Neighborhood Services

Good neighbors are the key to great neighborhoods

By Esmeralda Casas, Neighborhood and Community Relations Coordinator

Looking for a chance to meet those who recently moved into your neighborhood?

Monday is National Good Neighbor Day, and it’s an ideal opportunity to welcome the newcomers — the first step in being a good neighbor. As an icebreaker, you can even present them with a free City of College Station welcome bag.

To promote community and connectedness during these socially distant times, you may also consider hosting a neighborhood cleanup day or a simple neighborhood walk. Neighborhood Services can help registered neighborhoods with activity ideas and safety guidelines.

You don’t have to leave home to practice good neighboring. Join your NextDoor or Facebook neighborhood group, organize a Zoom gathering, or take time to teach your children about being a good neighbor. The city has free, downloadable coloring sheets to help you start the conversation:

Get Involved

If you belong to a neighborhood or homeowners association, volunteer to serve on the board or a subcommittee to improve your neighborhood while meeting neighbors and making friends. If your neighborhood doesn’t have an association, our manual can help you start one. You can also apply for the city’s Neighborhood Partnership Program and subscribe to our Neighborhood Newsletter at cstx.gov/Neighbor

After all, the best way to have a great neighborhood is to be a good neighbor.

 


About the Blogger

Esmeralda Casas is in her second year as the city’s neighborhood and community relations coordinator. She previously served as an education and outreach specialist with the Sexual Assualt Resource Center and as the communications coordinator for The Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station. A Rio Grande Valley native, Esmeralda earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


Posting your own “No Parking” sign isn’t a solution

By Esmeralda, Casas, Neighborhood and Community Relations Coordinator

Have you ever returned home to your nice, quiet neighborhood to find an unfamiliar vehicle parked on the street in front of your house? Regardless of whether the car belongs to a neighbor or one of their guests, you find it inconsiderate and annoying.

You call the police and the city’s code enforcement department, but they both tell you that for them to take any action, the vehicle must be blocking a driveway, facing traffic, or be otherwise improperly parked. Neither your neighbor nor his guest has violated the law.

You’re a little miffed to discover you have no legal entitlement to public parking spaces in front of your house. While it may be a nuisance when someone else parks there, it’s not against the law.

In frustration, you post an official-looking sign near your curb. The words “No Parking” in big, red letters are clear for everyone to see.

Problem solved? Not by a long shot.

State law prohibits you from placing or trying to enforce traffic-directing signs on public streets. That means your neighbor hasn’t broken the law – you have. Only city employees can legally install such signs.

If you think that scenario doesn’t happen, think again. We’ve seen a significant rise in residents posting unauthorized signs, especially no parking signs.

The bottom line is that streets maintained by the city are for public use. Unless an authorized sign states otherwise, they are available for anyone to park along.

That doesn’t mean the problem has no solution. The most effective course of action is to have a friendly talk with your neighbor. In most cases, you can work something out.

To report unauthorized signs or improperly parked vehicles, contact Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363 or submit your concern to SeeClickFix.

 


About the Blogger

Esmeralda Casas is in her first year as the city’s neighborhood and community relations coordinator. She previously served as an education and outreach specialist with the Sexual Assualt Resource Center and as the communications coordinator for The Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station. A Rio Grande Valley native, Esmeralda earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


Discussion about short-term rentals set for Nov. 18

By Brian Piscacek, Assistant to the City Manager

The City of College Station invites residents to join city staff on Monday, Nov. 18, for a discussion about short-term housing rentals.

The informal gathering will be at 6:30 p.m. at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility at 1603 Graham Road. We’ll also serve light refreshments.

The idea of homeowners renting out their homes has evolved through online platforms such as Airbnb and expanded in College Station with the demand created by Aggie football weekends. The recent growth of short-term rentals across the nation has been dramatic, with Airbnb alone logging a half-million transactions last year in Texas.

Our discussion includes an overview of the short-term rental model and its impact on our community. We’ll address current conditions, solutions adopted by other municipalities, and elements of a prospective ordinance.

We’d like to hear not only from residents, but also real estate professionals, lodging operators, and short-term rental hosts. Elected and appointed city officials may be in attendance, but city staff will lead the activities, including small group discussions.

For more information, contact me at bpiscacek@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Piscacek has been with the City of College Station since 2012 and has served as assistant to the city manager for special projects since early 2019. He was previously a community development analyst. Before coming to College Station, Brian worked for Texas Tech and the North & East Lubbock Community Development Corporation. He earned bachelor’s (2007, Political Science/History) and master’s (2009, Public Administration) degrees from Tech.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


8 easy ways for students to thrive in College Station

By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager

As a former Texas A&M student and now a permanent resident, I love the hustle and bustle that fall brings. Autumn also means football and pumpkin spice latte season. Whoop!

Watching the students move in and gear up for classes brings back fond memories, and it’s also a perfect opportunity to offer some friendly advice for our new residents.

A common misconception about College Station is that it’s just a college town filled with students. While Texas A&M is the heart and soul of College Station, our community is filled with more than 122,000 residents of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

College Station has been nationally recognized as one of the best college towns, the best places to raise a family, start a career, and to retire. As a student living in a neighborhood, you might have a retired couple on one side, a young professional on the other, or a family with little ones. That’s why it’s so important to be a good neighbor so you can avoid citations and enjoy your college years to the fullest.

1. Say howdy

Don’t be shy! Meet your neighbors and exchange contact information so they can call you in case of emergencies or other issues. It’s also a good idea to let them know about any big gatherings you’re planning and ask them to contact you if there are any noise or parking problems. Wouldn’t you rather hear from your neighbor than a police officer?

2. Turn it down a notch

It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or allow continued loud noise – including barking dogs – especially from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. As a general rule, if you can hear the noise at the end of your property line, it’s too loud. If you are bothered by noise and can’t resolve the issue on your own, report it to the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600.

3. Tend to your pets

When not on their owner’s property, dogs must be on a leash, and owners must clean up after them. College Station also has four, off-leash dog parks. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be licensed, tagged, and vaccinated in Brazos County. Even if your pet is licensed elsewhere, you’ll still need to tag them here. You can purchase registration tags through your veterinarian or the Aggieland Humane Society. Learn more at cstx.gov/animalcontrol or call 979-775-5755.

4. Talk trash (and recycling)

The process of moving in and out can result in a mountain of unwanted items and trash. Consider donating lightly used furniture, clothing, and other household items to local organizations instead of placing them at the curb for solid waste collection.

Some things to remember:

  • Trash containers must be placed at the curb in front of your residence before 8 a.m. on your designated collection day.
  • Don’t place your container closer than four feet from fixed objects, mailboxes, cars, or trees.
  • Garbage should be bagged, tied, and securely stored in your container with the lid closed at all times.
  • Don’t pile bags or trash on top of or around your container, or the sanitation truck’s automated arm won’t be able to empty it.
  • Items too large to fit in your container should be placed neatly on the curb for bulk collection.
  • Brush should be cut into 8-foot lengths or shorter and put in a separate pile.
  • You must remove your garbage and recycling containers from the curb within 12 hours of collection.

If you have a blue, single-stream recycling container, it’s collected by Brazos Valley Recycling. We encourage you to review the list of acceptable items printed on top of each container. Place only clean items in your recycling container, and anything not on the list should be put in the garbage. Shredded paper is the only recyclable that should be placed in a clear plastic bag. Bagging other items isn’t necessary and could cause significant and costly damage to the sorting equipment.

For more information about solid waste or recycling, visit cstx.gov/solidwaste or contact Solid Waste Services at pubworks@cstx.gov or 979-764-3690.

5. Know where to park

If you park where you’re not supposed to, you can be stuck with a costly citation. Avoid that headache by remembering our 10 most common parking violations:

  1. Parking within 30 feet of a traffic control device such as a stop sign, yield sign or flashing light.
  2. Parking facing traffic – your car must always be parked in the direction of traffic flow.
  3. Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
  4. Parking within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  5. Parking in a handicap space without a handicap placard.
  6. Parking on a yard – if more than half of the vehicle is parked in the grass, it’s a violation.
  7. Parking at expired meters.
  8. Overstaying allotted periods in time-limited parking.
  9. Parking in loading zones.
  10. Blocking driveways so residents can’t get in or out.

6. Know the code

Many people don’t think about city codes until it’s too late. These are our most common code violations, which can also result in hefty fines:

  • Open Storage: Don’t store anything in your yard or patio that’s not intended for outdoor use, like a couch.
  • Yard Maintenance: Weeds and grass shouldn’t be higher than 12 inches.
  • Flyers/Signs: Nothing should be placed on utility poles, street signs, or in the public right-of-way.
  • Selling Parking Spaces: It’s illegal to operate a business in a residential neighborhood in College Station. Selling parking spaces on your property is a business.

You can review a complete list of code violations at cstx.gov/codeenforcement.

7. Get out and vote

Since you are affected by these codes and ordinances, it might be a good idea to participate in your local government by voting. To register to vote in Brazos County, go to brazosvotes.org.

The next city election is Nov. 5.

8. Take advantage of job opportunities

The City of College Station has part-time and seasonal jobs available throughout the year. Go to cstx.gov to see the latest listings and to apply.

Good luck this year!

Note to Permanent Residents: You can help College Station keep its reputation as one of the nation’s friendliest cities by helping your new neighbors out through understanding, education, and kindness. My office, Public Communications, has welcome bags available for free that includes information from this blog and more. For more information, email me at llively@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Lacey Lively serves as the chief information officer for the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board. She has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. Lacey previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


National Night Out helps build stronger neighborhoods

Sgt. Roy Shelton, CSPD Community Enhancement Unit

The best thing about National Night Out is just seeing neighbors having open discussions about the things that affect their neighborhoods – and what they can do to make those neighborhoods better. As a witness to many National Night Out celebrations through the years, I can attest to the collaborative spirit these events produce.

The cities of College Station and Bryan will observe the 35th National Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 2, with numerous block parties and celebrations designed to bring residents and local law enforcement together. College Station police officers will answer questions and provide insight and information about crime prevention and ways to build safer neighborhoods. Residents will also likely cross paths with the mayor, city council members, and city managers.

In College Station, at least 40 neighborhoods participate each year, forging strong relationships and discovering the power of unified neighborhoods. With National Night Out as a starting point, neighbors begin talking more frequently about concerns and issues and work together to resolve those problems.

These neighborhood groups often evolve into an active neighborhood organization that develops a real sense of community.

I hope the synergy created by National Night Out continues to inspire our neighborhoods to get and remain organized, and to stay active long after the celebration is over.

For more information, call 979-764-6234 or email rshelton@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Sgt. Roy Shelton is in his 17th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


8 ways you can be a good neighbor this school year

By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager

As a former Texas A&M student and now a permanent resident, I love the hustle and bustle that fall brings. Autumn also means football and pumpkin spice latte season. Whoop!

Watching the students move in and gear up for classes brings back fond memories, and it’s also a perfect opportunity to offer some friendly advice for our new residents.

A common misconception about College Station is that it’s just a college town filled with students. While Texas A&M is the heart and soul of College Station, our community is filled with more than 118,000 residents of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

College Station has been nationally recognized as one of the best college towns, best places to raise a family, and best places to retire. As a student living in a neighborhood, you might have a retired couple on one side, a young professional on the other, or a family with little ones. That’s why it’s so important to be a good neighbor so you can avoid citations and enjoy your college years to the fullest.

1. Say howdy

Don’t be shy! Meet your neighbors and exchange contact information so they can call you in case of emergencies or other issues. It’s also a good idea to let them know about any big gatherings you’re planning and ask them to contact you directly if there are any noise or parking problems. Wouldn’t you rather hear from your neighbor than a police officer?

2. Turn it down a notch

It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or allow continued loud noise – including barking dogs – especially from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. As a general rule, if you can hear the noise at the end of your property line, it’s too loud. If you are bothered by noise and can’t resolve the issue on your own, report it to the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600.

3. Tend to your pets

When not on their owner’s property, dogs must be on a leash and owners must clean up after them. College Station also has four, off-leash dog parks. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be licensed, tagged and vaccinated in Brazos County. Even if your pet is licensed elsewhere, you’ll still need to tag them here. You can purchase registration tags through your veterinarian or the Aggieland Humane Society. Learn more at cstx.gov/animalcontrol or call 979-775-5755.

4. Talk trash (and recycling)

The process of moving in and out can result in a mountain of unwanted items and trash. Consider donating lightly used furniture, clothing, and other household items to local organizations instead of placing them at the curb for solid waste collection.

Some things to remember:

  • Trash containers must be placed at the curb in front of your residence before 8 a.m. on your designated collection day.
  • Don’t place your container closer than four feet from fixed objects, mailboxes, cars or trees.
  • Garbage should be bagged, tied and securely stored in your container with the lid closed at all times.
  • Don’t pile bags or trash on top of or around your container, or the sanitation truck’s automated arm won’t be able to empty it.
  • Items too large to fit in your container should be placed neatly on the curb for bulk collection.
  • Brush should be cut into 8-foot lengths or shorter and put in a separate pile.
  • You must remove your garbage and recycling containers from the curb within 12 hours of collection.

If you have a blue, single-stream recycling container, it’s collected by Brazos Valley Recycling. We encourage you to review the list of acceptable items printed on top of each container. Place only clean items in your recycling container, and anything not on the list should be put in the garbage. Shredded paper is the only recyclable that should be placed in a clear plastic bag. Bagging other items isn’t necessary and could cause significant and costly damage to the sorting equipment.

For more information about solid waste or recycling, visit cstx.gov/sanitation or contact Solid Waste Services at pubworks@cstx.gov or 979-764-3690. You can also download the free MyWaste app to keep up with collection schedules and updates on your mobile devices.

5. Know where to park

If you park where you’re not supposed to, you can be stuck with a costly citation. Avoid that headache by remembering our 10 most common parking violations:

  1. Parking within 30 feet of a traffic control device such as a stop sign, yield sign or flashing light.
  2. Parking facing traffic – your car must always be parked in the direction of traffic flow.
  3. Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
  4. Parking within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  5. Parking in a handicap space without a handicap placard.
  6. Parking on a yard – if more than half of the vehicle is parked in the grass, it’s a violation.
  7. Parking at expired meters.
  8. Overstaying allotted time periods in time-limited parking.
  9. Parking in loading zones.
  10. Blocking driveways so residents can’t get in or out.

6. Know the code

Many people don’t think about city codes until it’s too late. These are our most common code violations, which can also result in hefty fines:

  • Open Storage: Don’t store anything in your yard or patio that’s not intended for outdoor use, like a couch.
  • Yard Maintenance: Weeds and grass shouldn’t be higher than 12 inches.
  • Flyers/Signs: Nothing should be placed on utility poles, street signs or in the public right-of-way.
  • Selling Parking Spaces: It’s illegal to operate a business in a residential neighborhood in College Station. Selling parking spaces on your property is a business.

You can review a complete list of code violations at cstx.gov/codeenforcement.

7. Get out and vote

Since you are affected by these codes and ordinances, it might be a good idea to participate in your local government by voting. To register to vote in Brazos County, go to brazosvotes.org.

The next city election is Nov. 6.

8. Take advantage of job opportunities

The City of College Station has part-time and seasonal jobs available throughout the year. Go to csjobs.cstx.gov to see the latest listings and to apply.

Good luck this year!

Note to Permanent Residents: You can help College Station keep its reputation as one of the nation’s friendliest cities by helping your new neighbors out through understanding, education, and kindness. My office, Public Communications, has welcome bags available for free that includes information from this blog and more. For more information, email me at llively@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Lacey Lively serves as the chief information officer for the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board. She has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. Lacey previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!