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

2014 Council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

5:46 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilwoman Julie Schultz announced the following action taken in executive session:

“I move that the city manager is hereby authorized to settle the claim brought by Kathleen M. Ritch, individually and on behalf of Alannah Ritch and Andrew J. Ritch, in an amount not to exceed $250,000 and to execute a settlement and release containing terms as are customarily contained in settlement agreements.”

6;03 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:

  • Viasat Economic Development Agreement: The agreement provides for Viasat’s expansion into a new 85,000-square foot building on about nine acres in the Biocorridor. The company’s total investment is about $20 million with a minimum property valuation of $15 million by 2019. By the end of the second year following construction, Viasat will add at least 150 new full-time jobs with an average salary of $64,000 and the current payroll will increase by $9.6 million for a total of $17.2 million. In exchange, Viasat will receive an annual cash incentive for six years equal to the ad valorem taxes assessed and paid not to exceed $450,000. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

  • Bee Creek Trunk Line Rehabilitation: The $4.6 million contract with Elliott Construction includes the installation of about 2,000 linear feet of 60-inch and 4,000 linear feet of 54-inch sanitary sewer main along Bee Creek from Carter’s Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to west of State Highway 6. This contract is for the second of four phases to replace the Bee Creek Trunk Line that runs from Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to about 1,100 feet west of Jones Butler Road. Much of the existing trunk line was constructed in 1973 and was shown to have several surcharging line segments in the 2011 Wastewater Master Plan. The project will install a gravity line to increase the capacity of the trunk line to accept the anticipated build-out demand.
  • Utility Agreement with MUD No. 1: Approval of this item will modify the utility agreement with Brazos County Municipal Utility District No. 1 to include a surcharge for water and wastewater rates in the MUD without the charge of impact fees. It also specifies that city staff will recommend that the city council establish a Public Utility Corridor across Lick Creek Park for a sewer line to the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The diversion of parkland is on tonight’s regular agenda. The change would allow the Southern Pointe development to proceed. The surcharge would provide the same revenue as impact fees but would be spread over about 20 years. The PUC will have zero cost to the city.
  • Roadway Maintenance Fees: The results of the 2016 Citizen Survey suggested citizens prefer to see additional resources invested in the area of street maintenance. As part of the 2016 budget process, staff evaluated alternative sources to help fund the needed maintenance. After a detailed evaluation of various options, staff recommended implementing a roadway maintenance fee to be paid by citizens and businesses. The fees are based on reasonably equal shares in the total number of vehicle miles generated by all properties in the city limits and would be added to utility bills. The monthly fees would be $7.78 for single family, $6.10 for multi-family and a commercial range of $17.23 to $250. The fee would generate about $4.5 million per year. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:


6:33 p.m.

Pavement Standards

The council voted 4-3 for the city to use concrete in street construction rather than asphalt. Voting against the motion were Councilwoman Julie Schultz, and Councilmen Karl Mooney and Steve Aldrich. A study found that initial construction costs for rigid pavement were higher than for flexible pavement, while the maintenance and life cycle costs for rigid pavement were lower than for flexible pavement. 

An earlier motion to provide a combination of concrete and asphalt standards was defeated, 4-3. Mooney, Schultz, and Aldrich supported the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:44 p.m.

Appraisal District Building

The council heard a presentation about the new office building proposed by the Brazos Central Appraisal District to address concerns with growth, security, customer service, and technology. Approval of the building is on tonight’s consent agenda.

The district’s board of directors has recommended building rather than leasing office space to give the property owners the best value for their tax dollars and to provide improved security, efficiency, and technology for staff and the public.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:12 p.m.

Itinerant Vendor Ordinance

The consensus of the council was to move ahead with new requirements related to itinerant vendors. The changes would exempt mobile medical vendors that provide infusion therapy and would allow more days per year for tent sales. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:12 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.

7:25 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:37 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Councilwoman Julie Schultz, speaking as a citizen, thanked Mayor Nancy Berry for her service to the community. Berry has been mayor since May 2010 and is presiding over her final council meeting tonight. She will hand the gavel to Mayor-elect Karl Mooney at the Nov. 21 council meeting.
  • Ben Roper recognized Marine Lance Cpl. Shane L. Goldman as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Orange native died April 5, 2004, from injuries received from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
  • Cecelia Yip, Mike Green, and Matthew Fontaine spoke in support of pickleball and encouraged the city to provide adequate facilities for the sport.

7:40 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve these consent agenda items:

  • An economic development agreement with Viasat regarding nine acres on Health Science Center Parkway.
  • A $3 million contract with Saber Power Services to modify the ring bus and relocate transformer No. 2 at the Greens Prairie Substation.
  • A $4.6 million contract with Elliott Construction for Phase 2 of the Bee Creek Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line Rehabilitation.
  • An ordinance recognizing water and sewer utility rates and surcharges established by contract.
  • An amendment to an agreement with McAlister Opportunity Fund that designates an alternate fire station site.
  • Modified the utility agreement with Brazos County MUD No. 1 to include a surcharge for water and sewer service without the charge of impact fees and other related matters.
  • A contract not to exceed $7,880 with Sungard Public Sector for adding the roadway maintenance fee to accounts in the utility billing system.
  • A resolution authorizing banners for the annual Christmas Parade.
  • A resolution approving the purchase of property and construction of a new office building by the Brazos Central Appraisal District.

This item was voted on separately:

  • By a 6-1 vote, the council approved an ordinance approving a roadway maintenance fee to help fund maintenance of city streets. Councilmen James Benham voted against the motion

Note: An inter-local agreement with Brazos County creating an economic development program was pulled from tonight’s agenda.

8:29 p.m.

Parking Removal near Fire Station No. 6

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to remove parking on one side of the streets in the neighborhood behind Fire Station No. 6. Affected streets are Payton, Banks, Pearce, Columbus, Preston, Churchill, Chappel, Pasler, Turner and Avenue B. The change was recommended to allow adequate access for emergency vehicles.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 8:32 p.m.

Design Review Board Membership

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved changes to membership qualifications for the Design Review Board, which is responsible for considering requests largely related to subjective matters such as alternative buffer standards and site plan design in the Wolf Pen Creek zoning district. The changes address concerns about the challenges of making appointments to the board.

The city’s Unified Development Ordinance defines membership criteria of appointees so that expertise is balanced between those with business acuity, personal experience in a design district, and general public opinion.

8:34 p.m.

Drainage Easement Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon a small public drainage easement at Holleman Drive South and Market Street to accommodate the recent development of The Junction, a multi-family project.  The property owner will maintain the existing drainage area and infrastructure.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:42 p.m.

Utility Corridor in Lick Creek Park

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to establish a public utility corridor across Lick Creek Park needed for the development of Brazos County Municipal Utility District  No. 1, also known as Southern Pointe. Since the park lies directly between Southern Pointe and the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the route is the only feasible option.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:42 p.m.

The council is taking a short break.

8:51 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

9:51 p.m.

Rezoning on Earl Rudder Freeway South

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to deny a request to change the zoning from Suburban Commercial to Planned Development District for about seven acres north of Raintree Drive along Earl Rudder Freeway South. Mayor Berry and Councilwoman Schultz voted for the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:06 p.m.

Roadway Impact Fees

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve an ordinance implementing roadway impact fees on new development, effective Dec. 1. Councilman James Benham voted against the motion. The fees are estimated to generate about $12 million in the next decade to help fund the capital costs of new roads needed to accommodate the city’s growth.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:17 p.m.

College Hills Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a request to change the zoning from General Suburban to General Commercial for about 1.2 acres on George Bush Drive East in the College Hills Estates. The change will allow for commercial redevelopment opportunities.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:17 p.m.

Before adjourning, Mayor Berry noted it was her final council meeting. She thanked her fellow council members and city staff for the positive working relationship they’ve had since she was first elected in My 2010.

The council meets again on Monday, Nov. 21.

14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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