Scott Wolf thought the first meeting about the revamp of the Santa Monica City Yards site solicited some great feedback — good enough to be incorporated into the plans his firm, Miller Hull, has for the overhaul of the site.

That first “hopes and dreams” meeting in February included an explanation from public works director Martin Pastucha about what exactly happens at City Yards (hazmat services, traffic operations, street maintenance, housing of fleets, facilities maintenance programs and fire training) and a presentation by Wolf on the plans Miller Hull had for the site.

The second meeting, held March 14, focused on what the City and the firm have done to incorporate the attendees’ feedback from the first meeting into their plans.

Feedback on the original plan from the first meeting included: pursuing net-positive energy – producing electricity for the neighborhood; a focus on opportunities for water re-use; greater operational efficiency to conserve resources; providing learning programs for broader group of kids, like Rosie’s Girls; being conscious of the level of disruption to the neighbors – including keeping odor and sound levels to a minimum; providing opportunities for public art; using the City Yards project to enhance Stewart Street Park and solve some of the current challenges there; having a greater connection to adjacent neighborhoods — especially Stewart Street/the Pico neighborhood to the northeast; having a mindfulness of the overlap between pedestrians, cars and the heavy equipment moving in and out of the site; and allowing for more visibility in to the City Yards to celebrate the functions there.

The second meeting focused on “design option” and offered chances for feedback, as the presentation shown at the meeting included a “report card” with boxes checked for items brought about at the last meeting that the design team was working to include in the plan; like keeping odor and sound levels to a minimum, providing opportunities for public art and a focus on opportunities for water re-use.

Attendees’ comments were divided into four categories: comments on the City Yards site itself, how it will affect the community, the design of the site and its sustainability.

Specific to the City Yards location itself, feedback included: concerns over preserving the existing mural along Michigan Avenue, concerns over the safety of the Rosie’s Girls program on site, concerns over sinking area of site landfill, questioning what strategies there are for shipping and receiving on the site, concerns over the smell from recycling and garbage facility affecting the surrounding neighborhoods and concerns for traffic patterns around the neighborhood.

Feedback on how the project will affect the community included: the connection to the recycling and parking structure from Stewart Street; making Rosie’s Girls a community resource; collaborating with Discover Center, an entity located in Venice Beach that provides after-school programs with reused materials; community concern over relocation of recycling center; and concerns there is not enough parking for Stewart Park during sporting events.

On the design end of the project, feedback included: focusing on art, creating infographics about site operations (i.e., using art to explain what is happening on the site), not wanting vehicular access along Stewart Street, comments on the “excellent” design team at Miller Hull, asking to include pedestrian or limited vehicular access to Stewart Park, and concerns over visibility into the yards.

And in regards to the project’s sustainability, feedback included: considerations for air and water monitoring, looking at well-building standards, expanding the composting program, suggestions for collection of food waste from local restaurants, concerns for not having enough parking in the area and the potential for capturing methane on site.

City project manager Tom Afschar said that “overall the feedback we received was very positive.”

The proposed plan will come before City Council this summer and, if passed, will move on to the design phase.

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