Posts tagged “neighborhoods

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.


 

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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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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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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Bryan’s Neighborhood Protection Ordinances: The council will hear a workshop presentation about the City of Bryan’s Residential Conservation District and a recent ordinance amendment that defines and regulates stealth dorms as “Detached Shared Housing.”
  2. Televising Planning & Zoning Workshops: The council will have a workshop discussion about televising the Planning and Zoning Commission’s workshop meetings. The regular meetings are televised on the city’s cable channel and streamed online.
  3. CSU Land Acquisition: Among the items on the consent agenda is a $1.67 million contract for almost 13 acres of land needed for the expansion of the College Station Utilities Service Center.
  4. New City Hall Rendering: In the regular meeting, the council will review an architectural rendering of the exterior of the new city hall.
  5. Electric Advisory Board: The council will discuss the possible creation of an electric advisory or independent utility board for CSU.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Nov. 9)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Nov. 9. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:17 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of executive session.

Councilman James Benham is participating by teleconference.

5:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Architectural Advisory Committee: The five-member committee will consist of not more than three council members and two qualified citizens appointed by the council. The committee’s purpose is to “review and make recommendations on scope and schematic design for the exterior of vertical projects and the aesthetic finishes on linear projects.”
  • Greens Prairie-Arrington Cost Participation/Contract: Two items concern the addition of a traffic signal and other improvements at the Arrington Road-Greens Prairie Road intersection. The first is a cost participation agreement with the landowner and the second is a $650,000 construction contract with Palasota Contracting.
  • Cooner Street Parking Removal: The ordinance would remove parking on the south side of Cooner Street from Texas Avenue to the cul-de-sac, around the cul-de-sac, and on the north side of Cooner to the west of the intersection with MacArthur Street. Severe traffic congestion has been witnessed on Cooner because of parking on both sides of the street. School buses also are unable to complete their bus routes without drivers knocking on doors to have cars moved.

6:03 p.m.

New Police Station Design

The council reviewed fresh design concepts for the new police station that reflect the council’s desire for a traditional theme with elements such as a pitched roof, arches, columns, and a clock tower. The council directed the architect to bring back additional information as quickly as possible.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:27 p.m.

Future City Hall Location

The council voted 4-2-1 to select the current city hall property at 1101 Texas Ave. as the site for a future city hall building. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Julie Schultz voted against the motion, and Mayor Karl Mooney abstained. Basic concepts and site layouts were discussed for each of three proposed locations. The design process is tentatively scheduled to begin in FY18, with construction planned for FY19.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:36 p.m.

Student Housing in Single-Family Neighborhoods

The council discussed potential short-term and long-term options to mitigate the impact of student housing in established single-family neighborhoods, including minimum parking requirements, accessory structures, and single-family overlays. The consensus of the council was to schedule a further discussion for another workshop. 

Issues include an increasing number of student rental properties that impact neighborhood character, high market demand to re-plat and rebuild homes on single-family lots as student rental housing, and concerns about traffic, noise, and trash.

The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the following actions for consideration:

  • Amend the single-family parking requirements for new construction in areas designated Neighborhood Conservation on the Comprehensive Plan to require one parking space per bedroom.
  • Amend the accessory structures code to allow living quarters to be rented with some limitations.
  • Amend the single-family overlay code section to allow additional options for inclusion in Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:36 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended and will resume after the regular meeting, which will start after a short break.

7:47 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:53 p.m.

B-CS Regional Association of Realtors

Mayor Mooney recognized Nov. 16 as the 50th Anniversary of Bryan-College Station Regional Association of Realtors

7:56 p.m.

CSU’s Rowe Cited for Lineman Rodeo Performance

Mayor Mooney recognized College Station Utilities Lineman Justin Rowe for winning three of five events in the Annual Apprentice Lineman Rodeo last month at Veterans Park. In his second year as a CSU lineman, Rowe won first place in hurt man rescue, fuse replacement, and obstacle pole. Here’s a short highlight video of the event:

8:01 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ben Roper recognized Army 2nd Lt. Brian D. Smith as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 30-year-old McKinney native died July 2, 2004, when he was shot in combat in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

8:04 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve these consent agenda items:

  • A participation agreement with OGC Greens Prairie Investors to share the costs of intersection improvements at Greens Prairie Road and Arrington Road.
  • An interlocal agreement with Texas A&M for sharing the costs of pedestrian improvements at the intersections of FM 60 with Discovery Drive and the Large Animal Clinic driveway.
  • A $51,185.04 credit change order to an existing contract and a new emergency contract for $135,887.30 with Blastco to repair a concrete foundation at the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A $651,494.05 contract with Palasota Contracting for the Greens Prairie and Arrington Road Intersection Improvements Project.
  • A $439,126 contract with Marek Brothers Construction for renovations to the Traffic Operations Center.
  • Removal of parking on Cooner Street from Texas Avenue to near the cul-de-sac to the intersection with MacArthur Street.

The council voted separately on this consent item:

  • By a 7-0 vote, the council created an Architectural Advisory Committee, which will consist of no more than three council members and two citizens, preferably qualified, appointed by the council.

10:25 p.m.

Eastgate Neighborhood Plan Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted 4-2 to amend the Eastgate Neighborhood Plan to allow for vehicular access from Lincoln Avenue to a proposed Planned Development District (PDD) at 801 Lincoln Avenue. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Linda Harvell voted against the motion, and Councilman Barry Moore recused himself.

The PDD request proposes multi-family and commercial uses on the interior property, and single-family land uses fronting Lincoln Avenue. The amendment removes language from the Eastgate plan that restricts vehicular access between multi-family/commercial and single-family uses.

Fifteen people spoke during the public hearing, and most were against the change.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:01 p.m.

University Town Center Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning designation from General Suburban to Planned Development District for about 7½ acres at 801 Lincoln Avenue. The plan calls for multi-family and commercial uses on the interior property, and single-family land uses fronting Lincoln Avenue. Councilman Moore recused himself from the vote.

Seven people spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:02 p.m.

The council is taking a short break

11:10 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

11:12 p.m.

Corsair Drive Right-of-Way Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to abandon a 0.132-acre portion of right-of-way on Corsair Drive to allow for development. Councilwoman Julie Schultz recused herself from the vote.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:14 p.m.

Corsair Drive Easement Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to abandon a 0.083-acre portion of a 20-foot wide public utility easement on Corsair Drive to allow for development. Councilwoman Schultz recused herself from the vote.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:15 p.m.

Brazos Central Appraisal District Appointments

The council voted unanimously to reappoint Ron Kaiser to the Brazos Central Appraisal District board of directors. The current term expires Dec. 31.

11:16 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

11:19 p.m.

The remaining workshop item about suburban commercial zoning districts has been pulled and will be discussed at a later date.

The council has gone into executive session.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 20.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Student Housing in Neighborhoods: In the workshop, the council will discuss possible ways to address the impacts of student housing in single-family neighborhoods. Topics include minimum parking requirements and single-family overlays.
  2. Suburban Commercial Zoning: The council will consider possible changes to Suburban Commercial Zoning districts to encourage development compatible with nearby neighborhoods. Topics include architectural elements, permitted uses, buffer requirements, and lighting.
  3. Police Station Design Concepts: The council will weigh three fresh concepts for the design of the new police station that reflect architectural elements council members requested last month.
  4. Future City Hall: The final workshop presentation will be about possible locations, basic concepts and site layouts for a future city hall.
  5. Greens Prairie-Arrington Improvements: The consent agenda includes two items regarding the addition of a traffic signal and other improvements at the Arrington Road-Greens Prairie Road intersection. The first issue is a cost participation agreement and the second is a $650,000 construction contract.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Colin has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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7 ways students can survive and thrive in CS

By Kathleen Meredith, Public Communications Assistant

People from all walks of life call College Station home, and we want to live in a community that values its residents — families, retirees and college students alike. Creating and sustaining harmony in our neighborhoods is everyone’s responsibility.

Most full-time residents understand our ordinances, but many college students don’t — especially those who are living here for the first time. When I first moved to College Station as a student, I wasn’t aware of many of our city codes, either.

By taking these tips to heart, you’ll make your neighborhood a happier, healthier place.

1. Say howdy

Once settled into your new home, introduce yourself to your neighbors and offer them your contact information in case of emergencies or other problems. It’s also a good idea to notify your neighbors when you plan to host a large gathering and invite them to contact you directly with noise or parking complaints.

2. Turn it down a notch

It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or allow continued loud noise, especially from 10 p.m.-7 a.m. Barking dogs count. 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 your property, dogs must be on a leash and owners must clean up after them. 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 of a home can result in a mountain of unwanted items and trash. You might consider donating lightly used furniture, clothing, and other household items to local organizations instead of placing them out for sanitation 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.
  • Garbage should be bagged, tied and securely stored in your container with the lid closed at all times.
  • Don’t place your container closer than four feet from other containers, mailboxes, cars or trees.
  • 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 bulky 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 clear plastic. Bagging other items isn’t necessary and could cause significant and costly damage to the sorting equipment.

For more information about sanitation or recycling, visit cstx.gov/sanitation or contact us 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. You can avoid that headache by remembering the 10 most common parking violations we see:

  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.
  • 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, and 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. 7.

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.

Have a great year — and Gig ‘Em!

 


About the Blogger

Kathleen Meredith is in her first year as public communications assistant with the City of College Station. She previously served as a communications assistant in Texas A&M’s Mechanical Engineering Department and interned with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s marketing department. Kathleen earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications/journalism from Texas A&M in 2017.


 

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Four easy ways to create neighborhood harmony

GoodNeighborGuidelings_2

By Lacey Lively, Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator

Our growing community of 103,245 people consists of an uncommon blend of college students, families and retirees. With so many different lifestyles, it can be difficult to establish harmonious relationships with your neighbors.

It doesn’t have to be.

By following these four simple suggestions, we can help each other enjoy living in our terrific neighborhoods. (more…)


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Aug. 27)

College Station City Council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Aug. 27. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:30 p.m.

The workshop has started.

5:48 p.m.

BVSWMA FY16 Budget

The council voted unanimously to approve the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency’s FY16 budget, which includes no rate changes. BVSWMA, Inc., owns and operates the Twin Oaks Landfill and compost facility and maintains the closed Rock Prairie Road Landfill. 

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council: (more…)


Beautify, improve your neighborhood through city grants

 

By Barbara Moore, Neighborhood Services Coordinator

Since 1999, Neighborhood Services has helped strengthen and support College Station’s homeowner and neighborhood associations through a variety of programs and services, including gateway and neighborhood grants.

Neighborhood and homeowner associations registered through the city’s Neighborhood Partnership Program have long been able to apply for grant funding for entrance signs and other beautification projects. More recently, smaller, less expensive projects have become eligible, leading to the Strong and Sustainable Grant Program.


PODCAST: Barbara Moore discusses Strong & Sustainable Grant Program


These programs have brought a sense of identity, community and beautification to many of our neighborhoods. We’re proud to have played a role in a wide array of projects that have brought neighbors together and are still serving their purposes years later. The grant programs are even more vital today as our neighborhoods continue to grow.

Amazing Growth (more…)


3 common misconceptions about code enforcement

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

When it comes to code enforcement, misconceptions are bountiful. It’s time to take a closer look at some of the myths that surround our services and to clarify the role of the city’s Code Enforcement Division.

First, let’s attempt to separate myth from reality by addressing three of the most common misconceptions:

Myth No. 1: Code Enforcement tickets violations immediately.

code3Reality: Our goal is to educate the resident, property owner and any person associated with a property. The process begins with a door tag, or in the case of trash can being left out after collection day, a can tag.

(more…)


Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Nov. 24)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Nov. 24. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:08 p.m. (more…)


Five things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Monday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:  

  1. Mayor Pro Tem: The council will elect a mayor pro tem to a one-year term to act as mayor when the mayor is absent or disabled.
  2. Neighborhood Integrity Advisory Group: The council will discuss recent neighborhood integrity efforts and the possible formation of a group to advise on neighborhood integrity issues.
  3. Lick Creek Property Sale: The council will consider the sale of about 63 acres of city-owned property next to Lick Creek Park. The $1.55 million in proceeds would go into the General Fund.
  4. New Playground Equipment: The council will consider approving a $99,403 contract for playground replacement at Bee Creek and Thomas Parks.
  5. Oil & Gas Regulations: The council will receive an update on the ongoing review of the city’s oil and gas regulations. 

(more…)


5 handy tips to help students thrive in College Station

We Love TAMU

 

By Lacey Lively, Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator

If you’re a student either returning to College Station or moving here for the first time, learning about basic city ordinances is probably not high on your to-do list. But if you ignore our local laws, you might find yourself paying some costly citations out of your already tight budget.

As one of America’s top college towns, we want to help you avoid that so you can concentrate on more important things – like Aggie football!

(more…)


Mooney: Benefits of Blinn campus outweigh concerns

Blinn-Logo-Featured[1]If Blinn College decides to make the Lynntech property its second campus in Bryan-College Station, it would directly impact my family and many others who live in nearby neighborhoods.

However, I’m confident my family, property values, safety and comfort won’t be compromised.

I live in Emerald Forest and once resided in the Raintree subdivision. My west property line runs along Appomattox and from my home, I can see the Lynntech building. As director of academic advising at Texas A&M, I also work with students and staff from A&M and Blinn who participate in Blinn TEAM, the co-enrollment program.

Would a Blinn campus bring changes to the area?

Absolutely. But the changes wouldn’t necessarily be as disruptive as some residents seem to believe.

What about traffic? (more…)


Podcast: Templin discusses challenges of regulating rental properties in college towns

College Station City Manager Kelly Templin has lived in, and worked for, three different university cities and has been working on solutions to neighborhood/student issues for 20 years. In a podcast discussion with Communications Director Jay Socol, Templin offered his perspective on the commonalities of these serious issues and where successes and failures are usually found:


Nichols: Managing the impact of neighborhood rental properties

For-rent-sign[1]The City of College Station is experiencing almost unprecedented growth stemming largely from the expansion of enrollment and research and development budgets at our institutions of higher education. These changes bring many opportunities for business development, employment, new retail experiences, and expanded regional and national recognition.

They also bring many challenges. We live with, and try to adapt to, the pressures of increasing traffic congestion and the transition of many commercial and residential neighborhoods.

The rapid expansion of rental properties into neighborhoods zoned for “single families” and long thought to be designed mainly for traditional owner-occupancy is the focus of intense current discussion by many residents and rental property owners. In College Station, the definition of permitted occupancy in what are designated as “Suburban Residential” and related similar zones is “no more than four unrelated individuals.”

(more…)


Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch: (more…)


How students can survive and thrive in College Station

Moving to a new town to continue your education at a major university — and everything that comes along with that exciting journey — can be overwhelming. The last things on your mind right now are city ordinances, but not knowing basic ordinances could result in costly citations.  

As one of America’s top college towns, we want to help you avoid these simple mistakes so you can concentrate on more important things – like Aggie football! 

(more…)