Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Dec. 10)

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Dec. 10. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

Before going into executive session this afternoon, the council recognized longtime Development Coordinator Bridgette George as the city’s 2015 employee of the year (pictured below with Mayor Nancy Berry and City Manager Kelly Templin). Coincidentally, George celebrated her 25th anniversary with the city today. 


6:21 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:22 p.m.

Amendment to Kalon Therapeutics Agreement

The council took action on one item it discussed in its executive session, unanimously approving an amendment to an economic development agreement with Kalon Therapeutics. The amendment extends the completion of improvements from Dec. 31, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, and is contingent on the City of Bryan’s approval.

6:46 p.m.

Ringer Library Expansion

The council heard a presentation on the proposed conceptual design of the voted-approved $8.4 million expansion of the Larry J. Ringer Library. Komatsu Architecture presented the conceptual site plan, floor plan, and an exterior rendering.

The conceptual plan was presented to the Library Advisory Board and at a public meeting in early September.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:05 p.m.

Street Maintenance Audit

The council discussed City Auditor Ty Elliott’s street maintenance report, including his recommendations to address the high turnover rate of skilled employees and how to best maintain construction standards.

The audit found that the street maintenance program has higher turnover rates than comparable city departments and the private construction industry. Employees are not as skilled as required for efficient job task completion, which is influenced by the high turnover. High levels of equipment maintenance also impact the ability to complete work promptly.

The report also said streets maintenance and street construction standards are linked.

The city uses the Bryan-College Station Unified Guidelines and Specifications for its capital improvement projects and requires developers to use the same specifications. However, there are opportunities in the city’s system to construct streets below current standards.

Elliott said the city should consider taking on the construction of streets classified as minor collector or higher to ensure better quality roads. In addition, while asphalt covers many city streets, concrete may be more efficient and less costly in the long-term. Elliott said flexibility is the key to operating street maintenance programs effectively and given the uncertainty that comes with weather and high turnover, the funding source should reflect that flexibility.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:16 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • 2015 Council Calendar: The council selected Feb. 15 for its annual retreat.
  • Arts Council Building Agreement: The amendment extends the term of the agreement by one year with an option for one additional year as the organization works on plans to move to a new location.
  • Fiber Optic Cable Installation: The $96,027.80 contract with Housley Communications will provide fiber connectivity from the existing city network near the Holleman Drive-Dowling Road intersection to College Station Utility Service Center.
  • New Transportation Projects: In August, the city council decided not to conduct a general obligation bond election in 2015. Consequently, some new transportation projects will be funded with certificates of obligation during the next five fiscal years. 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 the council.
  • Guadalupe Drive Sidewalks: The $141,456 contract with Palomares Construction is for a five-foot wide sidewalk on the north side of Guadalupe Drive between Nueces Drive and Langford Street. The Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan identified the need for the path, and the South Knoll Area Neighborhood Master Plan identified it for short-term implementation. A resident with accessibility needs also requested the sidewalk.

 7:21 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:32 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:38 p.m.

Police Re-Accreditation 

The council recognized the College Station Police Department for the re-accreditation of both its law enforcement and communications programs. During the assessment, CSPD was awarded “Accreditation with Excellence” in each area. Pictured below (l-r) are Assistant Chief Billy Couch, CALEA Accreditation Program Manager Randy Scott, Police Chief Scott McCollum, Mayor Nancy Berry, Assistant Chief Brandy Norris and CSPD Accreditation Manager Zeta Fail.


7:45 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.

  • Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Joseph C. Norquist as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 26-year-old San Antonio native died Oct. 9, 2003, when his convoy came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire in Baqubah, Iraq.

7:41 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda:

  • A $128,842.23 agreement with TASER International for Tasers, holsters, cartridges, battery packs, Taser Assurance Plans, and assorted equipment.
  • A $87,482 agreement with Remotec for a system upgrade for the Police Department’s bomb robot.
  • The $98,325 purchase of five police motorcycles from Independence Harley-Davidson, an additional one-year extended warranty for $4,835, and the trade-in of five 2010 Harley-Davidson Road King motorcycles for $40,000.
  • An Affordable Care Act-mandated transitional reinsurance fee of $62,832 that’s due on Jan. 15.
  • Projected calendar year 2016 employee benefits expenditures and employee benefits provider agreement renewals for $9.1 million, a resolution authorizing the city manager to execute contracts and expenditures related to employee benefits agreements, and the rejection of a bid for stop loss reinsurance.
  • A $305,000 contract with MK Painting to recoat the interior of the Park Place Water Tower.
  • A change order that reduces the contract with Pipe Works Constructors by $336,324.35.
  • Renewal of a general services agreement not to exceed $120,000 with Emergicon for ambulance billing, accounts receivable and delinquent account collection services. This is the second of four possible renewals.
  • An amendment to the building use agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley.
  • Renewal of an annual contract not to exceed $750,000 with Payment Processing Inc. for electronic credit card processing and merchant account services.
  • A $96,027.80 contract with Housley Communications for the installation of fiber optic cable.
  • A resolution declaring intention to reimburse certain expenditures with proceeds from debt for new transportation projects included in the FY16 Capital Improvements Program Budget.
  • Four master agreements for real estate appraisal services: Atrium Real Estate Services, CBRE, Inc., Integra Realty Resources, and S.T. Lovett & Associates. The council also authorized the city manager to approve service orders for each project within the terms of each agreement, which have a not to exceed amount of $30,000 and an option to renew the contract for up to two additional one-year terms.
  • A $141,456 contract with Palomares Construction for sidewalk improvements along Guadalupe Drive.
  • A $469,600 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates for detailed design and construction phase services for the Eastgate Rehabilitation Phase IV Project and a resolution declaring intention to reimburse certain expenditures with proceeds from debt.
  • An amendment to the city’s traffic code that establishes two-hour parking on the northwest side of Church Avenue beginning 40 feet southwest of First Street and ending 95 feet northeast of Wellborn Road North.
  • Added a section on transportation network companies to the city’s code of ordinances.
  • The 2016 annual council calendar.
  • Formalized the position of student liaison to the city council.

8:19 p.m.

Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan and maps in the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan to update and streamline information related to transportation, including the Luther extension as originally proposed. Councilman Steve Aldrich voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:21 p.m.

Comprehensive Plan Text Amendments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan by amending text to address updates and housekeeping items based on recommendations in the Comprehensive Plan Five-Year Evaluation and Appraisal Report completed in 2014.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:20 p.m.

Future Land Use and Character Map Amendments

After public hearings on each, the council took these actions to amend the Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use & Character Map:

  • Voted unanimously to change the zoning from Estate and Suburban Commercial to General Suburban and Suburban Commercial for about 40 acres east of Wellborn Road, south of the Southern Trace Subdivision, west of William D. Fitch Parkway, and north of Westminster Subdivision.
  • Voted 4-3 to change the zoning from Restricted Suburban to General Suburban for about 120 acres south of Barron Cut-Off Road, west of WS Phillips Parkway, north of the Castlegate II Subdivision, and east of the Wellborn community. Council Members Karl Mooney, Blanche Brick and Aldrich voted against the motion.
  • Voted 5-2 to change the zoning from Estate to Restricted Suburban for about 900 acres south of Greens Prairie Road West, east of the Sweetwater Subdivision, and north of Arrington Road. Councilmembers Mooney and Brick voted against the motion.
  • Voted unanimously against changing the zoning from Restricted Suburban to Suburban Commercial for about 7 1/2 acres at the northwest corner of State Highway 6 and Nantucket Drive.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:22 p.m.

Public Utility Easement Abandonments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon two public utility easements located at 600 First St. to allow for development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:31 p.m.

Rezoning at 410 Fitch Parkway

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to change the zoning to amend the concept plan and proposed uses for about 4 1/2 acres at 410 William D. Fitch Parkway, which is located south of Fitch Parkway between Barron Road and Victoria Avenue. The change will allow the addition of self-storage facilities.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:34 p.m.

Rezoning at 3702 State Highway 6 South

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to change the zoning from Commercial Industrial to General Commercial for less than an acre at 3702 State Highway 6 South, which is located west of State Highway 6 South and between Ponderosa Drive and Pinon Drive.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:39 p.m.

2015 Building and Electrical Codes

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to adopt the 2015 International Building Code, the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC), and related amendments. The International Code Council and National Fire Protection Association issues updated codes every three years. The latest changes clarify intent, improve energy efficiency, and strengthen requirements designed to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:42 p.m.

International Fire Code, Life Safety Code

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to adopt the 2015 International Fire Code, the 2015 NFPA Life Safety Code, and related amendments. Like the building and electrical codes, the International Code Council and National Fire Protection Association issues updated fire and safety codes every three years.

10:45 p.m.

Multi-Family Parkland Dedication

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding multi-family parkland dedication to remove the bias toward multi-bedroom dwelling units.

The former parkland dedication requirement was based on several assumptions, including a desired level of service, the average cost to purchase and develop parkland, and the average persons per household (2.38 persons) as determined by the 2010 U.S. Census. Parkland dedication fees were assessed based on the number of dwelling units in a multi-family project, regardless of the total number of bedrooms.

With a by-the-dwelling-unit assessment, multi-family units have the same parkland dedication requirement. Multi-family developers constructing units that have fewer bedrooms than the census average will pay more per bedroom than the multi-family developers that construct units with more bedrooms than the census average.

Since the former fees were established assuming an average of 2.38 persons per household, the amendment assumes that the previous per-dwelling-unit requirement can be divided by 2.38, resulting in a per person or per bedroom fee for multi-family projects. Both land dedication and fee-in-lieu of land dedication requirements are amended.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

10:45 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Jan. 14.

Have a safe and joyful Christmas!