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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 meets at city hall on Thursday for its workshop (after 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings. Public attendance is restricted.

The meetings are streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter webinar number 935 8354 7898. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

To address the council via Zoom about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — you must register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Parks & Recreation User Fees: In the workshop, the council will discuss the methodology used to establish user fees for parks and recreation services, including recovery policies, program subsidies, and how fees fit into the policies.
  2. Easement Abandonment: After a public hearing in the regular meeting, the council will consider a request to abandon small portions of 20-foot wide public utility easements in the Century Hill Development Subdivision to address site constraints. The remaining easements are adequate to serve existing public infrastructure.
  3. Graham Road Land Use: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the land use from Suburban Commercial to Urban for about 10 acres west of the International Leadership of Texas public charter school campus on Graham Road. The change would allow for townhomes, duplexes, and high-density apartments.
  4. SH 6 Waterline Easements: The council will consider authorizing eminent domain proceedings for public utility easements and temporary construction easements on three small parcels of land as part of the third phase of the State Highway 6 waterline project. The project will install 18-inch and 20-inch waterlines along the frontage road from north of Woodcreek Drive to north of Emerald Plaza.
  5. City Storm Response: The council will discuss the city’s response to last week’s winter storm across Texas, which severely stressed the infrastructure and core services provided by state and local governments.

Related Links:                                                            

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the 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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Meeting Planners Showcase scheduled for March 11

By Kendra Davis, Visit College Station Event Coordinator

The 27th Meeting Planners Showcase set for March 11 at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center allows meeting and event planners to establish relationships with local businesses to make their events successful. 

Reflecting on simpler times inspired this year’s theme of “Back to the Basics.” Some 40 vendors — such as caterers, hotels, venues, attractions, event planners, and florists — are participating, and we’ve encouraged them to decorate their booths to underscore the theme.

The showcase is free to the public, starts about 10 a.m., and wraps up at 1 p.m. The event is open not just to local planners but to those in surrounding areas as well. Preregistration is required by March 4. The first 100 attendees through the door receive a free tote bag.

Register for the Meeting Planners Showcase

We’ve also added Q&A sessions to allow vendors to speak to attendees one-on-one and answer questions about their products and services. Here’s the Q&A schedule:

  • Party Time Rentals: 10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
  • Texas A&M Hotel: 11:30 a.m. – noon
  • Visit College Station: 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. 

Register for a Q&A Session

Since we had to cancel last year’s event because of the pandemic outbreak, we’re especially thrilled to host the showcase in-person and show area planners that we’re eager to make their events successful while abiding by established safety protocols. 

Join us for this unique, one-stop-shop for effective planning of events and meetings in the Brazos Valley!

 


About the Blogger

Kendra Davis is in her second year with Visit College Station and her first as event coordinator. She is a certified professional event manager and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism, and event planning and management. Kendra is a native of Clarendon.


 

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City waives winter storm repair permit fees

By Michael Ostrowski, Director of Planning and Development Services

The City of College Station’s Planning and Development Services is waiving required permit fees for residential or commercial repairs related to this week’s winter storm. 

To receive the waiver when applying through the city’s online permitting system (eTRAKIT), select “2021 Winter Storm Repair” as the permit type, then the appropriate subtype for the repair.  

The permit fee waiver will be in effect for permit applications through March 7.  Work not related to storm damage does not qualify. Homeowners and contractors should apply for the appropriate permit type for that work through eTRAKiT.

The city requires contractors to register before obtaining a permit. When registering, contractors must provide:

  • Copy of state license.
  • Certificate of insurance.
  • Registration fee.
  • Completed contractor registration form. 

A homeowner may obtain a building permit for work on a building they own and occupy as a homestead. However, licensed contractors must obtain electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits. 

Permits are required for:

  • Building a new structure or altering or repairing an existing structure, including replacing roof coverings and windows. Exceptions include cosmetic repairs, including wall coverings that don’t alter structural components.
  • Installing, altering, or repairing a plumbing system. Exceptions include unstopping a drain line, provided that a trap, drain, waste, or vent pipe isn’t removed and replaced with new material. A plumbing permit is also required to install, alter, enlarge, or repair a gas piping system.
  • Installing electrical wiring, devices, appliances, fixtures, and electrical equipment, except for replacing fuses, snap switches, and signal-conveying systems.
  • Installing, altering, repairing, or replacing a mechanical system. Exceptions include installing portable heating devices and cooling units, and the replacement of any minor part that doesn’t alter the approval of equipment or make it unsafe.

For more information about the permitting and registration process, contact Planning and Development Services’ Building Division at cspds@cstx.gov or 979-764-3570.

 


About the Blogger

Michael Ostrowski is in his first year as director of Planning and Development Services. He previously served as assistant planning and development director in San Marcos after many years with municipalities in Wisconsin. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, political science and public administration from Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and master’s degrees in public administration and urban planning from Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


 

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Protect your pipes now before the freeze hits

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

With sustained freezing temperatures in our forecast, it’s time for a quick chemistry lesson.

Water expands when freezing, so any water left in pipes such as sprinkler systems can freeze, expand, and — POW! — create a big, messy water leak. With that in mind, College Station Water Services has some precautions to help protect your water pipes and irrigation system.

Before the freeze

  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses from outside faucets to allow water to drain from the pipe so an overnight freeze doesn’t damage the faucet or the pipe.
  • Find the isolation valve for your sprinkler system and use that to turn off the water to the sprinkler system. Then, drain water from any above-ground backflow prevention devices
  • Insulate exposed outside pipes or faucets in unheated areas with Styrofoam cover, rags, or paper. Also wrap or cover exposed PVC pipes and above-ground backflow preventers.
  • Be sure your irrigation controller is set to off and leave it in that position. If the controller isn’t turned off, it will run.
  • Pay particular attention to exposed backflow prevention devices. These can cause significant leaks if they freeze, often in the form of water geysers shooting several feet in the air.
  • Find your master water shutoff valve and make sure everyone in your household knows where it’s located. The valve is typically near your meter between it and your home.

During the freeze

  • Don’t run your irrigation system during freezing weather. If your sprinkler controller is not in the off position, it will run. Running them during a freeze is also against city ordinance.
  • Be cautious about unplugging your controller; some controllers will lose all programming and revert to default mode when plugged back in, which means it will water every day.
  • Irrigation runoff onto streets and sidewalks can freeze and pose a hazard to drivers and pedestrians. That’s another city ordinance violation – not just during freezing conditions, but any time.
  • Seriously, it’s February – if your irrigation system is still running in auto mode, it needs to be turned off anyway.

If you suspect a water leak, report it to College Station Utilities’ 855-528-4278 and have your account number ready. For more information, contact me 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 serving 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Feb. 11)

Standing (l-r): John Crompton, Bob Brick, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney. Sitting (l-r): Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Elizabeth Cunha.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 11. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings are streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter webinar number 957 6653 1244. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

5:22 p.m.

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

5:24 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled no items from tonight’s consent agenda for discussion.

6:17 p.m.

Local Election Cycle

After discussing the pros and cons of holding local general elections in November of odd-numbered years, the council voted 4-3 against a motion to bring the item back for future action. Councilmen Crompton, Brick and Maloney voted for the motion.

The city is already transitioning council terms from three years to four years, with elections in November of even-numbered years. Providing for general elections in odd-numbered years would have required a special charter amendment election.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:30 p.m.

Water, Wastewater Service in ETJ

The council discussed an ordinance amendment to establish a wastewater rate surcharge for customers outside the city limits. The item will come back to the council in March.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:35 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports, Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop. The regular meeting starts after a short break.

6:50 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:58 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

  • Judy LeUnes encouraged the city to pass a humane pet store ordinance
  • Fred Dupriest spoke against the validity of the poll regarding the proposed restricted occupancy ordinance.

7:00 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $2.37 million contract with PowerGrid Services for the construction of the Spring Creek Substation Ring Bus Modification. The owner also is furnishing $1.29 million in material for a total bonded project requirement of $3.66 million.
  • A resolution granting consent to Rock Prairie Management District No. 2 for the sale and issuance of unlimited tax road bonds, series 2021, not to exceed $2.5 million.
  • The first renewal of a contract not to exceed $250,000 with D.I.J. Construction for pavement striping and markings services.
  • An inter-local agreement with Brazos County and the City of Bryan to establish and support a COVID-19 vaccination HUB and to memorialize the commitment in equally sharing in the cost of supplies for the HUB with a maximum of $100,000.

7:02 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

The council voted unanimously to extend the mayor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

7:11 p.m.

Hike & Bike Trail Parking Lot

The council voted unanimously to approve a $329,000 contract with Aggieland Construction for the Lick Creek Hike & Bike Trailhead and parking lot project. The work also includes an access road to Midtown Drive that will also serve as a driveway for the CSU substation located west of the proposed parking lot.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:37 p.m.

LULAC Oak Hill Rehabilitation

The council voted unanimously to approve a request for support from LULAC Oak Hill Apartments — a 49-unit apartment complex at 1105 Anderson St. — for the complete rehabilitation of the property, proposed costs, and potential funding source. The complex is a supportive housing complex for income-qualified elderly residents.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

9:49 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council’s next workshop and regular meetings are set for Thursday, Feb. 25.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the 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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Video: Something completely positive (January)

Take a look back at some of the positive things that happened in the City of College Station in January, including the naming of the basketball court at Castlegate Park “Alex Caruso Court,” the reopening of the Fun for All Playground, a CSPD officer rescuing a man from a burning car, and the naming of two assistant fire chiefs.

Now that’s something completely positive!

– Public Communications Office