrooms. Comments on vehicle volume, retail that could follow, and peak property values.

18:05 — Discussions about best uses for the property near IHOP and The Stack.

19:53 — New HEB at Wellborn Road and FM-2818, and what could be in future phases of the development.

22:10 — Tower Point: Restaurants that are coming.

23:28 — Rumors of a second Target? Status of the southeast corner of Rudder Freeway and W.D. Fitch.

25:30 — New construction near Baylor Scott & White Hospital on Rock Prairie Road.

26:12 — Mercedes/BMW dealership and new hotel development.

26:37 — New Academy store and surrounding pad sites.

27:21 — Old Academy location + status of Gander Mountain.

29:08 — TRYP by Wyndham, Urban Bricks, Altitude Trampoline Park.

32:12 — Status of In-N-Out Burger.

34:08 – BONUS.

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth 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 also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Is the color orange really banned in College Station?

By Lauren Hovde, Senior Planner

Have you heard the one about the City of College Station not allowing businesses to have orange on their buildings? Or that we require establishments with predominantly orange accents to add Aggie maroon to their facades?

Those rumors about our architectural regulations are common – but false.

As much as we love Aggie maroon, College Station doesn’t prohibit orange. We don’t require the addition of maroon to comply with our architectural standards, either.

In other words, Whataburger wasn’t forced to add the famous maroon roof panel that proclaims its support for Texas A&M.

The City of College Station has an approved color palette from which businesses may choose the hue of their choice. The palette is anchored by semi-muted tones to maintain cohesiveness throughout the community.

Each building is allowed to use a limited percentage of accent colors so businesses can exhibit individuality and flair. That’s where you see vibrant colors come into play.

Next time you hear someone say College Station has banned the color orange, you’ll know the real story.

 


About the Blogger

Senior Planner Lauren Hovde started her second stint with the City of College Station this spring after serving as a staff planner from 2008-13. She was regional services planner for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments from 2006-08. A native of Josephine, Lauren earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M.


 

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Promoting safety with the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson

By Bridget Russell, Interim Aquatics Supervisor

If you’ve ever wanted to be part of setting a world record, here’s your chance.

On Thursday, June 22, you are invited to join College Station Aquatics at Adamson Lagoon for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The free 50-minute lesson begins at 8 a.m. and will cover safe-swim topics for all ages and experience levels. Preregistration is not required.

Since the World Waterpark Association introduced the event in 2010, the City of College Station has helped the organization set world records while promoting water safety and raising awareness about the importance of learning to swim. The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson brings together tens of thousands of individuals around the world to participate in the same lesson in a 24-hour period.

Last year, more than 40,000 kids and adults participated in WLSL events in 24 countries, including 50 at Adamson Lagoon. Aquatic facilities from Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston to schools in India taught the lesson with one message in mind — swimming lessons save lives.

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is among the top five causes of death for people from 1-14 years of age. Research shows the risk of drowning can be reduced by 88 percent if children participate in formal swimming lessons between ages 1-4.

That means drowning is preventable, and swimming is a vital life-saving skill.

In addition to lessons, we offer these tips to keep your kids safe at the pool this summer:

  • Never leave children unattended. Parents are the first line of defense in keeping kids safe in the water. If your child is in the water, you should be, too.
  • Follow posted safety rules and warnings. Teach kids that being safe in and around the water is a personal responsibility — yours and theirs.
  • Teach your children to always swim with a buddy and never alone or in unsupervised places.
  • If you or a family member is a weak or non-swimmer, wear a life vest. College Station pools provide them at no cost.
  • Keep toddlers in shallow play areas.
  • Don’t use air-filled swimming aids such as water wings in place of life jackets. These items provide a sense of false security and may increase the risk of drowning. Swimming aids and other inflatables aren’t allowed in College Station pools.

For information about swim lessons, visit cstx.gov/swim.

 


About the Blogger

Interim Aquatics Supervisor Bridget Russell has served as pool manager for the City of College Station every summer since 2012 and is a certified lifeguard instructor. She also teaches in the Bryan Independent School District. A native of Torrance, Calif., Bridget earned master’s (2012) and bachelor’s (2011) degrees in sport management from Texas A&M.


 

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