City Council: Thursday Preview (April 28)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be considering Thursday (April 28) at its workshop and regular meetings. This blog is not intended as a complete and official agenda. Click here to see the complete agenda packets.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

See/Click/Fix Overview

The city council will receive a demonstration of See/Click/Fix, a smartphone application that was implemented by Planning and Development Services in February. The city has sought methods to improve code enforcement and empower city residents to take an active role in their neighborhood integrity. See/Click/Fix is a privately-developed web-based smartphone application that can be downloaded at no cost. It enables citizens to identify possible code violations, take a photo of the violation, geographically locate the possible violation, submit it to the appropriate code officer, and receive reports from the code officer on the city’s progress in investigating and resolving the issue. The service costs $40 per month.

Charter Review

The council will address the scope of the Citizens Charter Review Commission and provide direction about the charter provisions to be reviewed. The 10-member commission was appointed by the council in February and will soon begin its review process, which is intended to ensure that charter provisions comply with state law. The review is expected to take several months and culminate with recommendations to the city council.  Proposed changes to the city charter ultimately would be decided by voters.

Update on BioCorridor Inter Local Agreement

Staff will update the council on a potential inter local agreement between the cities of College Station and Bryan for the joint development of the Research Valley BioCorridor. Since January, a BioCorridor Policy Committee consisting of the mayors and mayors pro tem of both cities have met regularly with a third-party legal counsel to negotiate the terms and conditions of the inter local agreement.  Staff will be prepared to bring this item back to the May 12 meeting for final approval. 

Regular Meeting  (7.p.m)

Consent Agenda

This is not a complete list. Click here to view all the consent items.

Debt Reimbursement Resolution

Council will consider a “Resolution Declaring Intention to Reimburse Certain Expenditures with Proceeds from Debt” for expenditures related to projects authorized as part of the 2008 General Obligation Bond (GOB) package, specifically the Lick Creek Nature Center and East District Maintenance Shop. Earlier this month, council gave direction to move forward with the preliminary planning/design work on the Lick Creek Nature Center project and to move forward with the design and construction of the East District Maintenance Shop. These projects were authorized as part of the 2008 General Obligation Bond (GOB) package, but the debt that was authorized for these projects has not yet been issued.

On projects for which spending will occur in advance of the debt issue, a “Resolution Declaring Intention to Reimburse Certain Expenditures with Proceeds from Debt” must be approved by council. Typically, the resolution is brought to council along with the initial contract for the project (i.e. the engineering contract). In the case of these projects, however, spending will take place before the initial contract is brought to council (i.e. staff time charged to the project for initial planning).

This “Resolution Declaring Intention to Reimburse Certain Expenditures with Proceeds from Debt” is being brought to council to cover the expenditures that are estimated to occur in advance of the debt issue scheduled for FY11 and FY12. As the amount covered by this resolution only covers a portion of the debt scheduled to be issued for the Lick Creek Nature Center, depending on the timing of future debt issues, an additional “Resolution Declaring Intention to Reimburse Certain Expenditures with Proceeds from Debt” may be necessary in the future.

Regular Agenda

All the regular agenda items are posted as public hearings.

Budget Amendment No. 2

Council will consider Budget Amendment No. 2, which will amend the FY2011 budget to increase the general fund appropriation for the Weingarten settlement in the amount of $1.6 million. The settlement agreement was approved unanimously by the council in March. The city charter allows the council to amend the annual budget if revenues are available to cover increased expenditures and a public hearing is conducted. This item will be funded out of the general fund balance which can be used for one-time expenditures. 

Longmire Parking Removal

Council will consider an ordinance to remove parking along the east side of Longmire Drive between FM2818 and Valley View Drive, and on Valley View west of the Longmire intersection. If the ordinance is passed, the roadway will be striped with bike lanes on both sides. The lost parking spaces will be replaced by new spaces on Valley View.

In September, council approved a compromise to balance the need for bike lanes and on-street parking.  Although the roadway striping meets state standards, concerns about bicyclists’ safety and driver expectancy have been expressed. The city’s Traffic Management Team reviewed the issue and recommends the removal of the on-street parking on the east side of Longmire to address these issues. In January, council asked for staff to look at parking alternatives and allow the property owner time to seek parking arrangements with an adjacent business. 

Staff has evaluated the parking areas and met with the property owner concerned with the loss of parking, and he asked if the parking spaces along Valley View could be striped.  Staff recommends that the parking area be identified by placing no parking signs which will accomplish the same result, but are less expensive to install and maintain.  To accommodate this request, the parking restrictions on Valley View have been added to this item.

Due to the existing poor pavement condition of Longmire between FM 2818 and Valley View, Public Works has plans to rehab this section of the roadway.  Once the street is reconstructed, it will need to be restriped for traffic.  If the ordinance is passed, the roadway will be striped with bike lanes and two-way traffic.  If the ordinance is not passed, the existing striping will be reinstalled.

Impact Fees for Water/Wastewater

Council will discuss the possible implementation of system-capacity impact fees for water and wastewater.  If implemented, these impact fees would provide revenue to pay a portion of the cost to increase the capacity of these utility systems, thereby reducing the financial burden placed on the rate paying customers.  College Station’s steady growth means a significant investment will be required for the water and wastewater systems to meet the expected demand increases in the next two decades. 

The final decision whether to implement the system-wide impact fees is a policy decision of whether to continue our existing system, whereby the utility customers pay for all system capacity increases through their rates, or to offset the financial burden on the customers by having new development pay impact fees when obtaining a building permit.  Staff recommends the council either choose the system-wide impact fees or the existing impact fee lines.  Based on council’s direction, staff will either terminate the impact fee study or create an ordinance to implement system-wide impact fees for consideration at the May 12 council meeting.

UDO Signage, Design Amendments

The council will consider two possible amendments to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  The

amendments are the first in a series identified by development interests as necessary to address impediments to new development and make College Station more business-friendly. 

The first relates to the standards applied to design and color for signs located along some of the city’s major corridors, including University Drive and W.D. Fitch.  If approved, the UDO will no longer regulate the letter design for the signs nor the colors used for the signs, except expressly prohibited colors, such as fluorescent colors. The second amendment relates to design elements required for small accessory commercial buildings such as pool houses.  While such buildings will continue to be required to use materials and colors similar to that found on the related primary building, if approved, the UDO will no longer require the addition of such things as awnings, pilasters, or other design elements on these small buildings.

Future proposals coming before the council will include reduction of regulations on signs located within large developments, building design requirements for small commercial buildings located within large developments, and the regulation of the color of commercial buildings.

Watch the Meetings Live on Ch. 19

The workshop and regular meetings can be seen live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online at the Previous council meetings are archived on the site.

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