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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Call To Order:

Chairman Fred Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:41 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington. 


Roll Call:

Chairman Glick, Commissioners Marcia Dawson, Lucia Pirzio-Biroli, Callie Ridolfi, and George Wittman were present.  Vice-Chair Norman Sandler recused himself from Action Item #1 and arrived at 9:20pm for the Study Session.  Commissioner Bryan Caditz was absent. 


Staff Present:

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



Commissioner Dawson noted that the code reference in the motion for Action Item 2 on April 13, 2005 should be changed to 19.11.010(B)(1)(e).  Staff noted the change and correct the minutes.  Commissioner Dawson moved and Commissioner Ridolfi seconded, to approve the April 13, 2005 minutes subject to the correction.  The amended minutes were approved by a vote of 5-0.


Regular Business:


Action Item #1:

The applicant, Weber + Thompson for Era Care Communities, requested final design approval for a new five-story 131-unit independent and assisted living building at 2430 76th Ave SE.


The applicant had come before the Design Commission for a study session on January 12, 2005, 2005 and received preliminary design approval from the Design Commission on March 23, 2005. 


Shelley Bolser, Associate Planner, gave the staff presentation.  Mrs. Bolser noted that the applicant had responded to Design Commission conditions from preliminary approval.  The façade includes additional modulation on all sides, additional roof forms, screening details, lighting details, signage information, public plaza details, a recessed entry, and bicycle facilities.  Staff had five recommendations for final approval, including approval of a landscape plan prior to building permit submittal, requirements for landscaping, coordination with property owner to the east in a future shared driveway from Sunset Highway, Design Commission signage approval, and the requirement that the gates in the plaza area are left open during daylight hours.


Kristen Scott and Mindy Black of Weber + Thompson at 425 Pontius Ave N in Seattle, began the applicant presentation.  They described the additional modulation, revised canopies, addition of bicycle racks, decorative entry, metal trellis addition on the northwest corner, use of material and color, additional fenestration at the street level on 76th Ave SE, and the thicker cornice trim. 


The applicant submitted a sign package to the Design Commission for review, and submitted a scaled model. 


Dar Webb of 3407 241st Place SE in Issaquah, WA continued the applicant presentation.  Mr. Webb explained that the applicant has been working with WSDOT and that the revised landscape plan indicates low open areas for visual and physical accessibility to the public plaza area. 


Commissioners had questions, which were answered as follows:

·         Director Hart explained that use of the WSDOT property (The Mercer Island Sculpture Garden) was subject to WSDOT approval.  Mercer Island has no current plan to connect Sunset Highway to 76th Ave SE with vehicular access through this area.  Pete Mayer, Director of Mercer Island Park and Recreation, stated that Parks embraces the proposed design but that it also needs to receive WSDOT approval. 

·         Director Hart stated that the proposed public plaza of Aljoya House meets the requirements for a major site feature.  The proposed improvements in the Sculpture Garden are additional and optional on the part of the applicant.

·         Any plant material change in the Sculpture Garden would be subject to WSDOT and City of Mercer Island Parks approval. 

·         The applicant has worked to coordinate amenities in the park area to coordinate with other lid park amenities.

·         The applicant presented a colors and materials board with two additional colors.

·         The shed roofs are clad in metal; the cornice caps would be made of wood and painted dark brown

·         The planters at the 76th Ave SE entry would be 2 feet wide and 30 inches deep, as viewed from the street.

·         There are no plans to retain existing vegetation on site, but the applicant would be willing to relocate some trees and shrubs.

·         The patio on the north side is intended to provide a connection between the park and the exercise areas in the building.  It is in WSDOT property.

·         The underside of the balconies would be clad in stucco and/or painted concrete

·         The wood fence at the service drive would be composed of wood slat and wood panel, with some medallions to match those on the building balconies.  The fence would be visually solid.

·         Windows would be set in 4 inches from the façade.

·         The medallions would be created by an artist.


No public comment was offered.


Commissioners discussed the following items:

·         Stucco on the underside of the deck would not weather well, per MICC 19.11.070(B)(1).

·         The patio on the north side needs WSDOT approval prior to installation.  There are concerns of using public property for an apparently private use.

·         The landscape plan needs to show existing plants, and the applicant should work to preserve 6 existing deciduous trees at the path entrance from 76th Ave SE (on WSDOT property).

·         The entrance planters should be larger to emphasize the entrance.

·         The entry vestibule should be recessed 18-24 inches further to emphasize the entrance.

·         The cornice cap should be 18 inches tall to modulate the roof.



Commissioner Wittman moved, and Commissioner Dawson seconded the motion, to grant final design approval for the proposed development for Aljoya House located at 2430 76th Ave SE in the Town Center, as presented on the submittal packet date stamped April 5, 2005 and materials date stamped April 27, 2005.  This decision incorporates the findings of the Staff Report and is in accordance with MICC Section 19.11 and MICC 19.15.040, and is subject to the following conditions:

1.       DSG Administrative approval of a complete landscape plan with species, sizes, and placement shall be required prior to building permit submittal per MICC 19.11.100. 

2.       The final landscape plan shall incorporate a variety of shrubs on the south property line in addition to the proposed trees and ground cover, per MICC 19.11.100(B)(8).

3.       The applicant shall coordinate with the property owner to the east to achieve a shared service driveway from Sunset Highway with future development, as determined to be feasible by the City Engineer, per MICC 19.11.110(B)(1)(h)(i)(A) and 19.11.080(B)(1). 

4.       The gates between the public plaza on the north side of the building and the private courtyard areas shall be left open during daylight hours per MICC 19.11.010(B)(1)(b) and 19.11.050(B)(2)(b).

5.       The finish on the underside of horizontal surfaces should be high quality and of a durable material and color, per MICC 19.11.070(B)(1).

6.       The entry façade and vestibule façade at the street level on 76th Ave SE shall be recessed 18-24” further and the planters shall be 2 feet deeper than currently proposed, per MICC 19.11.060(B)(8) and MICC 19.11.100(B)(5).

7.       The landscape plan shall indicate existing evergreen and deciduous plant location, canopy, and proposed removal per MICC 19.11.100(B)(2)(a).  All tree removal and pruning shall be consistent with MICC 19.11 and MICC 19.10.

8.       The three pairs of maples at the asphalt path between the Sculpture Garden and 76th Ave SE north of the project shall be retained and shown on the model, subject to approval by WSDOT per MICC 19.11.100(B)(2)(a).

9.       The cap at the parapet shall be 18” tall, per MICC 19.11.060(B)(10).

The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.



Study Session (no action to be taken):

The applicant, RW Thorpe and Associates, requested a Study Session with the Design Commission regarding a 8,821 square foot second story addition, landscaping and screening, signage, a new entry canopy, and a new big toy. 


Chairman Glick noted that he is a member of the Mercer Island Country Club, but has had no recent input in the design of the addition and feels he can be fair and impartial. 


Shelley Bolser, Associate Planner, gave the staff presentation.  Mrs. Bolser began by noting that the applicant had clarified that the addition would be 8,821 square feet, instead of 9,185 square feet as noted in the staff report.  Mrs. Bolser noted that this was a study session and no action would be taken. 


Staff noted that the applicant had received Conditional Use Permit approval from the Planning Commission.  Two conditions of the CUP addressed lighting and landscaping concerns.  The Planning Commission directed the Design Commission to review all current and proposed lighting and landscaping under MICC 19.12.  The applicant had responded to this by adding landscaping at the perimeter.  Staff recommended that the applicant increase vegetative screening on the south side of the lot adjacent to the parking lot, use consistent materials and colors on the entire site, consider shielding and screening to reduce light spillage, increase building fenestration, and provide detailed information for review with the preliminary design packet.


Dick Winterbauer of 6500 83rd Place SE in Mercer Island, President of the Mercer Island Country Club board of trustees, began the applicant presentation and introduced Robert Thorpe.


Robert Thorpe of RW Thorpe and Associates at 705 2nd Ave in Seattle, WA, continued the applicant presentation.  Mr. Thorpe explained that the Club had conducted three neighborhood meetings at which they addressed concerns of parking, lighting, and landscaping. 


Jennifer Dischinger of RW Thorpe and Associates continued the presentation.  Ms. Dischinger described perimeter landscaping, screening for the dumpster, planting near the building entrance, lighting mitigation, and the City Arborist comments. 


David Bertus of Erickson McGovern architects at 120 131st St S. in Tacoma continued the presentation.  Mr. Bertus described the floor plan and façade, materials and colors, roof elements, window blinds that would be automated and closed at night, trash area screening, and lighting techniques. 


The applicant submitted a colors and materials board.


Commissioners had questions and were provided with the following answers:

·         The applicant prefers entry canopy Option A, the butterfly shed roof.

·         There would be metal roofs above the elevator section and at projecting bays.  The remainder of the roof would be asphalt.

·         The two-story portion of the building is approximately 170 feet long.

·         The railing on the east deck would be made of tempered glass.

·         The columns of the building would be hardi-panel, and the top floor steps out approximately 6” from the inset panels. 

·         The window bays project approximately 12 inches, with an 18 inch overhang.  The elevator project approximately 24 inches from the building and the eave is flush with this projection.


Commissioners discussed and had the following comments and suggestions for the applicant:

·         The applicant should closely examine the effects of landscape screening.  Consideration should be given to siting and species selection.  The applicant should also examine existing plant materials at the interior of the site and consider how these work to achieve screening.  Existing and proposed landscaping should meet 19.12.040.

·         The roof ridgeline should include variation, per MICC 19.12.030(B)(6).

·         The building should be modulated with reveals, setbacks, projections, change of color and materials, and/or fenestration, per MICC 19.12.030.

·         To achieve consistency per MICC 19.12.030(B)(4)(b), the applicant should incorporate a metal railing on the east façade balcony and incorporate elements of the butterfly shed roof in the rest of the building roofline.

·         Details of the following should be submitted at preliminary design review:

o        Demonstrate how the proposed addition relates architecturally to the other structures on site

o        Provide construction drawings detailing architectural elements

o        Include window blinds in the renderings (the use of dark blinds could add modulation to the building)

o        Provide a colors and materials board

o        Provide a vicinity map and show adjacent streets on the site plan

o        Provide wider view photo simulations similar to those shown in the packet and indicate new proposed trees.


Other Business


Council Liaison Report:

Council Liaison Jim Pearman gave the report.  He noted that the City has decided to hire a lobbyist to promote the City’s interests and ensure that there is correct public information regarding Mercer Island residents’ single occupancy vehicle use of I-90 HOV lanes. 


Councilmember Pearman also noted that the sewer lake line on the north end of the Island is under discussion.  A mitigation under consideration is to tie the lake line in with shoreline protection techniques. 


The Council is finishing review of the Comprehensive Plan amendments.  Commissioner Pirzio-Biroli asked about the status of any sustainability study sessions.  Currently, there are no study sessions regarding sustainability, but Councilmember Pearman encouraged anyone who was interested to bring it up to the Council. 


Next Regular Meeting:

The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for May 11th at 7:30 PM.  Preliminary design review for the Mercer Island Park and Ride structure Public Institution zone north of the town center is on the agenda. 


Commissioner Absences:

There are no scheduled absences at this time. 


Adjournment:   10:50 PM


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