Posts tagged “Northgate

What’s the deal with the signal timing on University?

By Troy Rother, City Traffic Engineer

Few things are more frustrating than being stuck in seemingly endless traffic.

If you’ve driven down University Drive in Northgate in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably faced extraordinarily long wait times. A soon as you go through a green light, the next light turns red. At times, it takes 15 or 20 minutes to travel a single mile.

Let me assure you, we share your frustration and apologize deeply for the inconvenience.

Allow me to explain what’s behind all the chaos. It won’t ease your frustration, but at least you’ll know what’s going on.

Our contractor activated the reconstructed Northgate traffic signals on Aug. 22. Regrettably, the signal contractor didn’t have his subcontractors present for the activation as the city had directed. As a result, the detection systems didn’t function properly, which caused the traffic signal to give the maximum green time for all approaches — even if a vehicle wasn’t present on that approach.

Rest assured we’re working diligently with the subcontractors to correct the problem. We’ve developed coordinated timing plans for the corridor and are installing them this week. We’re also working on camera activation, emergency vehicle recognition, and getting the signals to talk to one another.

That said, it’s essential to keep in mind that the focus of the entire project is pedestrian safety in an area bustling with thousands of students. Recent pedestrian accidents in the area – including several tragic fatalities – led the city to work with the university and the Texas Department of Transportation to make necessary changes.

The good news is that we expect to have the final timings installed the week of Sept. 9. The complex project was supposed to be finished months ago, but weather and utility conflicts created numerous delays.

When fully implemented, the signal timings will have an exclusive pedestrian-only phase for walking and cycling traffic to cross University Drive or the minor roadway at the intersection. During this time, all vehicular traffic will be stopped, including right-turning vehicles.

The pedestrian-only phase will undoubtedly create delays for motorists, but benefits include a safer situation for pedestrians and no pedestrian conflicts for vehicles attempting to turn onto University Drive. For example, we observed traffic at the Nagle intersection this week and saw 12 vehicles turning left onto University instead of the usual four because the vehicles didn’t have to wait for pedestrians to cross during motorists’ green light.

Our overriding goal will always be to operate and maintain a safe and efficient transportation system. Unfortunately, the complexities involved sometimes create frustrations and inconveniences for us all. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

 


About the Blogger

Troy Rother has been College Station’s city traffic engineer since 2003. He previously served as an engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation and in the private sector with Wilbur Smith Associates. Troy earned bachelor’s (1997) and master’s (1998) degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M.


 

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City engages new tactic to control Northgate birds

By Gus Roman, Assistant Community Services Director

At certain times and places in College Station, it’s understandable if you may think you’ve been hired as an extra in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

 

Most of us like birds. Most birds, anyway.

The great-tailed grackles and starlings that gather around certain intersections and parking lots around town are a glaring exception.  Austin-based author James Brush even wrote a book about the Central Text pests titled “Birds Nobody Loves: A Book of Vultures and Grackles.”

Annoying motorists and supermarket shoppers is one thing, but the feathered pests have even infested Northgate. When you start messing with Aggie traditions, you’ve probably gone too far.

A biologist estimated as many as 10,000 birds roost in the trees at dusk. The massive volume of bird droppings they produce cause significant damage to city-owned property in the area and create unsanitary and unsightly conditions. It smells pretty awful, too.

Our janitorial service power washes the area every day, scrubbing benches and sidewalks to keep the place presentable and inhabitable. The daily service costs about $76,000 a year.

Unfortunately, the issue has become even more severe this year, and complaints from merchants and their patrons have intensified.

City staff has used various methods over the years to encourage the birds to leave, including trimming trees, adding lights, and using sonic repellers, decoys, and noisemakers. Each of those schemes seems to work until the clever birds catch on to the ruse.

Earlier this week, we began a different tactic that just might work.

OverWatch Bird Control is employing a variety of non-lethal methods such as lasers and drones to discourage the birds from roosting in the trees in and around the Northgate promenade. The contractor then plans to use birds of prey, or raptors, to threaten and intimidate the wild birds into roosting elsewhere.

The service costs about $6,000 and is expected to take about a week.

We hope our fine feathered friends get the message and move along peacefully, which no doubt would greatly disappoint the late Mr. Hitchcock.

 


About the Blogger

Assistant Community Services Director Gus Roman is in his fifth year with the City of College Station. He has also worked at the City of San Marcos and the City of Bryan and previously served with the City of College Station from 1995-03. A native of Nicaragua, Gus earned bachelor’s (building science 1989) and master’s (agriculture, land economics and real estate 2006) degrees from Texas A&M.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 25)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 25. 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.

5:13 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session.

5:35 p.m.

Planning & Zoning Commission Plan of Work

The council conducted a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss the commission’s 2019 plan of work, which includes items related to the Comprehensive Plan, neighborhood integrity, and the Unified Development Ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:39 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:

  • Drought Contingency and Water Conservation Plan: The 2014 Drought Contingency Plan update contained several revisions from the previous version adopted in 2009. The proposed plan does not make significant changes from 2014. The 2019 plan maintains year-round encouragement of voluntary water conservation, following guidance from the state.

6:04 p.m.

Thomas Park Improvements

The council discussed improvements for Thomas Park. City staff recommends completing the plan over multiple years, staying in the first year within the $1 million budgeted for FY19. Mayor Mooney suspended the discussion, which will resume after the regular meeting.

The Parks and Recreation Board recommends spending the $1 million on a covered tennis court, a dog park and two covered picnic tables on the park’s north end.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:05 p.m.

Mayor Mooney suspended the workshop, which will resume after the regular meeting. The council will take a short break.

6:13 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:20 p.m.

Groundwater Conservationist of the Year

The Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District presented Pebble Creek Country Club with its Groundwater Conservationist of the Year Award for commercial irrigation.

6:23 p.m.

National Community Development Week

The mayor proclaimed this week as National Community Development Week.

6:26 p.m.

Municipal Clerk’s Week

The mayor proclaimed May 5-11 as Municipal Clerks Week.

6:52 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized Air Force Airman 1st Class Corey C. Owens as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 26-year-old San Antonio native died on Feb. 17, 2011, in a non-combat incident at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
  • Eight people spoke in support of building a new pool in Thomas Park.

6:53 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • An annual blanket purchase order estimated at $180,000 with Lonestar Freightliner Group for repair parts and labor for fire trucks.
  • A $352,000 change order to the Graham Road Substation Project and a revision to the date of substantial completion from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31.
  • Renewal of an annual contract not to exceed $150,000 with All Around Tree Service for landscaping, tree trimming, and removal services.
  • A $281,998 contract with Bayer Construction Electrical Contractors for the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Barron Road and Alexandria Avenue.
  • An ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding secondhand dealers.
  • An ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding drought contingency and the Water Emergency Plan.
  • A resolution adopting the updated Water Conservation Plan as required by the state.
  • An ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances to stagger appointments to boards and committees to allow the city council to make annual appointments.

7:24 p.m.

Comp Plan Committee Appointments

The council made appointments to the Comprehensive Plan Evaluation Committee, which will serve as the steering committee for the city’s 10-Year Comprehensive Plan review:

  • City Council: John Nichols, Linda Harvell, Elianor Vessali
  • Planning & Zoning Commission: Dennis Christiansen, Elizabeth Cunha, Jeremy Osborne (Alternate: Joe Guerra)
  • Citizens: Michael Buckley, Clint Cooper, Brian Bochner, Bradford Brimley, Lisa Halperin, Julie Schultz
  • Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: Shana Elliott

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:31 p.m.

Bird Pond Road Land Use

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the land use from Estate to Restricted Suburban for about 13 acres northeast of the Rock Prairie-Bird Pond intersection. The change will allow the development of a residential subdivision. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:59 p.m.

Bird Pond Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Estate to Planned Development District for the same 13 acres as in the previous item. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:08 p.m.

Northgate District Study

The council voted unanimously to approve a $188,000 contract with Waltman Group to complete a Northgate District study and mobility/operations plan. The increase in high-density residential development has created safety and mobility concerns for people walking, biking, and driving during weekdays and weekend evenings.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:16 p.m.

Lick Creek Sewer Trunk Line

The council voted unanimously to approve a $10.9 million contract with Thalle Construction for the Lick Creek Trunk Line Project. The sewer line will extend from the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant through the southern boundary of Pebble Creek Country Club and tie into an existing line north of Fitch Parkway.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:21 p.m.

Ringer Library Shelving

The council voted unanimously to approve the $460,000 million purchase of shelving for the newly renovated Ringer Library from Lone Star Furnishings. The renovation project budgeted $875,000 to furnish the building. Requests for remaining furnishings will be presented to the council at a later date.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:23 p.m.

The council discussed future agenda items. Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop will resume after a short break.

8:30 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

9:37 p.m.

Thomas Park Discussion (continued)

The council concluded its earlier workshop discussion of improvements for Thomas Park. The consensus of the council was to not include a dog park or splash pad but to continue exploring a new swimming pool and other possible improvements as part of a broader plan. The discussion will continue as part of the FY20 budget process.

9:41 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports.

The council meets again on Monday, May 13.

 


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 earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science from Texas Tech.


 

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Closing Boyett on busiest nights makes Northgate safer

By Gus Roman, Assistant Director of Community Services

If you’ve ever driven through the Northgate Entertainment District on a Friday or Saturday night, you know it’s an immensely popular place for college students to get revved up for Aggie football or just unwind after a long week of classes.

You also know it can be an extraordinarily dangerous place for unwary pedestrians. With more than 60,000 students walking, driving and bicycling around campus, safety has to be the top priority for local authorities.

The city has worked closely with Texas A&M and The Texas Department of Transportation to devise and implement various safety improvements along University Drive. In 2012, Old College Main was closed at University Drive, and we added a bicycle and pedestrian crossing.

Still, with one of the nation’s most populous universities across the street, pedestrian safety remains a dominant issue – especially at the intersection of University and Boyett Street.

Despite the presence of a signalized crosswalk, many pedestrians blatantly ignore the signal and haphazardly move through the bustling traffic. Meanwhile, ride-booking services and taxis often stop in traffic lanes to serve their customers.

We may not be able to stop that reckless behavior, but we can try to reduce the risk.

That’s why starting this week, Boyett Street will be closed between University Drive and Patricia Street from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The intersection will also be closed Wednesday, Aug. 29, the night before the Aggie football opener against Northwestern State. No parking will be allowed on the sealed portion of Boyett.

The closure includes the area in front of Shiner Park, O’Bannon’s Tap House and a few other bars, along with two entrances to the corner convenience store.

Whenever Boyett is closed, the southern row of the Northgate parking lot will serve as a designated loading area for ride-booking customers. To help traffic flow, we renumbered and restriped the lot to accommodate angled spaces. Plenty of additional parking is available in the city’s Northgate Parking Garage, which has more than 700 affordable spaces.

These adjustments may be inconvenient for some, but in the end, we’ll have a safer, more pedestrian-friendly environment in Northgate.

 


About the Blogger

Gus Roman has been with the City of College Station since 2015 and has served as assistant director of community services since 2016. He’s also worked for the City of San Marcos and the City of Bryan. Gus previously served the City of College Station from 1995-2003. He has two degrees from Texas A&M – a bachelor’s in building construction (1989) and a master’s in agriculture, land economics and real estate (2006).


 

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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. Possible City Charter Amendments: The council will have a workshop discussion about proposed city charter amendments that may be placed on the ballot in the November election.
  2. Historical Marker Presentations: The Historic Preservation Committee will present historical markers to the owners of six homes.
  3. Boyett Parking Removal:  As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider the removal of parking on the west side of Boyett Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The no parking zone would start 60 feet north of University Drive and extend another 160 feet.
  4. Northgate Passenger Loading Zone: Another consent agenda item is the creation of a passenger loading zone in the Northgate Promenade Parking Lot to help address pedestrian safety and traffic congestion issues. The loading zone would be in place from 9 p.m.-3 a.m.
  5. Fun for All Playground: The council will consider a $942,123 contract with CRT GC, Inc. for construction of a Fun for All Playground at Beachy Central Park. The all abilities facility would provide accessible and inclusive play for everyone and will be funded primarily by private donations and civic groups.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 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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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. Northgate Pedestrian Safety: The council will hear a workshop presentation on proposals for temporary measures to enhance pedestrian safety in the Northgate area, including the closing of Boyett Street at University Drive on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. An ongoing comprehensive study will help determine permanent changes.
  2. Fire Station No. 7 Property: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $600,000 real estate contract to purchase about four acres on Wellborn Road for the city’s seventh fire station. The item is part of the budget amendment on the regular meeting agenda.
  3. Northgate Video Surveillance: Also on the consent agenda is a $337,000 general services agreement with ASAP Security Solutions for the first phase of a video surveillance system in the Northgate District and Northgate Parking Garage.
  4. FY18 Budget Amendment: After a public hearing, the council will consider a $4.13 million amendment to the city’s FY18 budget. Most of the amendment covers Phase II of the Veterans Park & Athletic Complex Build-Out ($1.55 million), the Fun for All Playground ($1 million), a design contract for Southeast Park ($400,000), and land for a new fire station.
  5. Rezonings on Wellborn Road: After public hearings, the council will consider requests to rezoning two properties along Wellborn Road south of Greens Prairie Road to allow for commercial development. One is for about four acres, and the other is for 4.4 acres.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (May 25)

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, May 25. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:08 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:12 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:

  • Northgate Loading Zone and Bollards: The scope of the $297,250 contract is for construction along University Drive to close off the current loading area that is equipped with flexible bollards and to construct additional paved sidewalks and drainage structure. Removable bollards would be installed in four locations where the existing pneumatic bollards don’t function properly. The project would improve safety and aesthetics in the Northgate area and would occur is the area bordered by College Main, University Drive, Lodge Street and Church Street.

6:43 p.m.

Municipal Property Master Plan

The council heard a presentation about the city’s efforts since the late 1990s to plan for city-owned properties and facilities.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:56 p.m.

Gateway Marker on Highway 6 South

The consensus of the council was to wait until after the current state legislative session ends to decide on a location for the city’s second gateway marker on South Highway 6. The first sign has been completed near the northern city limit at Highway 6 and University Drive. The project budget is $175,000.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:07 p.m.

Statewide Telecommunications Franchises, Bandwidth

The council heard a presentation about legislative changes regarding statewide telecommunication and cable TV/Video franchises.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:07 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended. The regular meeting will begin after a short break.

7:16 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:21 p.m.

National Garden Week

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed June 4-10 as National Garden Week with a presentation to the A&M Garden Club.

7:25 p.m.

Arts Council College Scholarships

The Arts Council of Brazos Valley awarded its annual College Arts Scholarships to four College Station Independent School District seniors:

  • Yanichka Ariunbold will attend Stanford and pursue a degree in international studies/culture.
  • Isabela Cruz-Vespa will attend Bard College and will pursue a degree in musical performance.
  • Josey Meyer will attend Texas A&M and will pursue a degree in visualization.
  • Madeline Miller will attend Chapman University and will pursue a degree in dance.

The Arts Council, through the generous support of local donors, awards multiple scholarships each year to deserving young artists in the Brazos Valley. The College Arts Scholarship is open to graduating seniors in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties who will attend an accredited college or university with a course of study in the arts, culture, or heritage fields.

7:29 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 Marine Lance Cpl. Ruben Valdez, Jr. as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 21-year-old San Diego, Texas native died April 17, 2004, from injuries suffered during enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

7:30 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A contract not to exceed $1,400 with Sungard Public Sector for services to move the Click2Gov online payment engine to a new server.
  • A contract not to exceed $418.256.26 with Computer Solutions for additional electronic storage and services to repurpose existing storage as a backup.
  • A resolution amending the bylaws of the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation.
  • A $1.8 million contract with Condie Construction for Phase 1 of the Northeast Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line.
  • A $196,515.88 change order to the contract with Larry Young Paving for the Rock Prairie Road Widening Project.
  • An interlocal agreement with the City of Bryan for maintenance of the Unity Plaza area.
  • A $297,250 contract with Dudley Construction for the University Drive Loading Zone & Northgate Bollards Project.
  • An annual contract not to exceed $100,000 with Larry Young Paving for the repaving of utility cuts.
  • A development agreement with CTX Land Investments to facilitate the extension of Dartmouth Drive at the Harvey Mitchell Parkway intersection.
  • A negotiated settlement between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Corp., Mid-Tex Division, regarding the company’s 2017 rate review mechanism filings and a settlement agreement regarding rate tariffs and proof of revenues.

7:34 p.m.

Parks & Recreation Standard of Care

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved standards of care for the Parks and Recreation Department’s elementary age (5-13) youth recreation programs.

The Department of Family and Protective Services requires child care facilities to be licensed. Some programs offered by the Parks and Recreation Department fall within the definition of childcare facility requiring licensing but are exempt if municipalities annually hold a public hearing and adopt a standard of care ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:55 p.m.

Highway 30 Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve a request to change the zoning designation from Rural to General Commercial and Natural Areas Reserved for about three acres east of Copperfield Parkway and south of Harvey Road. Councilwoman Linda Harvell voted against the motion.

The change will allow for commercial development. Two people spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:59 p.m.

Margraves Tract Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a request to change the zoning designation from Rural to Restricted Suburban for about 369 acres located east of Greens Prairie Road West, west of Arrington Road, and to the south of Whites Creek Lane. 

Seven people spoke against the zoning change, which allows for a residential development.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:01 p.m.

Prairie View Heights Encroachment

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a resolution granting a license to encroach on a public utility easement located at 617 Banks St.

A southwest wall of the house at 617 Banks extends into a 10-foot wide public utility easement along the property line. The encroachment doesn’t conflict with the utilities in the easement and consent has been granted by all franchised utilities.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:03 p.m.

Historic Preservation Committee Appointment

The council voted unanimously to appoint Sherry Smith to the Historic Preservation Committee.

9:04 p.m.

Rock Prairie Management District Board

The council voted unanimously to appoint Jonathan Stark (Position No. 4) and Kamal Ariss (Position No. 5) to the Rock Prairie Management District Board. Their terms end June 1, 2021.

9:05 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

9:05 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop meeting will resume after a short break.

9:11 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

9:33 p.m.

Standing Citizen Advisory Committee

The council discussed the creation of a standing citizen advisory committee to help keep residents updated about capital improvement projects planned or underway. Instead of appointing a new committee, the consensus was to actively promote attendance at council meetings where capital project updates are presented.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:37 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports.

The council meets again on Thursday, June 8.


About the Author

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 been 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 (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Municipal Property Master Plan: The council will hear a workshop presentation about the city’s efforts since the late 1990s to plan for municipal properties.
  2. Northeast Sewer Line: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $1.8 million contract for Phase I of the Northeast Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line, located south of Harvey Road and northwest of the Windwood and Horse Haven Estates subdivision.
  3. Rock Prairie Road Widening Project: The council will consider a $197,000 change order to the contract for the Rock Prairie Road West Widening Project to cover the relocation of water lines that conflict with new storm sewers.
  4. Northgate Loading Zone/Bollards: The council will consider a $297,000 contract to improve safety and aesthetics in Northgate by closing off the loading area on University Drive and adding sidewalks and drainage. Removable bollards would also be installed in four locations where existing pneumatic bollards don’t function properly.
  5. Margraves Property Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the zoning for about 369 acres east of Greens Prairie Road, west of Arrington Road, and south of Whites Creek Lane. The change will allow for residential development.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:                                                                 

 


About the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (March 9)

By Jay Socol, Director of Public Communications

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

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

6 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:02 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:

  • New Parks in The Barracks: This item is a $977,391 contract with Acklam Construction for three new parks and upgrades to existing parks in The Barracks subdivision.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

  • Royder Road Right-of-Way: A $200,000 contract for the right-of-way needed for the expansion and realignment of Royder Road.

6:15 p.m.

Historical Display in Northgate

The council heard a presentation about a concept to recognize the long history of local music and musicians who received their start in Northgate.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

6:25 p.m.

Bike Rack Requirements

The council discussed requirements for bike racks in the city.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

6:57 p.m.

Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

7:07 p.m.

The regular meeting has started. The council approved the absence of Place 6 Councilman James Benham.

7:10 p.m.

Seabees’ 75th Anniversary
The council recognized the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions, which were known as Seabees. A special presentation involved six Seabees. From left to right, they are Carpenter’s Mate 2nd Class Bill Johnston (World War II veteran), Commander David Coleman, Painter 1st Class Jim Rothermel (World War II veteran), Lt. j.g. Philip Bargas, Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist Stuart Denner, Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist James Michael Guidry and Mayor Mooney.

75th anniversary of U.S. Navy Seabees

7:20 p.m.

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 Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 31-year-old West Lafayette, Ohio, native died Oct. 19, 2011, from injuries inflicted by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Border, a Navy Seabee, was a skilled builder with specialties in roads, runways, officers’ huts and bridges.

7:25 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A three-year, $1.8 million contract with McCord Engineering for electrical engineering services.
  • An amendment to the Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit Remote Birth Access Contract that addresses the statement of work, billing, and the contact representative.
  • A $977,391 contract with Acklam Construction for the addition of three parks and upgrades to existing parks in The Barracks subdivision.
  • A $200,000 contract for the purchase of right-of-way for the expansion and realignment of Royder Road.

7:28 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

7:29 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, March 23.


4 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 (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are four items to watch:

  1. Historical Display in Northgate: In the workshop, the council will hear a presentation about a concept to recognize the long history of local music and musicians who received their start in Northgate.
  2. Bike Rack Requirements: The council will also have a workshop discussion about requirements for bike racks in the city.
  3. Seabees’ 75th Anniversary: The council will recognize the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions, which were known as Seabees.
  4. The Barracks’ Parks: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $977,000 contract for three new parks and the upgrade of four existing parks in The Barracks subdivision.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:                                                                 

 


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Feb. 23)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 23. It’s not the official minutes.

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

6:09 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmember James Benham pulled this consent item for workshop discussion:

  • BerryDunn Contract Change Order: In 2014, the city approved a $645,638 contract with BerryDunn for the management of the ICE project. In August, council approved a $107,475 change order for additional services and expenses. At the time, the schedule for utility billing implementation was not final. As of February 10, the remaining fund balance is $2,312 for services and $22,520.78 for travel and expenses. Projected hours to complete the HR/payroll, utility billing and fixed assets implementation total 1,550 hours ($263,000), with $37,990 in estimated expenses. This change order adds funds to cover the associated hours and costs.

6:49 p.m.

Police Facility Design Update

The council heard an update on the conceptual design of a new police facility, which will be located southeast of the Dartmouth Street-Krenek Tap Road intersection. The $28 million station would almost double the number of available workstations.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:51 p.m.

Northgate Cultural and Historical Display

The council voted unanimously to postpone this presentation until the March 9 meeting. 

7:10 p.m.

Commercial Land Preservation

The council discussed the city’s role in promoting the development of existing and potential commercial properties. The consensus of the council was to move forward with proactive retail recruitment, which includes identifying available property for retailers. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:14 p.m.

Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:21 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:28 p.m.

XYZ Atlas Project

Artist Jennifer Chenoweth of Austin introduced a local project based on what she’s done in the state capital:

XYZ Atlas: The Experience Map of Bryan & College Station asks why we feel a sense of belonging to a place by mapping experiences and collecting stories that document our highs and lows.

XYZ Atlas is an interactive public art project. We create art, maps, and activations that affect community health and well being, urban planning, and cultural tourism with diverse outreach strategies to reach art lovers and underserved communities of all ages.

We are working in the Bryan and College Station communities and expect to schedule a final exhibition in May.

The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts Challenge America, Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovations, Texas Commission for the Arts, and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. 

art-presentation

7:32 p.m.

National Service Recognition Day

The mayor proclaimed April 4 as National Service Recognition Day. Pictured below with Mayor Mooney is Curt Sterner, Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) coordinator.

volunteer-proclaimation

7:39 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Two people 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 Sgt. William C. Eckhart as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 25-year-old Rocksprings native died April 10, 2004, in an explosion in Baqubah, Iraq.
  • Mike Clements, president of the College Station Firefighters Association, recognized and thanked Joe Don Warren (below with certificate) for his service as the city’s interim fire chief. Jonathan McMahan will be sworn-in as the new fire chief on Friday.

fire-presentation

7:40 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • The annual traffic contact report required by the state.
  • Authorized the city manager to submit a grant application to the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to fund 80 percent of the salary and benefits for a crime victim’s advocate.
  • An amendment adding “Creation of an Audit Committee” to the city’s code of ordinances.
  • A resolution consenting to the Bryan City Council providing economic development incentives to ViaSat, Inc.
  • A $4.79 million contract with Freese and Nichols for design, bidding, and construction phase services for the expansion of the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A change order increasing by $279,500 a contract with BerryDunn for project management services and expenses.
  • Authorized the mayor to sign an inter-local agreement with the City of Bryan to extend the common boundary of the College Station/Bryan Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).
  • The Semi-Annual Report for Impact Fees.
  • Renewal of a building use agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley through March 6, 2018, for the building located at 2275 Dartmouth Dr.
  • A resolution of support for Rock Prairie Village’s application for low-income housing tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

7:49 p.m.

Luther-Jones Butler Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about three acres southeast of the Luther Street-Jones Butler Road intersection. Councilman Barry Moore recused himself from the vote because of a conflict of interest. The change will allow for mixed-use, commercial and multi-family development.

The change will allow for mixed-use, commercial and multi-family development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:55 p.m.

Wellborn Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about one acre northeast of the Wellborn Road-Greens Prairie Road intersection. The change will allow for commercial development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:09 p.m.

Arrington Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about 12 acres south of the South Oaks Drive-Arrington Road intersection. The change will allow for a multi-family development. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

A total of 19 people spoke or provided written comments during the public hearing. All opposed the rezoning.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

10:15 p.m.

Spring Creek Local Government Corporation

The council voted unanimously to approve a certificate of formation for the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation and appointed John Nichols and Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Kee to the initial board of directors.

The non-profit government corporation was created to promote economic development anchored by College Station’s next business park.

10:18 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

10:18 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, March 9.


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been 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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Second transformer arrives at Northgate substation

 

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator  

CSU received a second transformer Thursday morning at the Northgate substation the city shares with Texas A&M. The new transformer doubles the substation’s capacity and will help us stay ahead of Northgate’s growth.

Since the substation is located in a high-density area, precautions had to be taken. College Station police escorted the truck and 70-foot trailer carrying the 150,000-lb. load through a route prescribed by the Texas Department of Transportation. University police isolated the area that led to the station entrance, where a 350-ton mobile crane carefully off-loaded the transformer.

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5 things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

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

  1. CAD-RMS Project: The council will receive a workshop presentation about replacing the 25-year-old computer-aided dispatch and records management system used by the city’s police and fire dispatchers. The existing system was last upgraded 10 years ago. The software contracts are part of the regular meeting’s consent agenda.
  2. Transportation Network Companies: The council will have a workshop discussion about proposed regulations regarding transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft.
  3. Rezoning on Fitch: After a public hearing, the council will consider changing the zoning for a property north of the intersection of Fitch Parkway and Lakeway Drive to allow for a small animal clinic.
  4. Rezoning on Holleman: After a public hearing, the council will consider changing the zoning from Rural to Multi-Family for about 14 1/2 acres south of Cain Road between Holleman Drive South and Old Wellborn Road. The change would allow for development.
  5. Northgate UDO Amendments: The council will consider amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to bring greater flexibility to the placement of street trees, the location of sidewalks and screening of electrical service equipment in Northgate.

(more…)


Podcast: The guy who keeps Northgate clean and friendly

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Former tech geek Gus Roman has spent much of his professional career trying to improve user experiences for others. Now, he’s applying that focus to College Station’s Northgate Entertainment District and on the city’s code enforcement strategies.

Gus describes those two worlds in refreshing ways in this podcast. (more…)


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 23)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 23. 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.

5:56 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

6:10 p.m. (more…)


Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (July 25)

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, July 25. 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.

6:00 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:18 p.m.

National Sojourners Presentation

College Station Cemetery Sexton Bob Hole (pictured below just over Mayor Nancy Berry’s right shoulder) was recognized by Brazos Valley Chapter 378 of National Sojourners for his work to identify veteran graves for flag placement and collection twice each year. More than 800 graves are marked at the College Station City Cemetery, the Aggie Field of Honor and Memorial Cemetery. Also recognizing Mr. Hole were representatives of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Children of the American Revolution, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans.  (more…)


Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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

  • Northgate Parking Rates: The full council will be briefed during the workshop meeting on rate changes developed through a partnership between city staff and the Northgate District Association that would allow the city’s parking lots, meters and garage to achieve full cost recovery. In addition, it’s recommended that free promenade lot parking be implemented during lunchtime on weekdays. (more…)

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (May 23)

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, May 23. 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.

6:04 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:07 p.m.

National Public Works Week

The council recognized this as National Public Works Week, which highlights how public works contributes to a community’s quality of life.  Here’s the video the council watched about the activities of the City of College Station’s Public Works Department:

(more…)


Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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


Live Blog: Thursday’s City Council Meetings (Feb. 28)

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 28. 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.

6:13 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

6:16 p.m.

Mayor Nancy Berry proclaimed March as National Nutrition Month with a presentation to the Mid East Texas Dietetic Association (METDA). Pictured below with the mayor (right) is Meghan Windham, president-elect of METDA. (more…)


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Feb. 14)

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 14. 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.

6:15 p.m.

The council is still in executive session. The workshop will start in a few minutes.

6:21 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

(more…)


Neeley reflects on tenure as College Station’s city manager

David Neeley

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the The Eagle on Sunday.

Jan. 11 was my last day as College Station’s city manager, which means the emails have stopped and my once-packed calendar is now clear. After 40 years of public service, this feels pretty good. I’m not quite done yet — I have some other things I’d like to do before begrudgingly accepting the label of “retired.”

I’d like to use this blog to look back at my four very exciting, always challenging, and supremely rewarding years with the City of College Station. As I told my staff during a small reception on my last day, I’ve never worked with a group of professionals — from front-line workers to department heads — more focused on serving the public.

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Northgate reaps the rewards of visionary planning

The bustling Northgate District is one of many examples where the city worked closely with the community, defined where we wanted to go, then planned and worked together to get there. With October being National Community Planning Month, it’s appropriate to recognize the significance that planning has played in the development of our thriving city.

Planning is the process of envisioning, mapping or otherwise conceiving how a community will look, grow and define its character, attributes and identity. Northgate is an ideal model of a successful planning process.

Several years ago, the City of College Station and Northgate stakeholders began the planning process for this unique entertainment destination. The plan called for an urban area that supported high-density, mixed-use developments, and it required changes to the development code to create new zoning districts. Those changes enabled development to conform to the vision that emerged from the collective planning process.  

(more…)