Posts tagged “code enforcement

Game day parking doesn’t have to be a hassle

 

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

Although we’re all glad football is back, COVID-19 restrictions will make for a completely different atmosphere around Aggie games.

One thing hasn’t changed, though.

With thousands of fans descending on Kyle Field, finding a place to park nearby will still be a daunting challenge, especially in the Southside neighborhood.

That’s why it’s vital that guests and residents abide city parking ordinances, which are designed to make our streets and neighborhoods safe. Emergency vehicles must respond if needed, and cars must be kept off yards to prevent fires, broken meters, broken gas lines, and other problems.

The College Station Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the Northgate District staff work together to ensure a safe environment on game day.

Street Parking

Many of the streets in the Southside area were developed decades years ago and are exceptionally narrow. Police officers will be looking for vehicles parked illegally, including those facing traffic, blocking fire hydrants, parking too close to stop signs, blocking intersections, and parking in no-parking zones, 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 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. Parking in the garage means 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 Resources

Here 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 Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for two decades.


 

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How to register your short-term rental housing

By Brian Piscacek, Assistant to the City Manager

In College Station, nothing matches the excitement of the arrival of football season. Especially after all we’ve been through in 2020.

If you rent your home or other property for Aggie game day weekends — or for any other reason — you want to do it the right way. Starting this year, that means registering your short-term rental with the City of College Station. The ordinance goes into effect on Oct. 1.

A short-term rental is a residential unit that’s rented out for fewer than 30 consecutive days. It includes single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, multifamily units, and manufactured homes.

If you are a short-term rental operator, you must have a valid permit and collect and remit hotel occupancy taxes monthly. The permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance and must be renewed each year. The permit is $100, and the required inspection is an additional $100. The annual renewal is $75.

In addition to the permit and hotel taxes, the ordinance requires STR operators to:

  • Provide an informational brochure to guests that includes pertinent neighborhood information, how to contact the operator, and local emergency numbers.
  • Equip the dwelling with working life safety equipment such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors if using gas/propane, and one fire extinguisher per floor.
  • Maintain the unit in compliance with applicable city codes.

How to Apply for a Permit

STEP 1

Request access to the online permitting system by emailing STR@cstx.gov with your name, permanent (i.e., your homestead property) address, email address, and phone number. You must receive a login and password before applying online.

STEP 2

Know your STR type. The ordinance permits three categories of STRs related to zoning. To identify your zoning, go to the city’s interactive map, click the layer icon on the upper right, then select “Zoning” from the options.

  • Short-Term Rental I is a bed and breakfast facility located in a residential zoning district. They have specific rules that align with our Unified Development Ordinance for B&B properties, including requirements that the unit is the proprietor’s permanent residence, no more than four unrelated may occupy overnight, and no more than one meal is served daily. If your STR is not a bed and breakfast, you are not an STR I.
  • Short-Term Rental II is an owner-occupied unit in a residential zoning district of either General Suburban (GS), Restricted Suburban (RS), or Wellborn Restricted Suburban (WRS). These are located in what you think of as a typical single-family neighborhood. Are you in one of these zoning districts? Do you owner-occupy the residence? If so, this is your category. If the unit you’re operating as a short-term rental is an accessory dwelling on the property — such as a mother-in-law suite or a garage apartment — you’re required to be on-site during the rental.
  • Short-Term Rental III is a short-term rental in a residential zoning district other than General Suburban, Restricted Suburban, or Wellborn Restricted Suburban. It includes Rural (R), Estate (E), Wellborn Estate (WE), Townhouse (T), Duplex (D), Multifamily (MF), Mixed-Use (MU), and Manufactured Home (MHP). These units may be owner-occupied or non-owner-occupied.

Non-Owner Occupied STRs: If you’ve been operating the unit as an STR but don’t live there, the ordinance includes a grandfathering provision, and you may apply for a permit until Nov. 27. After that, no application for non-owner-occupied units in GS, RS, or WRS zoning will be considered. You must demonstrate that the unit has been used as a short-term rental by providing evidence that you’ve remitted hotel occupancy taxes.

To illustrate continuous use, proof of tax remittance must cover a period of at least six of the last 12 — or 12 of the last 24 — months immediately preceding October. If you have not remitted those taxes, you may do so through Avenu Insights with the applicable penalties for late filings. Please include evidence of your filings and payments when you apply for the STR permit.

Planned Development Districts: If your property is located in a Planned Development District (PDD), refer to the base zoning. Plans submitted with at PDD designation include a list of land uses that align with zoning districts. For assistance, contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570.

STEP 3

Apply online. Include the proper documentation: homestead exemption (if required), completed Guest Information Guide, and hotel occupancy tax evidence, if applicable.

STEP 4

When notified, schedule your Life Safety Inspection to ensure your STR meets the ordinance’s life safety requirements. For most STRs, inspections are also required for renewal.

STEP 5

Receive your permit when your application is approved. Please include your permit number in your advertisements and internet booking sites.

STEP 6

Register with Avenu Insights to set up your hotel occupancy tax remittance and report filing. The ordinance requires that Hotel Occupancy Taxes be assessed and collected by short-term rental operators. The Code of Ordinances authorizes a hotel occupancy tax equal to 7% of the occupant’s consideration where the cost of occupancy is at least $2 per day.

On the last business day of the month after the month of collection, entities required to collect the tax must file a report and remit the appropriate amount. Failure to submit the report and remit payment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and a penalty of 15% of the tax due for every 30 days that the report isn’t filed or the payment isn’t made.

For more information on hotel occupancy taxes, go to our STR webpage.

If you have additional questions about short-term rentals, contact Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363 or str@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.


 

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Online options for reporting non-emergency issues

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

The City of College Station offers two online options for citizens to report non-emergency issues. The Police Department monitors one, and Code Enforcement handles the other.

Let’s take a look at how each platform works and what issues you may report to each. These tools don’t apply when health, life, property or the environment is at risk. For emergencies, always call 9-1-1.

Non-Emergency Police Issues

The Police Department’s Citizen’s Online Police Report System is for reporting seven types of non-urgent offenses:

  • Vehicle burglary
  • Credit/debit card abuse
  • Criminal mischief
  • Identity theft
  • Harassment
  • Lost property
  • Property theft

If the crime you need to report isn’t listed, call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 979-764-3600.

When completing your online report, fill out the form completely and accurately with as much detailed information as possible. If you can, include serial numbers and the value of stolen or damaged property. CSPD may not assign an investigator to every case, and they may contact you for additional information.

The system confirms your submission is complete by displaying the message “Your online police report has been submitted.” Keep the temporary report number until a permanent number is assigned. Your report is also printable.

For financial crimes, the police won’t investigate until you submit a completed Financial Crime Packet at the police station at 2611 Texas Ave.

Code Enforcement Issues

Code Enforcement’s online work order reporting system is SeeClickFix, a website and app for reporting public works issues or code violations you want the city to address. Examples include trimming trees that block traffic signs or signals, faulty water fountains in parks, accumulated trash or garbage cans left out, and illegally parked or junk vehicles.

If the reported issue isn’t code-related, our staff forwards the report to the appropriate city department. Through SeeClickFix, we’ll let you know which department is addressing the problem along with a phone number to call with questions or updates.

When submitting an online report, remember a few basic rules:

  1. SeeClickFix isn’t a social media platform for discussion and debate.
  2. Don’t post personal information about yourself or your property.
  3. Don’t post derogatory nor profane language or verbally attack others. We’ll immediately remove such posts.

If you have questions about SeeClickFix, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363.

Remember: These systems are not interchangeable; they are designed to report specific issues. Don’t report lost or stolen items on SeeClickFix, and don’t submit code violations to the police.

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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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.


 

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Game day parking doesn’t have to be a hassle

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

For football fans, following their favorite team to Kyle Field can be tricky. With thousands of fans descending on a relatively small area, finding a place to park their vehicles can be daunting.

Visitors understandably want to park as close to the stadium 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 significant test for city staff, too.

Our parking ordinances are designed to make our streets and neighborhoods safe. Emergency vehicles need to be able to respond if required, and cars must be kept off yards to prevent fires, broken meters, broken gas lines, and other problems. The College Station Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the Northgate District staff work together to ensure 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 illegally, including those facing traffic, blocking fire hydrants, parking too close to stop signs, blocking intersections, and parking in no-parking zones, 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 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. Parking in the garage means 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

Here 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 Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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.


 

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