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

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, March 28. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:11 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session. 

5:23 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:

  • Funding Agreement With TxDOT: In 2018, the city entered into an advanced funding agreement with TxDOT for the construction of intersection improvements Wellborn Road and Deacon Drive. TxDOT has since updated the required resolution language and is requiring that the city adopt the revised resolution. The agreement covers work needed within state right-of-way as part of the Cain/Deacon railroad crossing switch project.
  • Wellborn Special Utility District Agreement: The widening and realignment of Royder require the relocation of Wellborn SUD waterlines. To reduce costs and make sure the relocations are completed on the road project schedule, the city will complete the relocations. Wellborn SUD will reimburse the city for the portion of waterline within the state’s right-of-way.
  • Police Body Cameras: The five-year obligation of $147,287 adds 17 Axon body cameras and 14 flex cameras to outfit detectives in the Criminal Investigations Division and members of the SWAT team.

5:43 p.m.

Historic Preservation Committee Annual Report

The council reviewed the annual report from the Historic Preservation Committee.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

5:51 p.m.

Secondhand Dealer Ordinance

The council reviewed a proposed ordinance that would strengthen the consistency of recordkeeping among secondhand dealers, which is defined as those who buy used personal property for resale or lend money on the security of personal property. It includes crafted precious metal dealers and pawnbrokers.

Police say the ordinance will increase the likelihood of intercepting stolen property.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

6:55 p.m.

NCO Recommendations

The council reviewed recommendations related to the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay zoning district and its associated standards and processes. Since last summer, the council has received additional information related to neighborhood conservation ordinances in Bryan, and the Heart of Southside NCO process has ended.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

6:57 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:05 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:11 p.m.

Mayor’s Water Conservation Challenge

Mayor Mooney proclaimed the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation throughout April. The eighth annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is designed to inspire residents to make online pledges to reduce their environmental impact and to reap the savings on their water, sanitation, and electricity bills.

7:15 p.m.

National Public Health Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed next week as National Public Health Week, which has been promoted since 1995 by the American Public Health Association to educate the public, policymakers and public health professionals about issues important to improving public health.

7:24 p.m.

CSFD Class 1 ISO Designation

Representatives from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office officially presented the College Station Fire Department with its Class 1 ISO rating. Most U.S. property insurers use ISO’s Public Protection Classification program to calculate premiums, which are generally lower in communities with a high rating.

Fewer than one percent of the 47,500 fire protection areas in the United States have a Class 1 ISO rating.

Related Blog: CSFD joins elite company with Class 1 ISO rating

7:30 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized 2nd Lt. Johnny K. Craver as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 37-year-old McKinney native died on Oct. 13, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq.

7:31 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Established a 35 mph speed limit on new sections of Lakeway Drive and Pebble Creek Parkway.
  • Added a school zone along Graham Road, Longmire Drive, and Birmingham Road near International Leadership Texas.
  • Repealed an old resolution and adopted a new one regarding an advanced funding agreement with the state for intersection improvements at Wellborn Road and Deacon Drive that are part of the Cain/Deacon railroad crossing switch project.
  • An inter-local agreement with the Wellborn Special Utility District for its cost participation in the city’s Royder Road Phase II Widening Project.
  • A $340,000 contract with Bayer Construction for a traffic signal at the intersection of Texas Avenue and Brothers Boulevard.
  • A third change order increasing the master services and purchasing agreement with Axon Enterprise from $1.17 million to $1.3 million for the purchase, support, warranty, and video data storage of police body cameras and in-car video systems.
  • An amendment permitting the two appointed citizen members of the Audit Committee to vote on matters before the committee.
  • Terminated restrictions under a 1984 general warranty deed on a small tract of land formerly owned by the city in the Chimney Hill Retail Plaza on University Drive.

7:46 p.m.

Koppe Bridge Zoning Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to amend the zoning for Koppe Bridge Bar & Grill on Harvey Road to reduce the landscape buffer and allow additional parking between the restaurant and Harvey Hillsides Creek.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

8:01 p.m.

BioCorridor Zoning Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the zoning for the Research Valley BioCorridor Development Project, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit. The changes would provide process and design flexibility.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:15 p.m.

Blocks and Streets UDO Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a Unified Development Ordinance amendment to allow more preliminary plans to be approved at the staff level, saving applicants weeks of waiting for a Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:36 p.m.

FY19 Bond Authorization

The council voted unanimously to approve the issuance of up to $82 million in FY19 certificates of obligation to fund street, public facilities, electric, water, and wastewater projects, and pay debt issuance costs.

Certificates of obligation are based on the city’s full faith and credit and are paid primarily through the debt service portion of the property tax rate and another funding stream such as utility revenues. The city’s financial advisor recommended the city issue COs for utility projects instead of utility revenue bonds. The utility systems will cover their associated portion of debt service through utility revenues.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:50 p.m.

Francis Drive Emergency Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a $334,000 emergency construction contract with Larry Young Paving to complete the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Shady Drive to Glenhaven Drive. The previous contract was terminated, and the emergency contract is necessary to protect public health and safety.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:53 p.m.

General Parkway Extension Change Order

The council voted unanimously to approve a $63,467.50 change order to the contract with Palasota Contracting for the General Parkway Extension North Project, which includes the extension of General Parkway to Cain Road.

At the start of the excavation and embankment operation, the contractor found soft soil and the removal of two inches of soil per specification direction did not remedy the situation. The change order is for the removal of up to three inches of soil with additional stabilization and imported fill to remedy the poor conditions.

The extension of General Parkway will allow for improved transportation flow after the closing of the railroad crossing at Cain Road and Wellborn Road.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:58 p.m.

City Manager Bryan Woods introduced Barbara Moore and Brian Piscacek as assistants to the city manager. Moore moves over after about 12 years as neighborhood services coordinator, while Piscacek served almost seven years as a community development analyst.

9:01 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, April 11.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 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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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Neighborhood Conservation Overlay: In the workshop, the council will consider recommendations related to the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay zoning district. The council has received additional information related to neighborhood conservation ordinances in Bryan, and the Heart of Southside since the NCO process ended.
  2. School Zone on Graham Road: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider adding a 25 mph school zone along Graham Road, Longmire Drive and Birmingham Road for International Leadership Texas.
  3. Traffic Signal at Texas-Brothers: The consent agenda also includes a contract for a traffic signal at the intersection of Texas Avenue and Brothers Boulevard. TxDOT is installing medians on Texas between Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Deacon Drive.
  4. BioCorridor Zoning Amendment: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the zoning for the Research Valley BioCorridor Development Project, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit. The proposed changes would provide process and design flexibility.
  5. Francis Drive Emergency Contract: The council will consider an emergency construction contract with Larry Young Paving to complete the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Shady Drive to Glenhaven Drive. The city terminated the previous contract, and the emergency contract is needed to preserve and protect public health and safety.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 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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CSFD joins elite company with Class 1 ISO rating

By Carter Hall, CSFD Public Information Officer

Everyone likes to be No. 1, especially in a sports-crazed town such as College Station. But in some cases, being No. 1 means much more than bragging rights with your rivals.

Take College Station’s new Class 1 ISO fire rating, which is effective Monday.

The Insurance Service Office (ISO) classifies communities on a scale of 1 to 10. Those that earn the Class 1 demonstrate the best systems for water distribution, fire department equipment, firefighting personnel, and dispatch facilities.

The College Station Fire Department is one of only seven in Texas to have both a Class 1 ISO rating and international accreditation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Even more impressive is that fewer than one percent of the 47,500 fire protection areas in the United States are ISO Class 1.

The new rating also means you may pay less to insure your home or business. Most U.S. property insurers use ISO’s Public Protection Classification program to calculate premiums, which are generally lower in communities with a high rating. Contact your insurer to see if the change might affect your premiums.

College Station Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan recognizes the importance of reaching this milestone. “Becoming an ISO Class 1 community was one of my top strategic initiatives when I became the fire chief in early 2017,” he said. “Having this designation demonstrates the city’s ongoing commitment to providing excellent fire protection for our residents.”

Chief McMahan also recognizes Water Services’ David Coleman, Gary Mechler, and Stephen Maldonado, Jr., along with Robert Radtke of Public Safety Communications, — and their teams — for their hard work in achieving the improved rating. The achievement ties together the credibility of our fire, water, and communication departments and makes College Station an even more attractive community for businesses and families.

Key elements considered by ISO were:

  • Response capability, which consists of the staffing of fire service personnel on engine and ladder companies.
  • Fire station distribution, including location and coverage area.
  • Adequate and appropriate apparatus and equipment.
  • Fire department training.
  • Fire department organizational structure.

ISO then evaluated the city’s water supply and distribution system, public safety communications, and fire prevention codes and enforcement.

Representatives from the Insurance Services Office and the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office will officially present College Station with its Class 1 ISO rating at Thursday’s city council meeting.

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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Citizen satisfaction survey open though April

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The City of College Station’s 2019 citizen survey will soon start arriving in some residents’ mailboxes. The city will use the survey to assess and prioritize a broad range of services and needs.

Any College Station resident – regardless of whether they received a mailed survey – is welcome to complete the online survey. Responses are limited to one per household. The anonymous survey takes about 15 minutes to complete.


Take the Survey


“With our rapid growth, it’s vital for us to receive feedback from our citizens to help us responsibly plan for College Station’s future and prioritize our needs,” City Manager Bryan Woods said. “We genuinely value our residents’ input, and a high level of participation will provide us with accurate survey results.”

Administered by Fort Worth-based National Service Research, the surveys are being mailed to 8,000 randomly selected households. Survey participants will rate various city services, quality of life issues and community characteristics. The survey closes April 30, with the final report available in June.

NSR also conducted College Station’s 2012 and 2016 surveys.

For more information, contact the city at 979-764-3768 or survey@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 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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State honors BV WaterSmart for conservation impact

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If you’re among the more than 500 College Station residents who’ve signed up to receive irrigation notices from Brazos Valley WaterSmart, you’ve seen the impact of the innovative program on your water bill. For those of us who keep an eye on our precious aquifers, the impact has been even more dramatic.

The program’s goal is to improve residential outdoor water use and reduce landscape overwatering, and it’s succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. When you consider our population has grown by about 30 percent since the 2010 Census, the results are downright astounding.

The water budgets it generates and other interventions such as our irrigation checkups have reduced the number of high-volume single-family residential consumers in College Station by nearly 50 percent.  Since the program’s inception in 2010, the cumulative reduction in water use in College Station is more than 630 million gallons of water. That’s about how much our community consumes in two full winter months.

The program has even had a positive effect on the efficient use of your tax dollars, trimming the City of College Station’s electric bill by at least $110,000 a year because of reduced pumping, treatment, and electricity needed for distribution.

It’s not surprising that others across the state have noticed our miracle on the Brazos.

Last week, Brazos Valley WaterSmart received the prestigious Blue Legacy Award from the Texas Water Development Board as part of “Texas Water Day at the Capitol” in Austin. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding and innovative commitment to the state’s mission of promoting responsible management of water resources and the conservation of our water resources.

Brazos Valley WaterSmart is an educational and research partnership of Texas A&M University, the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District, and the City of College Station. That means a lot of outstanding people are behind this tremendous success story.

How BV WaterSmart Happened

Faculty, staff and graduate students from the A&M’s Water Management and Hydrological Science degree program, Texas AgriLife Research, and the Texas Center for Applied Technology worked with staff from the city and district to develop the program. Agriculture and Life Sciences Professor Ronald Kaiser is the director.

The research team found that about half of the water used in College Station and Bryan is for landscape, lawn, and outdoor purposes. They knew that helping the community find creative and innovative ways to be more efficient was the key to significant savings.

The six programs they created include weather stations, a website, personalized weekly watering notifications, residential water budgets, free residential irrigation system inspections, water conservation seminars, and public service announcements. Each program focuses on a different aspect of outdoor water usage to educate residents on ways to conserve.

To everyone involved — especially the environmental technicians who work on specifying, installing, and maintaining the weather stations and rain gauges that make up the weather-based watering recommendations — WAY TO GO!

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Festive Easter egg hunts aren’t just for kids anymore

By Virginia Godwin, Recreation Supervisor

When I was a kid, a typical Easter Sunday featured an Easter egg hunt after church and a feast with family and friends. As an adult, I may seem satisfied to watch the annual egg hunts from the sidelines, but in reality, I regret missing out on the fun.

I’m still a kid at heart.

If you feel the same way, I have some great news — adult Easter egg hunts are a real thing!

The City of College Station’s Parks and Recreation Department has revamped our traditional egg hunt and created one just for grown-ups 18 years and older — and it’s even glow-in-the-dark.

We invite you to join us on Friday, April 12 from 7-10 p.m. for the Glow-in-the-Dark Egg Hunt at Wolf Pen Creek Park. The nostalgic atmosphere will help you relive your fond childhood memories with tunes from the 80s, 90s, and 00s to awake the adolescent in you.

We’ll have games, joy jumps, and face painting with a touch of the trending selfie booth to document your experience. The egg hunt begins at 9 p.m.

Last year, the parks staff wasn’t sure about what to expect as we strategically hid 10,000 eggs. Our worst-case scenario was if 1,000 attendees showed up, they’d each get 10 eggs. We didn’t realize more than 2,000 adult residents had so sorely missed the Easter egg hunts of the childhood.

We never dreamed we’d have that level of participation for a first-time event.

We planned to hide the eggs throughout the park to spread out the savage hunters. For the most part, the strategy fell flat, but the feedback we received helped us to evaluate and analyze the event effectively. We went back to the drawing board.

This year’s egg hunt will be different.

We have doubled our inventory to 20,000 eggs, which include 20 golden eggs that contain prizes from local businesses. In addition, the entire hunt will be on the Festival Site near the old Arts Council building. Our staff of egg protectors will make sure sneaky hunters don’t pilfer any eggs before the hunt begins!

For the safety and enjoyment of our participants, these two simple rules will be in place:

  • Stay out of the hunt zone until the coordinators officially start the hunt.
  • Keep your hands, feet, and body to yourself. Hitting, kicking, tripping, pushing, body slamming or other forms of physical harm to others will not be tolerated.

Don’t miss out on all the mad fun. It’ll be all that and a bag of chips!

For more information, visit cstx.gov/events or call 979-764-3486.

 


About the Blogger

Virginia Godwin is in her fifth year as recreation supervisor. A College Station native, she previously served as the staff development specialist for Kids’ Klub, the College Station Independent School District’s after-school program.


 

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