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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Call To Order:

Chairman Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:36 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington. 


Roll Call:

Chairman Fred Glick, Commissioners Brian Caditz, Lucia Pirzio-Biroli, Callie Ridolfi and George Wittman were present.  Vice-Chair Norman Sandler and Commissioner Marcia Dawson were absent.


Staff Present:                                                        

Richard Hart, Development Services Director and Shelley Krueger, Associate Planner.



Commissioner Caditz moved, Commissioner Wittman seconded, to approve the minutes of October 15th, 2004.  The minutes were approved by a vote of 5-0.



Regular Business:

Action Item #1: The applicant, Weinstein A/U for the French American School, requested two modifications to the approved final design at 3801 East Mercer Way.


Chairman Glick asked the commissioners if anyone had had any ex-parte contact with the applicant regarding the proposed modifications.  The commissioners indicated that none of them had. 


Shelley Krueger, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report.  Ms. Krueger described the proposed changes.  One change is the removal of a canopy structure on the northeast side of the building.  The other is modification of the two-year landscaping maintenance bond.  Staff recommended approval of both the items.  The canopy is not visible from the public right of way and other architectural details such as use of color, the canopy at the south entrance, trellis work, and recessed doorways provide sufficient building modulation.  The modification to the two year landscaping agreement will ensure that any stressed, dead, or missing trees will be replaced at a size that would have been present after two years’ of growth. 


Leslie, Bain of 4180 West Mercer Way and of Weinstein A/U, and Christiane Pein of Weinstein A/U at 121 Stewart Street in Seattle, WA, described the evolution of the canopy design for the building.  Due to building and fire code requirements, the canopy was reduced in size to cover only the northeast entrance and the south entrance. 


The Design Commission had the following comments, which were answered by the applicant:

·         The canopy was required to be detached from the building due to fire requirements and reduced costs.

·         Children are not picked up at the northeast entrance; instead they wait inside the building and are escorted out the south entrance. 


One member of the audience, Jim Claypool of 596 SE 46th Place, recently a Mercer Island resident, spoke about the project.  Mr. Claypool is the Chair of the French American School board and stated that the canopy would be an aesthetic addition, but not a functional one.  Unexpected costs in excess of 25% of the original estimate made it necessary for the school to remove items without hurting the overall project.


Chairman Glick closed the comment period and opened the discussion session. 


Director Hart described the staff process of review with the French American School.  He explained that there had been several administratively approved revisions, and staff did not see a problem with the last two proposed changes.  Director Hart also pointed to the Code sections the Design Commission should use in reviewing the proposed changes.


The Commission discussion included the following comments:

·         A discussion of the differing definitions of “temporary” and “pre-fabricated”

·         Positive comments to the overall design additions to the pre-fabricated design

·         The removal of the canopy has a minimal effect on the overall scale of the building; the play structures and recessed entrances on the north side have more effect on the façade

·         The northeast canopy could detract from the importance of the main entrance canopy on the south side

·         The northeast canopy would be a slight loss to the north façade

·         Questioned staff regarding the nature of the landscaping bond; staff explained the revisions will allow the applicant to utilize the one year bond they have with their landscaping contractor while ensuring that any plants are replaced with those that would have been present after two years’ of growth.



Commissioner Caditz moved, seconded by Commissioner Pirzio-Biroli, to grant design approval to remove the northeast canopy from the final approved design and accept the current landscaping with a modified two-year replacement agreement for the French American School, as presented on the formal site plans and documentation dated October 5 and 6, 2004.  This decision incorporates the findings of the Staff Report and is in accordance with MICC Section 19.15.040(H) of the Mercer Island Code, with the following conditions:

1.       The applicant shall adhere to the conditions listed on the Notice of Decision for DSR03-022, dated October 14, 2003, with the exception of previously approved changes.   

2.       Submission of a landscape security agreement in the amount approved by the Development Services Group for two years from the date of issuance of the certificate of occupancy.  The landscape security agreement shall require the replacement of any dead, stressed or missing vegetation as determined by the City Arborist at the end of a two year period with vegetation at the size that would have been present after two years of healthy growth. 


The motion passed by a vote of 4-1 at 8:06pm




Council Liaison Report:

Jim Pearman, Council Liaison, introduced El Janke, one of the City Council members.  He explained that he and other councilmembers have been working to modify the proposed design standards for outside the Town Center.  In addition, the Council has been discussing the budget.


Chairman Glick stated that he supports the Council efforts to modify the proposed changes to the standards.  He pointed out the current guidelines are inadequate to review design applications.  Council Liaison Pearman responded that the Council sees the need for the standards, but feels that some modifications are necessary.  He also thanked the Design Commission for their hard work on this project.



Director’s Comments:                         

Director Hart asked for volunteers from the Design Commission for two projects.  One person would need to assist the Arts Council with the Sound Transit Park and Ride artwork selection.  Director Hart mentioned that the Design Commission felt the artwork was important and should participate in the process.  A second volunteer is needed for the Arts Council approval of the Newell Court sitting stone sculptures.  These sculptures were required by the Design Commission and need Arts Council approval since the location is in the public right of way.


Chairman Glick nominated Commissioner Wittman for the November 10, 2004 Arts Council meeting for the Sound Transit Park and Ride art.  Commissioner Wittman accepted.  The meeting will be held at 6:30-7:30pm at the Mercer Island Library.


Chairman Glick nominated Commissioner Dawson for the December 2, 2004 Arts Council meeting for the Newell Court sitting stone sculptures.  Commissioner Dawson was absent, so the Commission will need to wait for an answer.    


Next Regular Meeting:

The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for November 10th at 7:30 PM.  There are no proposals at this time.    


Commissioner Absences:

All Commissioners indicated that they could attend the next meeting.  Commissioner Wittman and Director Hart may be late due to the 6:30-7:30pm Arts Council meeting at the Library.


Adjournment:  8:25 PM


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