Community Services

Volunteer to help spruce-up McCulloch on April 14

By Raney Whitwell, Code Enforcement Officer

We hear a lot about neighborhood integrity these days, but that vague term means different things to different people. For a code enforcement officer such as me, it means making a neighborhood the best it can be for its residents.

That’s why we came up with the idea of neighborhood integrity days, where we organize volunteers from local churches and non-profits to spruce up our community’s older neighborhoods with improved landscaping and routine maintenance. We invite you or your organization to participate in our inaugural Neighborhood Integrity Day for the McCulloch subdivision from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 14.

Located across from the Lincoln Recreation Center on Holleman Drive, McCulloch is College Station’s oldest neighborhood — and one of our most historically significant.

This volunteer day is the perfect opportunity for individuals, youth groups, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit service groups and agencies to serve their community in a positive, substantial way. Our ultimate goal is to build meaningful relationships while enhancing neighborhood pride.

You can help by volunteering, recruiting others to participate, or donating money or supplies. Your group has the option of adopting a home in the neighborhood and supplying the labor and some of the materials needed for cleaning siding, painting, repairing fences, planting flowers or shrubs, removing brush, and a host of other activities.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

We’ll also provide free mosquito dunks to residents and have booths set up on Nevada Street to distribute useful information about city programs and services, including homeowner assistance, crime prevention, pet care, recycling, parks and recreation, and much more.

You can donate money through Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity and can contribute materials such as mulch, soil, plants and other supplies by contacting me at 979-764-3829 or rwhitwell@cstx.gov. I can let you know what items we still need and make convenient pick-up or drop-off arrangements.

The McCulloch spruce-up day is the first of its kind in College Station. We hope its success leads lead to similar events in our other historic neighborhoods in the future. Help us make our neighborhoods the best they can be!

 


About the Blogger

Raney Whitwell is in her third year with the City of College Station and has been a code enforcement officer since 2016. 


 

Photo Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro/123RF Stock Photo

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Beware opportunists taking advantage of hail damage

By Brian Binford, Planning & Development Services Building Official

Weather-rated calamities seem to bring out the best in most folks. We saw that up close when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast last summer.

Unfortunately, these situations can bring out the worst in a few people, too.

While Sunday’s hailstorm certainly wasn’t a large-scale disaster, it did enough damage to set opportunists and scammers in motion. An elderly College Station resident received a suspicious call this morning from a roofing company that offered to evaluate her home for damage.

If you get such a call, check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company is legitimate and has a good reputation.

Roofing contractors must be registered with the City of College Station and are required to obtain a building permit to roof or replace shingles and decking on residences. Homeowners who do the work themselves don’t need to register as a contractor, but they must apply for a permit before construction.

To obtain a permit, click here or contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Binford is a certified building official and has been with the City of College Station since 2008. He’s a graduate of Sam Houston State.


 

Photo Copyright: studiodin/123RF Stock Photo

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How to avoid the aggravation of parking tickets

By Eric Chapman, Community Services District Supervisor

Getting a parking ticket is never fun, and it’s always frustrating. It can also cost you a ton of cash – as much as $520 for violations related to handicap parking.

Most parking tickets are issued for violations of local parking ordinances, which are civil offenses. In some cases, you can also be cited for breaking state laws, which are criminal violations under the Texas Transportation Code.

A parking ticket won’t affect your driving record unless you ignore it, throw it away or put it in your glove compartment and forget about it. Failing to deal with a ticket promptly can have serious consequences — including expensive fines – and can result in your vehicle being booted, towed, and impounded. In some cases, you can even lose your driving privileges.

Parking problems always exist in growing communities, especially college towns expanding as quickly as College Station. Most of the time, avoiding the headache of a parking violation is as simple as reading and obeying parking signs.

Our goal is to keep our residential streets safe and accessible for everyone – especially emergency vehicles – while making your parking experience as hassle-free as possible.

The photo montage below illustrates the most common parking mistakes we see in College Station.

For additional information or to check on local parking ordinances, call 979-764-6313.

 


About the Blogger

Eric Chapman is in his ninth year with the city’s Community Service’s Department and has been a district supervisor since 2013.  He worked for Tarrant County from 2005-08 and was a federal correctional officer in Warkworth, Ontario, from 1997-2005. He graduated with honors from Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, in 1996.


 

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Game day parking doesn’t have to be a hassle

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

For football fans, following your favorite team for a road game can be tricky. With tens of thousands of fans descending on a relatively small area, finding a place to park can be daunting.

That’s certainly the case in College Station.

Visitors understandably want to park as close to Kyle Field as possible, and that creates challenges for our guests and residents, especially in the Southside neighborhood. Making sure everyone abides by our city parking ordinances is a major test for city staff, too.

The laws are designed to ensure that our streets and neighborhoods are safe, which means emergency vehicles can respond if needed, and cars are kept off the grass to prevent fires, broken meters, broken gas lines, or other problems. The College Station Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the Northgate District staff work together to provide a safe environment for you on game day.

Street Parking

Many of the streets in the Southside area were developed years ago and are exceptionally narrow. Police officers will be looking for vehicles parked facing traffic, blocking a fire hydrant, parking too close to a traffic control device such as stop sign, blocking intersections, and parking in a no parking zone, to name a few. You also can’t directly block a driveway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t park across the street.

Some of these are violations of state law, and a few are towable offenses. If you are parked illegally in certain areas, your vehicle will likely be towed. If you discover your vehicle has been towed, call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 979-764-3600.

Yard Parking

Code Enforcement Staff will be actively looking for vehicles parking in yards. We discourage residents from illegally selling parking spots on their property. If we find a vehicle parked in the yard, we issue a warning to the resident in person and with a letter. If it’s a rental property, we also inform the property owner and management company.

If the violation happens again on another game day, we may issue a citation or court summons for the property owner and resident.  If you have any questions about this or any other city ordinance, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363.

Northgate Parking

The Northgate District provides numerous safe and affordable parking options, including the Northgate Parking Garage, which is just a short walk to Kyle Field. The special game day rate is $25. If you park in the garage, you don’t have to worry about parking in the wrong place or being towed.

We also have limited parking available on certain Northgate streets and in the surface parking lot. The game day rate for both options is $3.50 an hour and is applicable from 6 a.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.

For more information about the Northgate Parking Garage, including the availability of parking spaces, call 979-764-6313.

For general questions about parking or Code Enforcement, please feel free to contact me at 979-764-6363 or jcaler@cstx.gov.

Game Day Information

IMG_4223Here are some maps and other information that we hope will move you around town as quickly as possible on Aggie game days:

Gig ‘em, Aggies!

 


0000018EPAbout the Author

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for 18 years.


 

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Podcast: Couch on the roof, goat in the driveway — the world of Code Supervisor Julie Caler

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

College Station Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler makes her first appearance on the podcast and explains how she and her crew work to keep the city looking good. Sometimes, that means dealing with some odd or difficult situations.

In this episode, we cover topics ranging from parking and trash violations to hoarders and goats.

Total run time: 24:30
00:00 — Show open.
00:45 — What exactly do you and your staff do?
02:07 — Code used to be proactive, then reactive — now what are you?
03:53 — Most-common code issues in College Station?
04:45 — Why no parking in the grass?
06:25 — Most-egregious issues related to trash?
08:25 — How much of a problem is parking in yards?
09:23 — What are your Texas A&M home football game days like?
10:28 — Open storage is…fun? Bedroom suites on the roof??
13:00 — What about issues in back yards?
14:25 — Boats, trailers and RVs.
14:52 — Weeds and grass.
16:33 — Dealing with hoarders.
20:50 — Goats?
22:30 — Jay gives Julie a pop-quiz.
23:25 — Show close.

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Are address numbers required on homes, businesses?

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By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

Have you ever had a problem finding an unfamiliar home or business?

Even with the prevalence of GPS on our smartphones, locating some places remains difficult if the building isn’t identifiable from the street. That can create serious problems not only for visitors, deliveries and service calls but also for first responders in an emergency.

That’s why almost all cities, including College Station, have ordinances that require clearly displayed address numbers for homes and businesses.

What’s required?

house-numbers-poleIn College Station, the address number for houses must be at least two inches high on both sides of a mailbox near the curb, or at least four inches high on the house or a prominently displayed sign.

For businesses, the numbers must be at least four inches high and have at least a half-inch stroke width in the main body. They should also be made of a durable material.

The color of the numbers should also provide a contrast with the background. For example, brass or black numbers on a dark background are hard to see from the street, especially at night.

In addition, be sure your numbers won’t be obstructed by bushes and shrubs as they grow. If it’s behind a bush and can’t be seen from the street, you’re violating the ordinance.

Does the curb count?

2900-arroyo-st-s-002You may occasionally find a flyer on your door from a business that paints address numbers on curbs. The flyers sometimes claim that if you don’t have your address on the curb, you’re violating city ordinance.

While it’s certainly not a bad idea to display your house number on the curb, our ordinance only requires it to be on your house, mailbox or a prominent sign on your property.

For more information about properly displaying your address, contact Code Enforcement at codeenforcement@cstx.gov.

Related Link:

 


0000018EPAbout the Author

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for 17 years.


 

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