Revised plans for the Avenue of Flags median that include more landscaping, less parking, and relocate parking to the median's interior, were reviewed by the Buellton City Council Thursday.
The Council expressed dislike in March for the original concept drawings which showed two rows of diagonal parking along the edge of the median with fewer plants.
The revised concept — which is about a third of the way done — includes 44 parking spaces with a pedestrian path in the center of the lot.
Many councilors approved of the added green space in the new drawings.
“I really like the addition of all the trees, and even your types of trees,” councilor Art Mercado said.
Mayor Holly Sierra said the parking lot renderings looked beautiful.
“It looks like a place you could have a really nice car show, a really good farmers market. You could block off one end or the other. You could have parking on one side and a small art show on the other side,” Sierra said.
Councilor David King had concerns that the design had strayed from the original intent to have a multi-use event space.
“I don’t know how we went from multi-use event center to a really fancy-looking parking lot, because as far as I’m concerned looking at that right there you just wasted that entire center median,” King said.
He questioned where an event would fit.
“If you’re going to put an event out there, nobody’s going to be able to see it. You’re going to have trees through the whole center of that whole median there,” King said.
City Manager Marc Bierdzinski said the median was designed as more of a parking flex space, because a gazebo and amphitheater are going to be placed at medians to the south.
Mercado said the space was tight, but there was still ability to do some things.
Councilors also discussed the walkway, which runs through the center of the median.
Councilor John Sanchez said, “I don’t like that it’s just concrete. Is that what I’m seeing? You’re just going to have a concrete sidewalk?”
Sierra said it seemed like it would be an extra expense because of how much concrete would need to be poured.
“If we increase the middle walkway, if we increase even the planters, put tiles in between the shrubbery they could walk from the tiles, they’re not in the dirt,” Sierra said. “In my mind it would keep it looking greener, it would save the city some expense.”
Sierra said she wanted the planters to be bigger, while still keeping the shrubbery low.
“So people can see where they’re going and people that are driving down Avenue of Flags can see pedestrians,” Sierra said.
Public Works Director Rose Hess said city staff was proposing the use of permeable pavers in the parking area, because they are easier to maintain than other options.
“We believe moving forward with the permeable pavers is still going to be the most aesthetically-pleasing option that will still provide the stormwater requirements that we need to comply with,” Hess said.
She said permeable pavers are more expensive at $18 per square foot compared to $8 per square foot of porous asphalt, but the asphalt requires specialized labor and equipment to install and repair.
After listening to council comments, Hess said city staff will bring back designs that are 65% complete and will include a better cost estimate.