Key elements of the Avenue of Flags Median 2 design were scrapped at the Buellton City Council meeting Thursday.

Councilors weren’t in favor of the original concept drawings, smaller flags or the use of pavers in the designs, which are around one third of the way complete.

At Thursday’s meeting, city staff showed a rendering of a new parking lot design in which the cars would park in the center and be surrounded by landscaping on the perimeter.

Previous concept drawings showed two rows of diagonal parking along the edge of the median with turnarounds at either end.

During last week’s planning commission meeting, commissioners talked about adding more landscaping, but were concerned about a car pulling out and hitting a tree if it were in the center of the median.

While looking at the old design concept Thursday, Mayor Holly Sierra said it looked barren.

She said, “It just looks like a parking lot and that’s not what Avenue of Flags is supposed to be.

“This is the city’s first project on the Avenue and I think it’s really important that we do it right.”

Councilor Art Mercado said his biggest concern was increased maintenance from more greenery.

“I hope that we have more trees. And I’m big on green,” Mercado said.

But he added, “As those trees mature, you’ve got people backing into them or people not paying attention. We just have to have a happy medium.”

Councilor John Sanchez said replacing the current 50-foot flagpole with two 30-foot poles was a non-starter, because the rest of the Avenue of Flags has flags at the taller height.

“And now we want to start putting in little ones. It’ll not only not match, but it’ll diminish our patriotism I think,” Sanchez said.

Councilor David King said he thought the new design was more aesthetically pleasing, but didn’t think plans needed to include a 6-foot sidewalk bordering the parking lot.

City Manager Marc Bierdzinski said the reason for the sidewalks was to give people a safe way to get to the crossings.

King said the median should be designed with the ability to add other lanes to Avenue of Flags.

“Instead of a 6-foot sidewalk if you put hedges there you’d still have whatever composition in the parking lot on the opposite side to walk wherever the cars are parked, because we’ve reversed it now,” King said.

Bierdzinski said the initial cost estimate of $1.7 million listed in city documents isn’t necessarily going to be the exact cost.

Public Works Director Rose Hess said the city hasn’t prepared a cost estimate, because it wants to get the key design elements agreed upon first.

Hess said staff would revise a concept plan with the parking adjustment and bring it back to council.

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