Call To Order:|
Chair Westberg called the meeting to order at 7:08 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 9611 SE
36th Street, Mercer Island, WA 98040.
Chair Rory Westberg, Council Liaison Bruce Bassett, Trustee Geraldine Poor, Trustee Marie Bender,
Trustee Craig Olson and Vice Chair Robin Christy. Secretary Thomas Hildebrandt was absent.
Staff present were Paul West, Park Operations Superintendent, Alaine Sommargren, Natural Resources
Manager, and Kim Frappier, Natural Resources Specialist.
Minutes for the March 2018 meeting will be reviewed and adopted at the next board meeting scheduled
for July 19, 2018.
Ira Appelman, 9039 East Shorewood Drive
Mr. Appelman served on the Open Space Conservancy Trust (OSCT) Board in the past. He presented
minutes from the April 4, 2002 meeting which references a proposal to add other properties into the Trust.
He spoke in favor of adding other parks and open space properties to the OSCT and stated that the Trust
Ordinance makes it clear that the intent of the Council in creating the ordinance was to add more
properties to the Trust and would like to see the Board follow the intent of the Ordinance.
Patrick Daugherty, 4135 Boulevard Place
Mr. Daugherty read a statement provided by Peter Struck which provides feedback on the City staff report
and speaks in favor of adding other parks to the Trust. He stated that the current Comprehensive and
Parks plans do not do an adequate job of protecting open spaces and asks the Trust Board to reject the
“no action” recommendation outlined by City staff. The statement is included with these minutes.
Jackie Dunbar, 7116 82nd Avenue SE
Ms. Dunbar spoke in support of adding other park properties to the OSCT, noted that Mercerdale Park is
under assault from development, and stands in opposition to the proposed art center. She noted that
adults and children need parks and open spaces for their physical and mental health and to have places
to play. She would like to see Mercerdale Park protected for future generations.
Gail Parrish, 3774 77th Avenue SE
Mrs. Parrish referenced the Olmstead writings about park development in Seattle, 1903. She spoke in
favor of adding Mercerdale Park to the OSCT and requested that the Board recommend to City Council
that other park properties be added to the Trust as well.
Mark Coen, 77th Avenue SE
Mr. Coen spoke about the mental health benefits of access to green space including a reduction of
anxiety, depression, and ADD symptoms. He stated that city government locally and regionally has not
been adequately protecting the natural environment or making good choices to address problems such as
development, tree preservation, and transportation. He spoke in favor of protecting parks and open
spaces through the Trust.
Daniel Thompson, 7265 North Mercer Way
Mr. Thompson has been a resident since 1970 and used to work at Luther Burbank Park when he was in
high school. He spoke in support of the proposal to add parks to the Trust and asked the Board to make
this recommendation to City Council.
Roberta Lewandowski, 4748 86th Ave SE
Mr. Lewandowski has been a Mercer Island resident for 40 years and wants to see stronger protections
for our public lands. She provided her statement in writing to the Board and spoke in support of the OSCT
Board expanding its property holdings and mission.
Tess Ritcey, 7073 93rd Avenue SE
Ms. Ritcey is a senior at Mercer Island High School. She shared her reflections on outdoor activities she
did as a child and the importance of access to nature. She spoke in favor of having the OSCT Board
protect and maintain all parks and open space.
Gary Robinson, 6026 E. Mercer Way
Mr. Robinson spoke in favor of putting city parks into the Trust to protect them from future development.
He is concerned that parks have become a political issue and would like to see all Mercer Island parks
and open spaces put into the Trust so that City Council and the community no longer has to worry about
Chair Westberg called the executive session at 7:33 PM. The executive session was held to discuss with
legal counsel pending or potential litigation pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(i). The executive session
concluded at 7:54 PM
In attendance: City Attorney Kari Sand, Chair Rory Westberg, Council Liaison Bruce Bassett, Trustee
Geraldine Poor, Trustee Marie Bender, Trustee Craig Olson, Vice Chair Robin Christy as well as staff
members Paul West, Alaine Sommargren, and Kim Frappier.
1. Concerned Citizens of Mercer Island Parks (CCMIP) Request to Add Properties to Trust
Superintendent Paul West provided a summary of the request made by Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks (CCMIP) that the Open Space Conservancy Trust Board recommend to City Council that Mercerdale Park and other parks and open spaces be placed in the Trust. Superintendent West stated that staff recommends that the Board take no action on this request. He explained that developed parks (as defined in the Parks and Recreation Plan) such as Mercerdale Park are not “open space” and therefore ineligible to be Trust properties.
Superintendent West provided examples of the other forested open spaces that would qualify under the OSCT mission (SE 53rd Open Space, Gallagher Hill Open Space etc.). It is the City’s opinion that these properties are already heavily invested in to maintain their ecological function and protected by existing documents including the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the Parks and Recreation Plan and the budget. Each of these planning and policy documents aim to preserve open space. In addition, other park properties have deed restrictions that protect them from development. He added that if the City council wanted to explore putting additional protections on other properties, there are other mechanisms to do so including conservation easements.
Trustees agreed that adding developed parks, like Mercerdale Park, to the Open Space Conservancy Trust does not fall within the mission of the Trust. All expressed support for protecting open space and their commitment to conservation and restoration of our natural areas. Trustees requested additional information on the cost and impacts to adding other open spaces to the Trust as it exists now.
2. Next Meeting
Chair Westberg read a statement from Secretary Hildebrandt who was unable to attend the meeting. His statement is included in these minutes.
Chair Westberg summarized that all park properties cannot be added to the Trust in its current form. Chair Westberg asked if any Trustees would like to take further action on this. Trustees expressed interest in further discussion on how open space properties are managed collectively and understand how the work for Pioneer Park and Engstrom Open Space fit with the overall management strategy lead by the Parks and Recreation department.
Superintendent West explained that Parks and Recreation Natural Resources staff manage extensive restoration work in our open spaces. This work is governed by the Open Space Vegetation Plan, which was initially adopted in 2004 and updated in 2015. Pioneer Park’s higher level of management, which is mandated by the Trust, is built into the 2015 Open Space Vegetation Plan 10-year Evaluation and Update. Natural Resources Manager Sommargren added that all City open space properties, including Pioneer Park, were included in the Open Space Vegetation Plan 10-year Evaluation and Update. Quantitative data analysis was used to develop the plan update.
Trustees agreed that additional Board education would benefit this discussion. Superintendent West requested that staff prepare a report that explains the level of service Pioneer Park receives compared to other open spaces and the overall management strategy of the open spaces collectively.
Board Direction: Trustees decided not to act on the proposal made by CCMIP to add all park properties to the Open Space Conservancy Trust. The Trust Board members would like more information about management of other open space properties and further discuss the question of adding other open space properties to the Trust.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2018.
Adjournment: 8:43 pm