City Council Thursday Preview (June 23)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be considering Thursday, June 23, 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.) 

State of the Fire and Police Departments

The council will receive updates on the state of the fire and police departments.  The presentation from Fire Chief R.B. Alley will include an overview of the strategic plan, response capabilities and a summary of the department’s projected needs for the next five years. The College Station Fire Department has 121 personnel assigned to five fire stations, fire administration and the Community Emergency Operations Center. The department maintains a Public Protection Classification rating of ISO 2 and responds to more than 6,600 emergency calls annually. Police Chief Jeff Capps’ presentation will include a review of crime statistics and a look at trends observed in the first half of 2011. Capps also will provide an update on the department’s staffing needs, as well as an update related to the new pay structure.

Regular Meeting (7 p.m.)

Consent Agenda

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

Lick Creek Park Nature Center Advisory Committee

The council will consider approving the formation of a Lick Creek Park Nature Center Advisory Committee to provide oversight and input into the center’s design, amenities and programs. The 11-member committee would consist of one city council member, two Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members, one Planning and Zoning commissioner, two College Station Independent School District representatives, two Texas A&M University representatives and three citizens from the community. The council will not make these selections at this time, but the committee would be disbanded when construction begins. In the 2008 bond election, city voters approved $2.5 million for the design and construction of a nature center that could be used by schools and individuals. The council has approved $100,000 for the project’s planning phase. With several miles of nature trails, the 515-acre park in southeast College Station has become a popular location for bird watching, equestrian activities and nature study.

Regular Agenda

University Drive Pedestrian Safety Project

The council will consider an Advance Funding Agreement (AFA) with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to pay for a portion of the features included in the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Project. The amount of the AFA is $274,540. Through the cooperative efforts among the City of College Station, TxDOT, Texas A&M and merchants, this project is designed to improve pedestrian safety in the Northgate area. In March, the council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Northgate Merchant Association that outlined improvements to help offset the potential impact of the parking removal along University Drive.

TxDOT estimates that the project will cost close to $2.2 million, and it has budgeted $2 million. Additional features added to the project by the City of College Station include retractable bollards — identified as a necessity to allow emergency vehicle access — a traffic barrier along University Drive between College Main and Boyett (an item included in the MOU), and powder-coated signal poles at Boyett and University Drive. Estimated to cost $274,540, these additional features are to be paid by the city through the AFA. Budget for these additional improvements will be transferred from the balance of the Discovery Drive project, which was completed under budget. Work is expected to start on the project in mid-December.

Wastewater Master Plan

The council will consider adopting an updated Wastewater System Master plan as a component of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which was updated in 2009. The new master plan reflects sewer lines needed as development occurs to serve newly annexed areas, growth corridors and existing areas where sewer lines are in need of replacement/upsizing. The updated master plan also identifies major sewer line connections needed within the existing system that will allow the wastewater collection system to operate more efficiently and also abide by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations.  The plan quantifies the cost of providing needed services and facilities, and recognizes the significant investment residents previously have made on similar services and facilities. 

Eastgate Neighborhood Plan

The council will receive an update on the Eastgate Neighborhood Plan, which began development last year and is being finalized for adoption. Many areas in the city are or will be changing, which requires the city to plan for specific neighborhoods and districts as part of the implementation of its Comprehensive Plan. These neighborhood plans detail the actions necessary to meet future demands and challenges, including the projected costs. Through intensive citizen engagement, city staff have worked closely with the Eastgate residents to address community character, land use, neighborhood integrity, mobility and sustainability.

UDO Amendment for Nonconforming Lots and Uses

The council will consider an amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance that provides limited relief for recently annexed properties in the Wellborn area. As in every annexation, these properties were zoned Agricultural Open, which is intended for properties that are not subdivided and are relatively undeveloped. The proposed change permits expansion of up to 25 percent of the area of existing nonconforming homes and businesses with administrative approval. This is more permissive than how non-conforming uses are treated elsewhere in the city. This approach is needed for the recently-annexed area until staff completes a small-area plan and gets the associated zoning in place.

Bird Pond Road Rehabilitation Project

The council will consider approving a professional services contract with Mitchell & Morgan, LLP in the amount of $167,000 for professional engineering services related to the design of the Bird Pond Road Project. The project will rehabilitate Bird Pond Road from Rock Prairie Road to the city limits, an area of about 7,200 linear feet. The rehabilitation is proposed as a two-lane major collector of a rural/estate cross section in accordance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Bird Pond Road ultimately is projected as a four-lane residential arterial, and the proposed preliminary design provides the vertical and horizontal layout to meet this future need while incorporating many of the future design elements into the construction of the two-lane facility. The project was not defined when the FY11 Approved Budget was developed and is not included in that document. The project’s $1.8 million budget has been transferred from the Barron Road Widening Phase II project, which is expected to be completed under budget.

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

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