Planning & Development

Survey another way to express views on city’s future

By Justin Golbabai, Long-Range Planning Administrator

In late September, the City of College Station conducted a series of four public workshops as part of the 10-year update to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Since the topic was about College Station’s development road map for the next decade, we expected a strong turnout.

We asked for enthusiastic public input, and that’s what we got.

More than 200 residents participated in the workshops, providing essential insights on our present and future growth patterns. The gatherings also generated vital feedback on how residents think the city should develop.

We offer our sincere gratitude to all who attended the workshops, but if you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry.

An online survey — in English and Spanish — is open through Oct. 16. If you missed the workshops, the survey is a meaningful way to contribute your input about our community’s present and future growth patterns.

The workshops and the survey play a crucial role in the city’s evaluation and reassessment of its 2009-30 Comprehensive Plan, our policy roadmap to plan, anticipate, and guide growth and development over 20 years. The Next 10 process is considering current conditions, recent trends, and best practices, and is involving the community in shaping our growth and development.

Your valued input will lead to changes and updates to the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Ordinance, the policies and regulations that affect new development. We hope to have the evaluation process completed by late next summer.

For more information and to sign-up for email updates, go to cstx.gov/TheNext10.

 


About the Blogger

Long-Range Planning Administrator Justin Golbabai, AICP CNU-A has been with the City of College Station since 2016. He previously served the City of Austin for nine years in various capacities, most recently as Neighborhood Partnering Program manager. Justin has also worked for the cities of Savannah (Ga.) and Overland Park (Kan.). A native of Windsor, Conn., he received a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas in 2006, and a bachelor’s in economics and sociology from The University of Notre Dame in 2004.


 

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Help plan College Station’s Next 10 at workshops

By Justin Golbabai, Long Range Planning Administrator

Planning for the growth and development of a city is similar to planning for any journey – it begins with knowing the starting point and the final destination. Based on those points, you can make appropriate plans and preparations and then set out knowing that adjustments will be necessary along the way.

The 2009-2030 Comprehensive Plan is the city’s policy roadmap to plan, anticipate, and guide growth and development over 20 years. It’s been 10 years since the plan’s adoption, and it’s time to reassess and discuss where the city should go in the next decade. We’re calling this process The Next 10.

Focus on the Future Workshops

Community input is an essential part of The Next 10. Next week, we will conduct a series of four identical workshops at locations across College Station to gather your input on the city’s present and future growth patterns. We encourage you to attend the most convenient session.

The 90-minute meetings will consider the conditions and trends facing our community and feature small groups to generate insight about your desired outcomes. Whether you are living, working, attending school, or raising a family in College Station, your perspective is vital to the plan’s success.

Here’s the meeting schedule:

Monday, Sept. 23

>> 7-8:30 p.m., Southwood Valley Elementary Cafeteria (2700 Brothers Blvd.)

Tuesday, Sept. 24

>> 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., CSU Meeting & Training Facility (1601 Graham Road)

>> 7-8:30 p.m., Forest Ridge Elementary Cafeteria (1950 Greens Prairie Road)

Wednesday, Sept 25

>> 7-8:30 p.m., Oakwood Intermediate School Cafeteria (106 Holik St.)

If you plan to attend, RSVP on the workshop Facebook page.

College Station is committed to updating its policies to address the issues of today and prepare for those that may arise in the future. By participating in the process, you can help evaluate the city’s direction in light of current trends and community values and to proactively address topics that are important to you.

You don’t have to be an expert, either. You only have to care about your community.

We’ll start analyzing the data we’ve gathered in December and start laying out the plan in the spring. We hope to present a final draft to the city council next summer.

For more information and to sign-up for email updates, visit cstx.gov/TheNext10.

 


About the Blogger

Long Range Planning Administrator Justin Golbabai, AICP CNU-A has been with the City of College Station since 2016. He previously served the City of Austin for nine years in various capacities, most recently as Neighborhood Partnering Program manager. Justin has also worked for the cities of Savannah (Ga.) and Overland Park (Kan.). A native of Windsor, Conn., he received a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas in 2006, and a bachelor’s in economics and sociology from The University of Notre Dame in 2004.


 

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Let’s work together to resolve neighborhood integrity issues

By Justin Golbabai, Planning Administrator

College Station’s brisk population growth has had plenty of positive effects, including new economic opportunities and an expanded tax base. But that growth has also come with challenges, creating a strain among developers responding to the real estate market and residents who want to maintain the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

In many conflicts — at least in the popular culture — you have clearly defined good guys and bad guys. That’s not the case here, where developers and neighborhoods generally have honorable intentions. The challenge is the find an appropriate balance between healthy growth and preserving the integrity of neighborhoods.

That’s the driving force behind the City of College Station exploring possible revisions to its Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) in response to neighborhood integrity concerns. The catalyst for positive, productive changes is a gathering of stakeholders from the development community, neighborhood associations, and the general public.

On Monday, the city’s Planning and Development Services Department will conduct two come-and-go community meetings at city hall. The first will be from noon-1:30 p.m., and the second — covering the same topics — will be from 5-6:30 p.m. The meetings provide an optimal setting for you to contribute to the development processes in our community.

Another vital component is an online survey that will be active through May 14. The survey covers the same information as the meetings and presents an additional way to gather public feedback. You can complete the survey starting Monday at cstx.gov/DevServices.

The meetings and the survey will focus on these concepts:

  • Allowing accessory living quarters — also known as garage apartments or granny flats — to be rented similar to other housing units.
  • Requiring single-family houses to provide one parking space per bedroom, no longer capping it at four spaces.
  • Altering how single-family height and distance protections are applied to non-residential properties.
  • Allowing increased flexibility for neighborhoods seeking to create Neighborhood Conservation Overlays.
  • Creating a new Middle Housing zoning district that allows for a variety of housing types such as triplexes, fourplexes, and live-work units that are between the existing single-family and multi-family zoning categories.

For more information or to supply feedback on these concepts, contact me at 979-764-3826 or jgolbabai@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Planning Administrator Justin Golbabai, AICP CNU-A has been with the City of College Station since 2016. He previously served the City of Austin for nine years in various capacities, most recently as Neighborhood Partnering Program manager. Justin has also worked for the cities of Savannah (Ga.) and Overland Park (Kan.). A native of Windsor, Conn., he received a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas in 2006, and a bachelor’s in economics and sociology from The University of Notre Dame in 2004.


 

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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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4 ways to fight illegal dumping and keep our city clean

By Debbie Stickles, Engineering Programs Specialist

You’ve seen the eyesores.

The piles of garbage, tires, paint cans, and appliances that someone carelessly dumped by the side of the road or in an open field. The practice is illegal, but it still happens far too often, despite the threat of substantial fines and even jail time.

Many of the dumped items are not just a blight on the landscape — they can be hazardous, too.

Illegal dumping is the disposal of a large quantity of rubbish or large items on either public or private property. Due to the low visibility created by high brush lines, local streams typically take the brunt of the mess. A few discarded shopping carts or a heap of tires can pollute waterways, increase flood hazards, and destroy wildlife habitats.

Here are four ways you can help us be friendlier to our environment and keep our community clean:

1. Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

When it comes to recycling or disposing of medications, computers, televisions, gasoline, oils pesticides, herbicides, antifreeze, paint, batteries and more, Brazos Valley residents should take advantage of free Household Hazardous Waste Collection events every spring and fall. The next one is Saturday, Oct. 21 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Texas A&M University Services Building located on Harvey Road east of Veterans Parks & Athletic Complex.

2. Recycling and solid waste programs.

The City of College Station’s single-stream recycling program allows you to place your recyclables in one container. The only item you need to bag in clear plastic is shredded paper. Visit cstx.gov/recycle to learn about the city’s solid waste and recycling programs.

Other resources may include private companies which can recycle or dispose of certain types of waste such as tires or construction materials. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers a list of statewide resources for recycling or special waste disposal.

3. Clean-up events and stewardship organizations.

The City of College Station offers several volunteer programs to get you directly involved in helping our environment:

  • Adopt-A-Street enhances the appearance of our community by beautifying and maintaining a street or section of a street.
  • Adopt-A-Greenway helps residents and businesses play an active role in cleaning up and beautifying our open spaces, creeks and multi-use paths/trails. The City of College Station partners with Keep Brazos Beautiful to coordinate the program.
  • Only Rain down the Drain Campaign encourages individuals or groups to place decals on neighborhood storm drain inlets that read “Don’t Dump. Drains to River.

4. If you see it, report it!

If you come across illegally dumped materials or see someone dumping illegally, report it by contacting Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363 or codeenforcement@cstx.gov, or use the popular SeeClickFix mobile app.

 


About the Blogger

Debbie Stickles is starting her third year as the city’s engineering program specialist. She previously worked as an engineering specialist in the Railroad Commission of Texas’ Oil & Gas Division from 2014-15.  A native of Carrizo Springs, Debbie received a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2013.


 

Photo Copyright: antpkr / 123RF Stock Photo

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City seeks public feedback on revisions to UDO


By
Justin Golbabai, Planning Administrator

Have you ever wondered why even new neighborhoods in College Station have so many trees? Or how commercial properties can be compatible with adjacent residential neighborhoods?

The city’s Unified Development Ordinance governs the development of land in College Station and to an extent, within our 3½-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction. The UDO’s purpose is to promote your health, safety, and general welfare.

College Station’s UDO is under review, and changes could be on the way to create more flexibility for development in our growing city.

A pair of public meetings on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at College Station City Hall (1101 Texas Ave.) will provide residents and developers two opportunities to provide input about possible UDO revisions. The first meeting will be from noon-1:30 p.m. A second meeting covering the same material will be from 5-6:30 p.m.

The meetings will focus on these topics:

  • Suburban Commercial Zoning Districts: How to increase the development viability of the Suburban Commercial zoning district in a way that’s compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Non-Residential Landscaping Requirements: Feedback on the city’s landscaping requirements, including streetscaping and buffer standards, and on ways to provide more options to conserve water.
  • Requirements for Redeveloping Non-Conforming Properties: How to provide more flexibility to redevelop properties that don’t comply with the UDO.
  • Streamlining the Preliminary Plan Process: How we can effectively streamline the preliminary plan process.

For more information, contact me at 979-764-3826 or jgolbabai@cstx.gov.

 

 


About the Blogger

Planning Administrator Justin Golbabai has been with the City of College Station since 2016. He previously served the City of Austin for nine years in various capacities, most recently as neighborhood partnering program manager. Justin has also worked for the cities of Savannah (Ga.) and Overland Park (Kan.). A native of Windsor, Conn., he received a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas in 2006, and a bachelor’s in economics and sociology from Notre Dame in 2004.


 

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