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

(L-R): Bob Brick, Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, Karl Mooney (mayor), John Nichols, Barry Moore, James Benham.

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 12. 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.

4:34 p.m.

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

Councilman John Nichols is absent tonight.

4:55 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:

  • Brazos County Health Director: The Brazos County Health Department Board has recommended appointing Santos Navarrette, Jr., as the next health department director.
  • Parking Garage Control System: Staff determined that none of the five proposals received this spring for a parking access and revenue control system in the College Main Parking Garage would fulfill the requirements.
  • Dockless Bike Share Ordinance: Texas A&M entered into an exclusive contract with Ofo for a bike share program in February and the program was launched in March with 850 yellow bikes. A&M plans to expand the fleet to at least 3,000 bikes this fall. The ordinance regulates how the bikes are used off campus.

5:15 p.m.

Community Development Budget and Annual Action Plan

The council reviewed the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Community Development budget and Program Year 2018 Annual Action Plan. The city is required each year to submit to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development an action plan describing projects and activities funded with community development grants.

The grants for PY18 include $1.1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds and $502,414 in HOME Investment Partnership Program funds.  The budget includes previously programmed but unspent grant funds of $627,616 (CDBG) and $281,579 (HOME).

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:57 p.m.

Middle Housing Zoning Districts

The consensus of the council was to support the creation of a middle housing zoning district as part of the Unified Development Ordinance. Middle housing is a variety of housing types that are between a detached single-family house and a traditional apartment complex.

Duplexes and townhomes are allowed within the existing zoning code, but other types such as patio homes, fourplex, and bungalow courts are also included in the middle housing district. Multiplexes will have a maximum of 12 units for a building and lot. Height will be limited to 3 stories and is subject to the UDO’s single-family height protection rules. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:15 p.m.

Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts

The consensus of the council was for staff to clarify the process regarding changes Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO) Districts section in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. The NCO allows neighborhoods to self-impose additional development standards on single-family properties from options that are generally more restrictive than the standard requirements.

Examples of categories that may be included are changes to minimum setbacks, maximum height, minimum lot size, tree preservation, and on-site parking.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

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.

7:30 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:41 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Fred Dupriest spoke about neighborhood integrity issues.
  • Shirley Dupriest asked for clarification on aspects of the homestead exemption recently passed by the council.
  • Richard Woodward also spoke about neighborhood integrity issues.

7:43 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • The appointment of Santos Navarette, Jr., as Brazos County Board of Health Director.
  • Rejection of proposals for a parking access and revenue control system in the College Main Parking Garage.
  • An $84,301.88 change order to the Greens Prairie Substation contract.
  • Renewal of contracts totaling $290,000 with Spherion Staffing and Kelly Services for temporary personnel services.
  • Extension of the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction from 3½ miles to 5 miles beyond the city limits.
  • An ordinance regulating dockless bike share services.

In a separate vote, the council unanimously approved the corrected minutes from the June 28 council meeting.

7:50 p.m.

Holleman Drive South Rezoning

After a public hearing, The council unanimously approved a request to change the zoning from Planned Development District to General Suburban for about five acres north of the Holleman Drive South-Deacon Drive West intersection. The change will allow for the development of a church.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:55 p.m.

Harvey Mitchell Parkway Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-0 to approve a request to change the zoning from Light Industrial to General Suburban and Natural Areas Protected for about 2½ acres at 1726 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy. Councilman Barry Moore recused himself from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:56 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, July 26.

 


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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Summer workshops are the key to smart yard irrigation

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

With July being Smart Irrigation Month, it’s an ideal time to improve the efficiency of your outdoor irrigation system.

The City of College Station is here to help.

If learning how to program your sprinkler controller, spot irrigation leaks, and cut your water bills rank high (or at least somewhere) among your summer goals, you’ll want to attend one of College Station Water Services’ free summer workshops.

The first one is Saturday, followed by additional sessions on July 21 and Aug. 4. Each workshop is from 9:30 a.m.-noon at the College Station Utilities Meeting and Training Facility at 1603 Graham Rd.

Each participating household receives a rain gauge, soil moisture meter, and $25 gift card to a home improvement store to start you on your way to saving water. Residents will learn valuable sprinkler system maintenance tips, see the latest in water-saving sprinkler technology, get pro tips from a licensed irrigator, and learn how to receive weekly watering advice from the Brazos Valley Water Smart Network.

If you bring a friend, you’re eligible for a bonus prize!

If you can answer “yes” to at least one of the following statements, make plans to attend one of the workshops.

  • You water three or more times per week and are afraid that scaling back your schedule will damage your lawn.
  • You have a small lot or water only a small backyard, but your summer water bill exceeds $30-40.
  • You’ve had high summer bills in the past and want to avoid a repeat.
  • You don’t receive weekly watering recommendations from Brazos Valley Water Smart.
  • Your driveway or front sidewalk is wet after every irrigation cycle.
  • You have dry spots in your yard despite regular watering and don’t know how to fix it.
  • You don’t know how much water your system uses or how much your lawn needs.
  • Your irrigation system doesn’t have a rain shut-off device — or you don’t know what one is!
  • You see fogging or misting when your sprinkler system operates.

For more information or to register, contact Water Resource Coordinator Jennifer Nations at 979-764-6223 or jnations@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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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 (4:30 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Community Development Action Plan: The council will review the proposed Community Development budget and Annual Action Plan. The federal grant amounts for Program Year 2018 include $1.1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds and $502,414 in HOME Investment Partnership Program funds.
  2. Neighborhood Integrity Issues: In two workshop items, the council will discuss the creation of a middle housing zoning district and changes to the neighborhood conservation overlay district section in the Unified Development Ordinance.
  3. Bike Share Regulations: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider regulations regarding Texas A&M’s dockless bike share program. The university introduced the program with 850 yellow bikes in March and will expand the fleet to at least 3,000 this fall.
  4. Holleman Drive South Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the zoning from Planned Development District to General Suburban for about five acres north of the Holleman Drive South-Deacon Drive West intersection.
  5. Harvey Mitchell Parkway Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the zoning from Light Industrial to General Suburban and Natural Areas Protected for about 2½ acres at 1726 Harvey Mitchell Parkway.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 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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5 awesome things to discover in our beautiful parks

By Hallie Hutchins, Parks & Recreation Marketing Assistant

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder

What better way to celebrate Parks & Recreation Month in July than to explore the beautiful parks that significantly enhance our community’s quality of life.

With College Station’s 50 developed parks covering more than 1,300 acres, we have plenty of room and activities for everyone.

Need some suggestions? Here are five free activities for you to consider this month:

1. Gaga Ball and Splash Pad

>>> W. A. Tarrow Park, 1000 Eleanor St.

College Station Parks and Recreation offers more than 60 play units in our city parks, but this one leaves you especially gaga. Everyone’s going gaga over gaga – but what is it?

Gaga is a fast-paced, high-energy sport played in an octagonal pit. It’s a kinder, gentler version of dodgeball that combines the skills of dodging, striking, running and jumping. Participants try to hit opponents below the knees with a soft foam ball. Players must keep moving to avoid getting hit. It’s fun and easy and provides a serious workout.  The more players, the better!

After your gaga game, you can go cool off at the free outdoor splash pad. The fun, brightly colored tipping buckets and directional spray areas safely entertain kids of all ages. The fully accessible splash pad is open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and noon-8 p.m. on weekends through Labor Day.

2. Picnics

>>> Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, 1000 Krenek Tap Rd.

What better way to enjoy nature than going on a simple picnic?

Stephen C. Beach Central Park offers lots of green space to enjoy an outdoor meal. You can set up a classic picnic under the trees by the pond and watch the ducks and fishers, sit beneath the gazebo, or use a picnic table and cookout on the barbeque pit. The park also offers a covered pavilion with restrooms.

The most beautiful thing about a picnic is its versatility. You can make it simple or sophisticated with many days of planning or quickly pack the essentials for some impromptu fun.

Of course, there’s more to picnicking than just eating, and Central Park has plenty of fun activities. You can play a pickup game on the basketball courts, or play sand volleyball, flag football, soccer or frisbee on the athletic fields. The park also has a pair of lighted tennis courts, a play unit for the little ones, a one-mile walking trail, and two ponds stocked with plenty of hungry fish.

3. Trails

>>> Veterans Memorial Mile & Lynn Stuart Pathway, 3101 Harvey Rd.

The Veterans Memorial Mile is a mile-long path that reveals our military history through 700 brick pavers embedded in the sidewalk. Where else can you get a vivid history lesson while exercising in a beautiful setting? A trip around the loop provides a year-to-year historical progression.

The Lynn Stuart Pathway is a half-mile walking path through a wooded, shaded area that features a series of historically correct bronze statues. The interpretive panels and statues provide strong visual representations of the brave veterans who fought in battles throughout our nation’s history.

We encourage you to get off the beaten path and explore our more than 30 miles of nature and jogging/walking trails.

4. Dog Parks

>>> Barracks Park, 205 Capps Dr.

Oh, the dog days of summer!

Take your canine companion out for some summer fun at Barracks Park, a fenced-in recreational area with benches and a covered shelter for owners to relax while their pups play. You’ll need to keep them hydrated with the fountains at the side of the park.

>>> Lick Creek Park, 13600 East Rock Prairie Rd.

With five miles of wooded trails to conquer, Lick Creek is for owners and dogs that prefer a little adventure.

>>> Steeplechase Park, 301 Westridge Dr.

Steeplechase is the perfect playground to release than pent-up summer energy with play units for the kids and a fenced-in area for your pup.

>>> University Park, 300 Park Rd.

University Park has opportunities for both small and large dogs with separate fenced-in play areas. It also has a walkway through the woods that leads to a large pond. Let them cool off, jump in the water for a swim, and frolic with the other dogs.

5. Instagrammable Photos

College Station’s parks do much more than enhance our quality of life and provide recreation and leisure activities. They’re also ideal places to raise your Instagram game.

After all, if you didn’t take a picture, did it really happen? Even if you have lived here for years, you will find a plethora of picture-worthy treasures, hidden gems, and overlooked sweet spots to capture on camera.

Here are a few of “Instagrammable” hot spots to get you started:

>>> Brison Park, 400 Dexter Dr.

Tucked in the Southside Historic District just a few blocks from the A&M campus is nine-acre Brison Park, a neighborhood oasis that might be the most beautiful and serene green spot in our entire parks system. Acquired in 1947, it’s among our oldest parks and is full of historic character with 100-year-old oak trees, a seasonal stream, and gently rolling hills.

>>> Gabbard Park, 1201 Dexter Dr.

Gabbard Park has all the elements to supply beautiful photography backdrops. You can find flowers and trees blooming with color, classic park benches overlooking a pond occupied by paddling ducks, a walking bridge, and a winding, lighted trail.

>>> Lick Creek Park, 13600 East Rock Prairie Rd.

Many people consider the 515-acre Lick Creek Park to be the crown jewel of College Station’s park system. As the area’s premier nature preserve, Lick Creek displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. The park has five miles of marked trails and opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study. Lick Creek is a nature lover’s dream.

Take advantage of Parks and Recreation Month and discover something awesome right here in College Station!

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Hutchins is in her fourth year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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10 tips to help you safely celebrate Independence Day

ByGreg Rodgers, CSFD Division 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. Read the rest of this page »

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (June 28)

(L-R): Bob Brick, Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, Karl Mooney (mayor), John Nichols, Barry Moore, James Benham.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, June 28. 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.

5:09 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilman James Benham is participating by teleconference. No action was taken out of executive session.

5:13 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • Specialty Mix Contract: In April, the city joined Brazos County in a joint bid for one-inch overlay with specialty mix. The city recommends awarding its portion to Brazos Paving – the lowest responsible bidder – for an amount not-to-exceed $432,000.

6:08 p.m.

Dockless Bike Share Regulations

The council discussed possible regulations regarding Texas A&M’s dockless bike share program. The university contracted with a company to launch the program in March with 850 bikes. They plan to expand to at least 3,000 bikes this fall.

The consensus of the council was to move forward in drafting the ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:09 p.m.

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

6:19 p.m.

The regular meeting has started. Four local Boys Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance – Mark Johnson of Troop 802 and Camden Stackhouse, Patrick Stackhouse and Kieran Wylie of Troop 102.

6:22 p.m.

The council observed a moment of silence in remembrance of former Mayor Ron Silvia, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 80.

6:25 p.m.

Hear Visitors

No one signed up to speak during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

6:26 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A three-year contract not to exceed $797,355 with Shermco Industries for electric substation testing and maintenance.
  • A $13,265 change order to a contract with TriTech Software Systems to add FireView to the Police Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
  • The repayment of $1,277,906 of unspent funds in TIRZ 1 to the College Station Independent School District.
  • A contract not to exceed $432,000 with Brazos Paving for the installation of one-inch overlay with specialty mix.
  • A $53,475 Change Order to the contract with JaCody for the Lincoln Recreation Center addition.
  • A $327,000 contract with Dudley Construction for a basketball pavilion at John Crompton Park.
  • Temporary speed limits at the FM60 and FM2818 interchange.

6:36 p.m.

Rezoning on Aurora Court

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a request to change the zoning from General Suburban to Duplex for about five acres on Aurora Court near the intersection of Anderson Street and Park Place. The change will allow the development of low- to medium-density residential uses.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:24 p.m.

Homestead Tax Exemption

The council voted 5-0 – with Councilwoman Linda Harvell and Councilman Bob Brick abstaining – to approve a five percent homestead property tax exemption on the appraised value of a residence homestead. The exemption would result in the loss of $644,000 in annual city revenue, which could be mitigated by a .759-cent property tax rate increase in the FY19 budget

An earlier motion to raise the percentage to 7.5 percent failed. A second motion to raise the percentage to 10 percent also failed.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:27 p.m.

Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Advisory Board

The council unanimously appointed Elizabeth Hatala and Allen Thornton to the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Advisory Board.

7:29 p.m.

After the council discussed and reviewed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop will resume after a short break.

7:43 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

9:11 p.m.

Accessory Living Quarters and Single-Family Parking

The council discussed possible changes to the accessory uses and off-street parking standards sections in the Unified Development Ordinance. A pair of community engagement meetings were conducted in late April, along with an extensive survey. See pages 14-78 of tonight’s meeting packet for full survey results, including comments.

The consensus of the council was to pursue ordinance changes that allow accessory living quarters to be rented with provisions regarding the number of unrelated occupants (two), additional parking (one with grandfathering options), limiting the number to one per property, and requiring the owner live on-site.

Council also directed staff to pursue changes that require one off-street parking space per bedroom in Neighborhood Conservation areas.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:43 p.m.

Single-Family Height Protection

The council discussed possible changes to the height protection section in the Unified Development Ordinance. A pair of community engagement meetings were conducted in late April, along with an extensive survey. See pages 86-120 of tonight’s meeting packet for full survey results, including comments.

The consensus of the council was to keep the existing requirements but clarify the ordinance language.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:48 p.m.

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

The council meets again on Thursday, July 12.

 


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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