Live Blog: Thursday’s City Council Meetings (Jan. 26)

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Jan. 26. It is not the official minutes.

9:12 p.m.

The regular meeting was adjourned. The next council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 9.

9:11 p.m.

Residential Parking of Recreational Vehicles

At the request of a number of residents, the council heard a presentation about amending the traffic code to prohibit the parking, storing or standing of recreational vehicles on front yards or lawns, including driveways, of residential properties. The presentation was only for informational purposes, but the council voted 5-2 to direct staff to not move forward with the ordinance. Council Members Blanche Brick and Katy-Marie Lyles voted against the motion. In the public hearing, more than 20 people spoke against the amendment.

The code defines recreational vehicles as “any motor vehicle or trailer designed or used as a travel trailer, camper, motor home, tent trailer, boat, boat trailer, camping trailer, or other similar purposes.” The current code allows recreational vehicles to be parked or stored in front yards without exception. However, the vehicles are not permitted to be parked on the street for more than 72 hours in any 30-day period. Under the proposed amendment, recreational vehicles could be parked in residential driveways for up to 72 hours in any 30-day period, and could still be stored in back yards as long as they were screened from public view. Subdivisions zoned A-O Agricultural Open and A-OR Rural Residential, which includes Foxfire, Williams Creek and Bird Pond Estates, would remain exempt because of their required large lot size.

After registered Homeowner and Neighborhood Associations were notified, a stakeholder meeting was held on Jan. 10, but attracted few participants. Those in attendance favored the proposed amendment.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:03 p.m.

12900 Old Wellborn Rd. Rezoning

The council unanimously approved the rezoning 2.39 acres at 12900 Old Wellborn Rd., near the intersection with North Graham Road, to allow for retail sales, warehousing and fabrication of building products and supplies. No one but the developer’s attorney spoke at the public hearing prior to the vote.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:41 p.m.

4050 Holleman Drive South Rezoning

The council approved by a 6-1 vote the rezoning of 10.4 acres at 4050 Holleman Dr. South, near the Las Palomas Subdivision, to allow townhomes, duplexes, and apartments with a maximum of 20 dwelling units per acre. Council Member Karl Mooney voted against the motion. If a multi-family development occurs on the subject tract, a 10-foot planted buffer and a fence will be required along the property line of the Great Oaks Subdivision. No one but the developer spoke at the public hearing prior to the vote.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:29 p.m.

Budget Amendment No. 1

After a public hearing, the council approved by a 6-1 vote an $8.5 million budget amendment for the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year, which includes four inter-fund transfers totaling $2.7 million. Council Member Jess Fields voted against the motion. The amendment includes $5.2 million for the defeasance of the convention center land debt, and $570,784 for repaying Brazos County the remaining funds from the Wolf Pen Creek Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. It also rolls over $2.3 million in budgeted expenses from FY 2011 projects that weren’t completed. For specific details on the inter-fund transfers and amendment items, see pages 32-34 in the council packet.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:10 p.m.

The council unanimously approved these consent agenda items:

  • A payment of $570,783.58 to Brazos County for repayment of unspent funds from the Wolf Pen Creek Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.
  • An annual blanket purchase order of $60,000 for the purchase of replacement parts and components for city vehicles from Varsity Ford – Lincoln in College Station.
  • Annual tire purchases worth $185,000 from Pilger’s Tire & Auto Center through the State of Texas tire contract.
  • An annual blanket purchase order of $110,000 for the purchase of auto parts, shop equipment and services from NAPA Auto Parts in College Station through the Purchasing Solutions Alliance contract.

The council voted 6-1 to approve this consent agenda item:

  • The city’s Tax Abatement Guidelines, which were outlined in this afternoon’s workshop meeting. Council Member Jess Fields voted against the motion.

7:08 p.m.

The council recognized the Aquatics Division of the Parks and Recreation Department for being named the Texas Public Pool Council’s Agency of the Year among cities with more than 75,000 people.

7:05 p.m.

The regular meeting is underway. A relatively large crowd is in attendance.

5:03 p.m.

Mayor Berry adjourned the workshop meeting. After checking out the new fire trucks, the council will go into executive session. The regular meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

5:02 p.m.

Fire Chief R.B. Alley updated council on some of the equipment the Fire Department is acquiring for Fire Station No. 6, which will open later this year at the corner of Tarrow and University. The council is heading outside to take a look at one of the new engines and the new ladder truck. We’ll post a couple of photos later this evening.

The workshop meeting has adjourned and the council has gone into executive session. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

4:40 p.m.

Neighborhood, District and Corridor Plans

The council received an update from Bob Cowell, executive director of Planning and Development Services, on current and pending neighborhood, district and master plans, including the Southside Neighborhood Plan, the Wellborn District Plan and the Economic Development Master Plan. The city’s Comprehensive Plan identifies the need for focused smaller area plans as well as master plans for functional areas such as water and economic development.

4:02 p.m.

Tax Abatement Guidelines

The council received a presentation from Deputy City Manager Frank Simpson about the city’s tax abatement guidelines. The council will consider adopting the guidelines as part of the consent agenda at tonight’s regular meeting. Local governments often use tax abatement as an economic development tool to attract new industry and commercial enterprises, and to encourage the retention and development of existing businesses. According to the Texas Comptroller, more than 700 tax abatement agreements have been executed by local governments in the state since the early 1980s. The presentation will include an overview of the tax abatement process and describe the statutory requirements for entering into an agreement and designating a reinvestment zone, if the city ever wishes to do so.

3:51 p.m.

The Planning and Zoning Commission adjourned its meeting. The council is continuing its workshop with a discussion of the city’s Tax Abatement Guidelines.

3:49 p.m.

Planning & Zoning Commission Plan of Work

After a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission, the council unanimously endorsed the commission’s 2012 Plan of Work. The Plan of Work includes the Medical District Plan, BioCorridor Plan, Southside Neighborhood Plan, Wellborn District Plan, Economic Development Master Plan and new zoning plans. It also addresses the diversification of employment opportunities, affordable housing, the role of planning and regulation, and the impact of student housing.

3:07 p.m.

The joint workshop meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission is underway.

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