Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Jan. 28)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Jan. 28. 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.

5:15 p.m.

The workshop has started.

5:51 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:

  • Spring Creek Transmission Line: The $3.6 million contract with L.E. Myers Company is for replacing the Spring Creek transmission line to meet demands and improve electric reliability.
  • Cain/Deacon Railroad Crossing: The $171,000 contract is for engineering services related to the preliminary engineering report for the Cain/Deacon Railroad Crossing Project. The project includes the extension of Deacon Road to Wellborn Road, a new Union Pacific railroad crossing, and the removal of the existing Cain Road railroad crossing. The roadway extensions will be constructed with concrete pavement with curbs, an underground storm sewer, and sidewalks. A total budget of $3.78 million is included for this project in the Streets Capital Improvement Projects Fund.
  • Impact Fees Semi-Annual Report: The city has five impact fee areas where associated utility construction is complete. Since council updated the fees in 2013, there have been no significant changes. The report primarily documents the fees collected over the reporting period.
  • Impact Fee Contracts: In November, the council requested more information about possible impact fees. The $100,000 contract with Freese & Nichols is for the evaluation of water and wastewater impact fees and the $88,500 contract with Kimley-Horn is for the assessment of roadway impact fees.
  • Sahara Economic Development Agreement: This item authorizes the payment of $304,253.04 in economic development funds to Sahara Realty Group for performance in compliance with the approved Economic Development, Drainage and Corridor Beautification Participation Agreement.
  • Railroad Quiet Zones: The council will consider two items related to establishing railroad quiet zones at Drake and Greens Prairie Trail. The inter-local agreement with Brazos County is for consultant services and specifies that costs shall be equally shared. The council will also consider authorizing the county’s application to the Federal Railroad Administration for the quiet zones.
  • Business Security Cameras: The ordinance amendment would strengthen regulations regarding security cameras at convenience and liquor stores. Under the proposed ordinance, the cameras would have to be located at appropriate locations, record in high-resolution color, display the correct date and time and be able to capture clear images in darkness or low lighting. The quick identification and ultimate capture of the suspect in last year’s abduction and homicide at the Exxon at University Drive and SH6 was attributed in part to high-quality surveillance video.
  • Open Carry at City Meetings: The council will consider prohibiting the open carry of handguns at public meetings of city governmental entities, including council meetings, as allowed by state law. 

6:23 p.m.

Police Station Planning

The council discussed the city’s next police facility, including space planning, possible sites, design schedule and budget. The existing station is small and does not meet the space needs or functional requirements of the police force.

The consensus of the council was to move forward with planning the facility for city-owned property at the Southeast corner of Krenek Tap and Dartmouth.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:59 p.m.

Affordable Housing Development

The council discussed a private developer’s proposal to develop affordable housing through the state’s low-income housing tax credit process. The presentation included an overview of the city’s rental housing market and the need for more affordable units. The 2015 Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan identified rental housing as a high priority need for low-to-moderate income individuals and families, the elderly and the disabled.

Last summer, city staff received several inquiries from developers about the city supporting development through the Texas Department of Housing Community Affairs’ low-income housing tax credit process. Staff released a Request for Information in October to provide a level playing field for interested developers. MGroup, Inc. was the only one with plans to submit a full application to the TDHCA. MGroup has requested a resolution of support for its application.

The FY 2016 Action Plan and budget allocates funds to support the construction of affordable housing. Staff requested direction regarding a commitment of HOME funds in an amount not to exceed $100,000 to facilitate the support and development of the senior affordable housing development proposed by MGroup.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

6:59 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended and will resume following the regular meeting, which will start after a short break.

7:08 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:12 p.m.

Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Day

Mayor Nancy Berry proclaimed today as Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Day to raise awareness of the decline of the monarch butterfly and the need for habitat. Berry joins 48 mayors across the nation who have taken the pledge. Texas A&M researcher Craig Wilson, a monarch advocate and caretaker of a registered Monarch Waystation in College Station, received the proclamation (below).


7:27 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Five people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens may address the council on items that don’t appear on the posted agenda: 

  • Jennifer Hurd expressed concern regarding a rezoning proposal near her neighborhood.
  • Tom Kiske was supportive of his homeowners association’s concerns with the same zoning change.
  • Christi Blair requested the rezoning be removed from the Planning & Zoning Commission agenda because several areas need to be revisited and that the concerns of residents weren’t considered.
  • Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Ray J. Hutchinson as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old League City native died Dec. 7, 2003 when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle as he was returning from a patrol in Mosul, Iraq.
  • Joshua Benn spoke regarding a proposed Planned Development District that will double the number of apartment units and significantly impact his neighborhood.

7:28 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A utility and road agreement for Rock Prairie Management District No. 2 located southeast of the Rock Prairie Road and State Highway 6 intersection.
  • A $3.58 million contract with L.E. Myers Company for reconductoring the Spring Creek transmission line.
  • A revision to the code of ordinances to allow the inspection and require repairs of private sewer laterals.
  • An annual purchase agreement not to exceed $113,500 with Fort Bend Services, Inc. for dewatering chemical (polymer).
  • A $171,000 contract with Jones & Carter for professional engineering services related to the preliminary engineering report for the Cain/Deacon Railroad Crossing Project.
  • Renewal of price agreement not to exceed $163,620with Brazos Paving, Inc. for the purchase of cement stabilized sand.
  • A $256,191.50 contract with JHW, Inc. for the construction of Wolf Pen Creek Erosion Control Phase II.
  • An inter-local agreement with Brazos County related to the Greens Prairie Trail project.
  • An annual blanket purchase order of $95,000 with NAPA Auto Parts through the Purchasing Solutions Alliance for auto parts and shop equipment.
  • Renewal of an annual price agreement not-to-exceed amount of $86,000 with Kolkhorst Petroleum for fleet oils and lubricants.
  • Annual tire purchases and retread services not-to-exceed $210,000 from Southern Tire Mart through the BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative.
  • Authorized the payment of $304,253.04 in economic development funds to Sahara Realty Group for performance under the Economic Development, Drainage and Corridor Beautification Participation Agreement.
  • The Semi-Annual Report on Impact Fees.
  • A $100,000 contract with Freese & Nichols to evaluate water and wastewater impact fees.
  • An $88,500 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates to evaluate roadway impact fees.
  • An annual blanket purchase order estimated at $75,000 with Siddons-Martin Emergency Group through the BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative for repair parts and repair labor for fire trucks.
  • An annual price agreement with NAFECO for fire protective clothing.
  • An inter-local agreement with Brazos County for consultant services associated with the establishment of quiet zones at Drake and Greens Prairie Trail.
  • Authorized Brazos County to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for the approval of quiet zone locations at Greens Prairie Trail and Drake, and sharing the costs equally.
  • Strengthened security surveillance camera requirements for convenience and liquor stores.
  • Prohibited the open carry of handguns at city governmental entity meetings, including city council meetings.

7:31 p.m.

Special Event Parking

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to allow groups to request an exception to the city’s parking ordinance and allow special event parking on grass areas. Requests will be routed through the city’s special event process, and exceptions must be approved by the city manager or his designee.

Special event parking on grass areas is sometimes necessary to reduce congestion and ensure public safety. The change was informally discussed for previous events, particularly for the 2014-2015 Games of Texas, where a high volume of vehicles parked around College Station High School. The Games of Texas event is scheduled to return in 2018.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:37 p.m.

Rezoning at 5014 Raymond Stotzer Parkway

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to change the zoning from Rural to Planned Development District for about 5.65 acres at 5014 Raymond Stotzer Parkway, located along State Highway 47 between Burgess Lane and Health Science Center Parkway. The change allows for the development of a mixed-use office complex.

Councilwoman Julie Schultz recused herself from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:40 p.m.

Public Utility Easement Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon part of a 20-foot public utility easement in the Lemon Tree Addition to allow for development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:42 p.m.

CVB Board Appointment

The council voted unanimously to appoint Mike Green to the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board.

7:42 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop will resume.

7:52 p.m.

Private Sewer Line Inspections

The council heard a presentation on allowing city inspections of private sewer lines and requiring repairs to help prevent wastewater overflows during heavy rains. The ordinance was passed unanimously as part of tonight’s consent agenda.

The city owns and maintains 341 miles of sewage collection lines, 6,362 sewer manholes, and 12 sewage lift stations that convey wastewater from homes and businesses to the treatment plants. The collection system is designed to be sealed and to carry only domestic sewage with rainwater runoff conveyed by a separate system.

However, rain has started to infiltrate the lines, and the problem must be addressed before it causes regulatory violations and potential fines. Last year, two major rain storms caused manholes to overflow with an estimated volume of more than 100,000 gallons, which required public notification. The city’s Water Services Department said these events weren’t acceptable.

A significant source of the inflow and infiltration is from private sewer service laterals or yard lines. The typical homeowner has ownership and maintenance responsibility for the sewer line that runs from their home to the city’s sewer main, with ownership switching to the city at the edge of the utility easement.

In older parts of the city, the joints of clay lines can pull apart, and the lines are susceptible to cracking. The ordinance change clarifies the city’s authority to inspect the private laterals. If the lines are in disrepair, the homeowner must repair or replace the lateral to avoid regulatory violations.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:18 p.m.

Capital Plan Update

The council was updated on the Capital Improvement Plan, which includes 74 projects and a total budget of about $157 million. These projects include transportation, facilities, parks, drainage, and water/wastewater.

Several large-scale transportation projects have recently been completed or are under construction. Many others are scheduled for later this year or are in the design stage. Facility projects include the Ringer Library and Lincoln Recreation Center expansions, which are scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:28 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. The council meets again Feb. 11.


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