Planning & Development

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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Is the color orange really banned in College Station?

By Lauren Hovde, Senior Planner

Have you heard the one about the City of College Station not allowing businesses to have orange on their buildings? Or that we require establishments with predominantly orange accents to add Aggie maroon to their facades?

Those rumors about our architectural regulations are common – but false.

As much as we love Aggie maroon, College Station doesn’t prohibit orange. We don’t require the addition of maroon to comply with our architectural standards, either.

In other words, Whataburger wasn’t forced to add the famous maroon roof panel that proclaims its support for Texas A&M.

The City of College Station has an approved color palette from which businesses may choose the hue of their choice. The palette is anchored by semi-muted tones to maintain cohesiveness throughout the community.

Each building is allowed to use a limited percentage of accent colors so businesses can exhibit individuality and flair. That’s where you see vibrant colors come into play.

Next time you hear someone say College Station has banned the color orange, you’ll know the real story.

 


About the Blogger

Senior Planner Lauren Hovde started her second stint with the City of College Station this spring after serving as a staff planner from 2008-13. She was regional services planner for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments from 2006-08. A native of Josephine, Lauren earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M.


 

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Podcast: Who says College Station has 109,857 residents?

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Senior Planner Jessica Bullock was born and raised in Boston, attended school in Philadelphia, and experienced an awakening that led her to become a city planner — a fascinating story.

Among Jessica’s responsibilities: Every month, she calculates College Station’s estimated population. How? And is she even qualified to do it? Jessica answered those questions and more in this edition of the podcast.

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to hear the audio file from your system.

 

Podcast Archive


SocolAbout the Author

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. He’s a native of Breckenridge.


 

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Flood insurance premiums lower in College Station

By Donnie Willis, Environmental Engineer/Drainage Inspector

In July, the Texas Water Development Board evaluated the City of College Station’s floodplain management ordinances and enforcement practices to determine their effectiveness in meeting National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations.

The report found that College Station is one of the few communities with no issues.

In 1968, Congress created NFIP to help provide flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.

The program rates the City of College Station as a Class-7 Community, which results in lower flood insurance premiums. Our flood insurance rates are reduced 15 percent for structures in Special Flood Hazard Areas and 5 percent in 500-year areas. Preferred Risk Policies are already at reduced rates and don’t have additional premium reductions.

Flood insurance basics

Anywhere it rains, it can flood. And it only takes a few inches of water to cause major home damage. Since standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to know your flood insurance options.

Many people are under the misconception that they are ineligible for flood insurance because of where they live, or their mortgage status. But the truth is, most can get flood insurance if they live in or outside a floodplain, their property has flooded before, and even if their mortgage broker doesn’t require it.

The law requires flood insurance for property owners in high-risk areas, or Special Flood Hazard Areas, with a federally-backed mortgage. Also, if you’ve received a federal grant or loan for previous flood losses, you must have a flood policy to qualify for future aid.

For more details about flood insurance, visit FloodSmart.gov. To learn more about local floodplain management, visit cstx.gov/floodplains.

 


Willis_DonnieAbout the Author

Donnie Willis is in his 12th year as the City of College Station’s environmental engineer and drainage inspector. After 23 years in the U.S. Army, he served as the safety and environmental compliance manager at Trajen, Inc., from 2000-04. A native of Evans, La., Willis earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1987 and an associate of science degree in occupational safety and health for Texas State Technical College in 1995.


 

Photo Credit: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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Councilwoman Brick: What makes a great city?

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By Blanche Brick, Place 1 City Councilwoman

After serving on the College Station City Council for the past four years, I would like to offer my reflections on what makes a great city.

College Station has been experiencing a vigorous rate of growth. This experience has led the city council, city staff and the community to think long and hard about how to respond in a reasonable and sustainable way.

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