Local News Headlines–5/14/2013

A long vacant piece of commercial property along the freeway in College Station has been given more development options.  City Council approval for rezoning along the northbound service road between Raintree and Horse Haven Estates followed an hour’s worth of debate.  The council heard from Raintree subdivision residents opposed to removing the restrictions on building restaurants.  Councilwoman Julie Schultz says she was surprised the affected homeowners associations had not purchased the property in question.  There are no plans for the property according to the developer. The new zoning applies to half the14 acres.  The remainder, along a flood plain and floodway, will remain undeveloped.

This is the time of year the staff of the Brazos County Appraisal District is hearing from property owners questioning valuation increases.  Chief Appraiser Mark Price says one misconception is that the appraisal district is told by elected officials of the city, school districts, and county to set property values.  Price says the appraisal district is independent of city councils, school boards, and the county commission and the appraisal district sets the values, not the taxes.  Price says property owners are invited to hear what went into setting values and how that can be changed.  Brazos County has 65,000 residential properties, the majority valued between $150,000 and $250,000.

And, it’s been a week since the announcement of a small outbreak of E. coli infection in Brazos County.  Health department officials say no source has been found affecting ten patients, including two young boys who remain in a Houston hospital. It’s believed they were infected sometime between April 15th and 22nd.  The health department’s Doctor Eric Wilke says they became aware due to mandatory reporting.  No additional cases have been reported since last week’s initial announcement.