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

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Dec. 12. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

Neu Named Employee of the Year

Earlier this afternoon, Mike Neu was named 2013 City of College Station Employee of the Year. Neu was chosen from a field of 18 nominees. Neu is multimedia coordinator in the Office of Public Communications and has been with the organization since 2007.  In addition to his responsibilities as the chief graphic and web designer for the city, he took the staff lead role on several projects, including the 75th Anniversary exhibit that  is on display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

An employee committee representing a cross-section of city departments selected Neu from a total of 18 nominees. City employees who reached the milestones of 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service also were recognized.

Neu is pictured below with City Manager Kelly Templin and Mayor Nancy Berry.

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Here’s a photo of all the employee of the year nominees with Mr. Templin and Mayor Berry:

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Pictured (l-r) are: Alan Gibbs, Jon Blalock, Erik Bodholt, Romona Embry, Courtney Kennedy Collins, Chadd Harkrider, Andy Garcia, Brian Henry, Kelly Kelbly, Pat Krause, Neu (EOY), Templin, Mayor Berry, Jesse Mallory, La Keisha Smith, Garrett Martinek, Brenda Martz, Jimmy Yow, Brandi Whittenton and Troy Rother.

Council Bids Cowell Farewell

The council bid farewell to Bob Cowell, Director of Planning and Development Services, for his six years of service to the City of College Station. Cowell’s last day is Friday before he starts his new job as assistant city manager in Amarillo on Monday. Cowell is pictured below with City Manager Kelly Templin and Mayor Nancy Berry.

Cowell_salute

6:21 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

6:23 p.m. 

Mooney Named Mayor Pro Tem

The council unanimously re-elected Karl Mooney as mayor pro tem, who fills Mayor Berry’s role when she is disabled or absent. Mooney will serve as mayor pro tem for one year.

6:59 p.m.

Rental Registration Program

The council heard a presentation on possible changes to the rental registration program, including survey efforts and the assessment of an administrative fine for violations.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:08 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, Mayor Berry announced that the the council has authorized the payment of $75,000 to settle a personal injury claim filed against the city by Tom Jagielski. The workshop was adjourned, and the regular meeting will start momentarily. 

7:16 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:18 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved these consent items:

  • The 2014 council calendar.
  • Extended the closing date for the sale of the First Street Property to Asset Plus Realty Corporation to no later than Jan. 17.
  • A property tax refund of $9,110.51 to DWS Development due to an error by the Brazos County Appraisal District.
  • A $58,000 contract with Civil Engineering Consultants, Inc., for the design of sidewalks on Dominik Drive, San Pedro Drive/West Ridge Drive and Park Place. The project is funded through federal grants.
  • Renewal of four master agreements not to exceed $35,000 for real estate appraisal services: S.T. Lovett & Associates, Integra Realty Resources – Houston, Atrium Real Estate Services , Integra Realty Resources – Austin.
  • A Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Brazos Valley Council of Governments grant application for $10,200 to purchase a recycling and solid waste collection smart phone application, and Brazos Valley Earth Day advertising.

The council voted separately on this consent item:

  • By a 6-0 vote, the council approved a $1.09 million real estate contract with StataCorp for the sale of 8.9 acres of city-owned property at 210 Technology Way. Councilmember Blanche Brick recused herself.

7:19 p.m.

Mayor Berry said that items No. 2 (Public Hearing on Rezoning – Gateway) and No. 4 (Public Hearing on College Station Policy Regarding Municipal Utility Districts) have been pulled from tonight’s agenda.

7:21 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

7:46 p.m.

Land Use Change for 2560 Earl Rudder South

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to change the land use designation for 11.4 acres at the corner of Earl Rudder Freeway South and Harvey Mitchell Parkway from Suburban Commercial/Natural Areas-Reserved to General Commercial/Natural Areas-Reserved. The change was requested to increase the intensity of commercial land use and character in an otherwise natural area with limited single-family residences.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:50 p.m.

UDO Process Improvements

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding title reports, tax certificates and administrative adjustments.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:06 p.m.

Munson Avenue Parking Removal

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to remove parking along both sides of Munson Avenue from Lincoln Avenue to Rose Circle to relieve traffic congestion.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:28 p.m.

Agreements on Chimney Hill Property

The council unanimously approved Purchase and Sale Agreements and an Economic Development Agreement with the Research Valley Partnership and PM Realty Group regarding the Chimney Hill Shopping Center on University Drive. After a 150-day inspection period, PM Realty Group intends to purchase the property for $7.5 million, which will go back into the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund.

The city purchased the property for $9.6 million with HOT funds in 2008 with the intention to build a convention center. In 2011, the council directed staff to sell the property for economic development purposes. The property has produced $1.5 million in revenue for the city’s Chimney Hill Fund, and the PMRG’s development is expected to generate $600,000 in property and sales taxes in its first year and a half. In addition, it’s also expected to produce about 200 jobs.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

Here’s PMRG’s concept plan for the property:

Here’s some information about PMRG:

8:39 p.m.

Comprehensive Plan Review

The council reviewed the 2013 College Station Existing Conditions Report as a first step in the five-year update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The report provided a snapshot of current conditions and included descriptions of context, demographics, economic development, land use, public facilities and transportation.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:43 p.m.

Board Appointments

The council unanimously approved the reappointment of Karl Mooney to the BCS Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the appointment of Councilmember Steve Aldrich to the board of directors of the Arts Council of Brazos Valley.

 8:44 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned. The council meets again on Thursday, Jan. 9.

Merry Christmas!

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