A proposal by a public/private partnership to renovate the City’s solid waste operations was reviewed on April 21 by the Planning Commission. The members of the public/private partnership are the city of Santa Monica, Southern California Disposal, and the Allan Company.
Only four members of the seven-member commission took part in the review because Commission Chair Hank Koning and Commissioner Gwynne Pugh had to recluse themselves, and Commissioner Gerda Newbold was absent.
According to the City Staff Report, the “proposed project consists of the renovation and physical improvement of the existing city of Santa Monica Community Recycling Center and Refuse Transfer Station (City Transfer Station), and Southern California Disposal Recycling and Transfer Station (SCD Transfer Station) to create an integrated transfer and recycling facility on City and SCD owned land.” The City Transfer Station is located at 2500 Michigan Ave has been operating since 1961, and the SCD Transfer Station, which is located at 1908 Frank Street, has been operating since 1970.
The improvements for the SCD Transfer Station include an approximately 4,848 square foot addition to the existing transfer station facility. Improvements at the City Transfer Station would include approximately 57,000 square feet of enclosed and semi-enclosed space for materials recovery and processing, recycling drop off and buy back, self-haul receipt, and household hazardous waste storage which are currently all unenclosed existing uses on site. Sixty-five parking spaces are also going to be added.
Staff noted in their report that the renovation would “not increase the amount of solid waste being processed at either transfer station, but would allow the facilities to achieve a higher diversion rate due to increased sorting areas and a more efficient storage system.”
Mobile Home Mountain Park resident Ken Ward said that a sound wall by the mobile home park should be built by SCD that would be taller than the 12-foot wall proposed. He suggested that it be the same height as the wall by the 10 Freeway. He also asked that that the SCD’s facilities should not open before 7 a.m. for use by trucks because of noise concerns.
The commission approved all the necessary documents for the improvements of the SCD Transfer Station, but added a condition that would require them to build a sound wall with attenuation that has the same height as the I-10 Freeway wall. In addition, they asked that a landscape plan be developed for the street that the station borders on that maximizes the use of trees, and that the station doesn’t begin its operations before 6 a.m.
When it came to the city transfer station, the commission voted to continue the development review permit for the project because they want the city to come back with a Traffic Demand Management program, reduce the project’s hardscape, create an area to give away compost, and make the project comply more with the principles specified in the new Draft Land Use and Circulation (DLUCE) document. Commissioner Ted Winterer was concerned that the commission was approving text amendments which would allow the new facilities’ buildings to have heights that were taller than permitted in the zoning code, but the city was not getting any of the public benefits specified in the DLUCE for doing so.
Commission members approved a General Plan Amendments for both the SCD and city transfer stations that changed the general plan land use map from Special Office District to Industrial Conservation. They also approved text amendments for both projects to allow their building heights to be taller than permitted in the city’s current zoning code. Both the general plan amendment and the Text Amendments will be reviewed by the City Council.
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