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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Call To Order

Mayor Alan Merkle called the meeting to order at 7:36 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Deputy Mayor Bryan Cairns (arrived 8:55 pm), City Councilmembers Sven Goldmanis, Dan Grausz, El Jahncke, Steve Litzow, Jim Pearman, and Mayor Alan Merkle were present.

Special Business

Rotary International Day Proclamation
Mayor Alan Merkle proclaimed February 23, 2005 Rotary International Day as they celebrate 100 years of service. Jim Trombold, Mercer Island Rotary President accepted the proclamation on behalf of the MI Rotary members.


Mary Rice, 20106 SE 20th Place, Sammamish, expressed appreciation of Mercer Island’s support for the East Village at Talus project.

Denny Morrison, 8840 SE 60th Street, expressed his dismay with the display at Mercerdale Park on Saturday, February 19, 2005. He felt that it was disgraceful to use the whole park for a non-verbal, anti-war and anti-American protest. He also stated that when called the police to file a complaint, the Kirkland dispatcher was not professional and her responses were not appropriate. He stated that he thought it was a mistake to send dispatch off the island.

Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Place SE, referenced specific Councilmember’s statements regarding requiring the City Council annual retreat to be held on Mercer Island. Councilmember Goldmanis responded that he has made every opportunity for people to have access to the Council retreats, however very few people attend them, so where they are held, at this time, is of no consequence; its about making sure City business is taken care of.

Jim Hunt, 12817 97th Avenue NE, Kirkland, asked the Council to keep an open mind about bicycling on Mercer Island.


It was moved by Councilmember Litzow; seconded by Councilmember Jahncke to:

Amend the Study Session & Regular Meeting Minutes of February 7, 2005 to read: Page 3, Item 9, 2nd Paragraph,
Following discussion of the Public Safety Committee’s recommendations the Council directed staff to draft legislation proposals to address (1) requireeing single-file bike-riding on the island, (2) requireing permits for packs of cyclists, (3) prohibiting parking on East, West and North Mercer Way and (4) limiting the speed or banning bicyclists on the I-90 path. Staff will also bring their analysis and recommendation of each of these back to the Council.

The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 6-0.

It was moved by Councilmember Goldmanis; seconded by Councilmember Litzow to:

Accept the Study Session & Regular Meeting Minutes of February 7, 2005 as amended.

The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 6-0.

Consent Calendar
Payables: $ 282,788.62  
Payrolls: $ 468,752.74

AB 3951: ARCH Work Program and Budget for 2005
AB 3952: Allocate 2004 ARCH Housing Trust Funds to East Village at Talus through ARCH

It was moved by Councilmember Litzow; seconded by Councilmember Jahncke to:

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 6-0.

Regular Business

AB 3958: King County Consortium Housing Community Development Contract
Associate Planner Shelley Bolser answered questions from the Council regarding the Housing Community Development Contract.

It was moved by Councilmember Pearman; seconded by Councilmember Grausz to:

Approve the proposed amendments to the King County Housing and Development Contract – 2005.

The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 5-1 (Councilmember Jahncke dissented).

AB 3961: CCMV Project Update
CCMV Project Manager Brandy Matthews-Fox showed aerial photos of the Community Center. She reported that the project is within the City’s overall timeframe and is still within the established budget.

AB 3959: Public Hearing: Comprehensive Plan Update (1st Reading)
Principal Planner Gabe Snedeker introduced the Planning Commission’s Draft of the Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan.

The Mayor opened the Public Hearing at 8:22 pm.

Randy Gardner, 4400 86th Ave SE, Rector for Emmanuel Episcopal Church, is in favor of language in the Comp Plan that allows for religious properties to be included and deemed as valuable as homes on the Island.

Bob Thorpe, 5800 West Mercer Way, suggested language in the Land Use element to ensure that the previous speaker’s comments regarding religious properties are encompassed. He also spoke about the tax issues religious properties and club properties are facing.

Eric Beckes, 8030 Avalon Place, expressed his support for compact courtyard housing as an option for more affordable housing.

Jim Soles, 8215 41st Avenue NE, Seattle, President of the Cottage Company, advocated for language and regulations in the Comp Plan for cottage housing pilot program on Mercer Island.

Emmett Maloof, 4835 Forest Avenue SE, also supports cottage housing pilot program for Mercer Island. Encouraged Council to pass Goal #6 in the Land Use element for streamlining the permit process for commercial properties.

Alan Ruesch, 7203 West Mercer Way, supports the added flexibility to the Critical Areas Regulations regarding watercourses. He stated that the proper environmental regulation should be based on best available science. He also stated that shoulder improvement on the Mercer Ways should be a priority.

Wes Geisbrecht, 3960 92nd Place SE, was surprised to find out that Mercer Island does not have a zero lot line regulation.

Marguerite Sutherland, 5425 96th Avenue SE, suggested that copies of the Comp Plan should be free of charge for the public. She stated that it is difficult to find out about public meetings and suggested obtaining space in the MI Reporter in the same place every week. (Mayor Merkle responded that the City has been running ads in the Reporter for Council meetings for the last ten years). She also spoke about appeals of Design Commission decisions and low-cost public transportation for seniors.

Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Place SE, spoke about public participation in the Comp Plan amendments process. He feels that many people may not even know that changes will be made that may affect their own property.

Emmett Maloof, 4835 Forest Avenue SE, spoke about language in Land Use element, section 7.4 to use the word encourage instead of maintain.

The Mayor closed the Public Hearing at 9:10 pm and brought the item back to the Council for discussion.

It was the consensus of the Council to incorporate the following changes in to the Comp Plan:

  • Introduction:
    • Page 5 of the Introduction chapter describes the Community Values. The value listed under “Residential Community” could be amended to read:
      Mercer Island is principally a single-family residential community, supported by healthy schools, religious institutions and recreational clubs
    • .
    • The value under “Liveability is Paramount” could be amended to read:
      Our community’s values are reflected by safety and freedom from fear, physical and environmental attributes, and the cultural, religious, educational and recreational opportunities of our Island…
    • On Page 7 of the Introduction, a new bullet could be added to “Residential Land Use” which reads:
      Civic, recreation, education and religious organizations are important and integral elements of the community character and fabric. Their contribution and importance to the established community character should be reflected and respected in land use permit processes.
  • Land Use Element:
    • Add language to Section entitled “Land Use Policies Outside the Town Center” to read:
      Social and recreation clubs, schools, and religious institutions are predominantly located in single family residential areas of the island. Development regulation should reflect the desire to retain viable and healthy social, recreational, educational, and religious organizations as community assets which are essential for the mental, physical and spiritual health of Mercer Island.
    • Amend Policy 7.4 to read:
      Compatible permitted uses such as education, recreation, open spaces, government social services and religious activities will be maintained encouraged.
    • Revise the second paragraph of Policy 1.6 on page 19 of the Land Use Element and turn this into a new stand-alone policy to read as follows:
      The land area devoted to surface parking should be reduced by encouraging structured and underground parking for higher intensity uses. through iImproved access to transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and shared parking should also be encouraged to , allowing less dependence on automobiles for linking to a mix of uses. reduce trip generation and provide transportation alternatives, particularly for secondary trips once users reach the Town Center. However, the City recognizes that the automobile will may remain the primary mode of transportation for most Town Center trips. The City will continue to require new development to meet minimum parking ratios and provide adequate facilities to meet expected demand by auto users.
    • Amend Policy 1.5 to read:
      A maximum minimum maximum floor area ratio should be established which provides the economic incentives for redevelopment; provides sufficient intensity to support transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities; and creates a focus for social, cultural and commercial activities and supports the design elements of the plan.
    • Amend Policy 6.4 to read:
      Create a Town center, accessible for vehicles but and with an emphasis on the needs of pedestrians, including the needs of senior citizens, youths and physically challenged persons.
    • Amend Policy 6.5 to read:
      Integrate residential, retail, civic, auto and transit uses in the Town Center.
    • Amend Goal 10 to read:
      The protection of the natural environment will continue to be a priority in all development. Protection of the environment and private property rights will be consistent with all state and federal laws.
    • Delete Policies 10.6 through 10.9
    • Delete Policy 11.1
    • Amend Policy 11.10 to read:
      Funding for existing facilities should be a top priority and should be provided at a level necessary to sustain and enhance parks, trails and open space consistent with the Parks and Recreation Plan, the Trails Plan and the Capital Facilities Element.
    • Amend Policy 11.2 to read:
      More specific policy direction for parks and open space shall be identified in the Parks and Recreation Plan and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Facility Plan. These plans shall be updated periodically to reflect changing needs in the community.
  • Transportation Element:
    • Amend Goal 4 to read:
      To provide transportation choices for travelers through the provision of a complete range of transportation and pedestrian facilities, including automobile, public transit and ridesharing facilities and services.
    • Add new Policy 6.10 to read:
      The City recognizes that travel by single occupant vehicle is, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, the dominant mode of transportation. The City will require adequate parking and other automobile facilities to meet anticipated demand generated by new development.
  • Housing Element:
    • Delete Policy 3.12
    • Amend Policy 3.11 to read:
      Consider adoption of an interim ordinance enabling a demonstration or pilot project that would allow the development of at least one innovative housing project, e.g. compact courtyard housing, in a single family neighborhoods to examine the feasibility and desirability of allowing additional housing options to address the changing demographics on Mercer Island. Such project should include smaller detached single family units, at slightly higher densities, which include common open space and other amenities, and are subject to strict design review.
    • Delete Policy 2.8
    • Delete sentence from Housing Options section:
      Young adults who grew up on the Island may wish to start new households here.
    • Delete Policies 3.24 and 3.25
Council gave direction to staff to bring back the Comp Plan at the March 7th, 2005 Council Meeting for a public hearing and second reading.

AB 3960: Arts Council 2004 Annual Report and 2005 Work Plan
Recreation Coordinator Jennifer Berner introduced the Arts Council Chair Barry Massoudi who presented the 2004 Arts Council Annual Report and the Arts Council 2005 Work Plan.

It was moved by Deputy Mayor Cairns; seconded by Councilmember Litzow to:

Receive Arts Council 2004 Annual Report and approve the Arts Council 2005 Work Plan.

The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

AB 3962 eGov Online Services Demo
Due to the late hour, this agenda item will be rescheduled.

Other Business

Councilmember Absences:
Councilmember Jahncke will be absent for the March 7, 2005 meeting.

Planning Schedule:
Bring Comprehensive Plan Amendments back for a third reading on March 21st.
April 5th: Meeting with MISD.

Board Appointments:
There were none.

Councilmember Reports:
There were none.

Adjournment: Tuesday, February 23, 2005 at 12:05 am.

[Important Note: The proceedings of the City Council meeting were recorded on tape and are filed in the City Clerk's Office. The complete agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also filed in the City Clerk's office.]


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