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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Call To Order:

Vice-Chair Norman Sandler called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:43 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington. 


Roll Call:

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


Staff Present:

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



Commissioners Dawson and Pirzio-Biroli noted changes to the minutes of April 27, 2005 regarding comments of vegetation location on Item #1 and comments regarding the need for modulation on Item #2.  Staff noted the change and will correct the minutes.  Commissioner Pirzio-Biroli moved and Commissioner Dawson seconded, to approve the April 27, 2005 minutes subject to the correction.  The amended minutes were approved by a vote of 5-0.


Regular Business:


Study Session (no action to be taken):

City Staff, in response to a request from the Design Commission, gave a presentation on State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review and traffic mitigation in the Town Center.


Director Hart described the SEPA review process.  The City uses SEPA as a traffic mitigation tool, as opposed to other options that include prescriptive traffic ordinances. 


Patrick Yamashita, City Engineer, described the Environmental Impact Statement, a Determination of Non-significance through SEPA review, and how these SEPA tools are used in mitigating traffic in the Town Center.


Nancy Fairchild, Transportation Planner for the City, explained Town Center traffic development and regulation in regards to the Comprehensive Plan and the MICC Town Center Development and Design Standards.  Ms. Fairchild described the history of these documents and the relation to the Transportation Improvement Plan, which included improvements to 77th Ave SE, 78th Ave SE, and SE 27th St. 


Staff explained Level of Service (LOS), a measurement of traffic impacts.  As a result of the Mercer Island LOS of “C,” the City has determined that two future traffic signals will be needed at the corners of SE 27th St/78th Ave SE (expected 2008) and SE 27th St/77th Ave SE (expected 2007).  These traffic signals will be coordinated with Design Commission requirements.



Action Item #1:

Commissioner Caditz recused himself from Action Item 1, due to the fact that his law firm is involved in litigation with the applicant.  Commissioner Caditz left at 8:33pm. 


The applicant, Sound Transit, requested preliminary design approval for a new two-story 450-space parking structure at the existing Mercer Island Park and Ride at 7800 North Mercer Way. 


The applicant had come before the Design Commission for a study session on April 12, 2005. 


Shelley Bolser, Associate Planner, gave the staff presentation.  Mrs. Bolser noted that the applicant had responded to some of the Design Commission suggestions from the Study Session and would introduce additional materials during the applicant presentation. 


Eric Beckman, Project Manager for Sound Transit at 401 South Jackson Street in Seattle, began the applicant presentation.  Mr. Beckman submitted a sign package to the Design Commission and additional materials.  Commissioners noted that they would not accept the sign package, since staff had not had the opportunity to review it.  Mr. Beckman presented a model of the lighted art pieces proposed for the plaza and the art screens proposed for the south and west sides of the structure.  Staff noted that the art was on public property and therefore would be approved by the Arts Council.


Larry Yuan of YnA 1932 First Avenue, Ste 605 in Seattle continued the applicant presentation.  Mr. Yuan and Mr. Beckman described the façade of the structure and the reasons for the treatment of each façade. 


Commissioners had questions, which were answered as follows:

·         The proposed bus shelters would include four units on the north side of North Mercer Way, and two units on the south side of North Mercer Way.  The new bus shelters would be smaller than the current bus shelters.

·         A mix of uses is not required at this site, since there is no focus area, the applicant has not proposed a structure above two stories, and WSDOT policy and deed restrictions prevent such a use.

·         There would be two bike racks and 12 bike lockers.  None of the bicycle facilities would be covered.


Tom Donahue of 2284 78th Ave SE in Mercer Island offered public comment.  Mr. Donahue spoke in favor of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs).  Mr. Donahue stated that the project is a benefit to Mercer Island, but could be improved by incorporating spaces and power outlets for NEVs.  Mr. Donahue submitted a packet of information to staff. 


Commissioners discussed the following items:

·         The applicant has done a good job of modulating the structure

·         Bike racks should be covered and alternative modes of transportation should be considered

·         The concrete walls need additional modulation, similar to that found on the walls of I-90.

·         The art panel is too extensive and should be broken up with other materials/colors, including green screen, vegetation, and concrete.

·         The applicant should examine the potential for NEVs.



Commissioner Pirzio-Biroli moved to grant preliminary design approval for the proposed structure located at 7800 North Mercer Way in the Town Center, as presented on the submittal packet date stamped April 20, 2005 and April 27, 2005, and the materials date stamped May 11, 2005 with the exception of the sign package.  This decision incorporates the findings of the Staff Report and is in accordance with MICC Section 19.11, with the following conditions:

1.       Revise facades to include a variety of modulation treatments such as art screen, concrete, and green screen on all sides of the structure, per MICC 19.11.010(B)(2), 19.11.010(B)(3), 19.11.060(B)(2), 19.11.060(B)(6), 19.11.060(B)(7), 19.11.060(B)(12), and 19.11.060(B)(14). 

2.       Revise the west and southeast corners to address the requirements of MICC 19.11.060(B)(12) using landscaping, art, or architectural elements. 

3.       Include four additional street facing façade elements, including glass and metal canopies over the bike lockers and/or bike racks.  Seven total street facing façade elements are required per MICC 19.11.060(B)(1). 

4.       Provide additional details regarding minor site features such as benches, kiosk, bus shelters, and paving treatments, per MICC 19.11.050(B)(1).

5.       Provide a colors and materials board, including crosswalk and plaza paving samples, per MICC 19.11.070(B)(4).

6.       The signage plan provided May 11, 2005 shall be reviewed by staff and included in the final design review staff report per MICC 19.11.120.

7.       Indicate adequate shielding for proposed light fixtures, especially the light standards on the upper level and ramp areas, per MICC 19.11.090(B)(1) and (B)(7).

8.       Provide lighting and irrigation information in landscaped areas, per MICC 19.11.090(B)(1) and 19.11.100(B)(9).

9.       Provide information showing proposed landscaping, sidewalk treatments, and paving changes on both sides of North Mercer Way, per MICC 19.11.100(B).


Commissioner Dawson seconded the motion and moved to amend the motion to include the following conditions:

10.   Include trees and shrubs in the planting areas on the south side of North Mercer Way adjacent to I-90, per MICC 19.11.100(B).

11.   The applicant should review the composition of the landscaping at the northwest corner of 81st Ave SW and North Mercer Way to meet the requirements of MICC 19.11.100(B)(7).

12.   The applicant shall consider retaining the mature maple trees on 81st Avenue SE per MICC 19.11.100(B)(2)(a).

13.   Use draping and other plant material to soften the walls of the structure per MICC 19.11.100(B)(6).

14.   Grade the soil to slope up towards the green screen on the north retaining wall to achieve sufficient plant growth opportunity, per MICC 19.11.100(B)(7).

Commissioner Ridolfi seconded the amended motion.


The motion passed by a vote of 4-0.



Other Business


Council Liaison Report:

Council Liaison Jim Pearman gave the report.  He stated that the City Council approved the Kiwanis fireworks for this year, but King County is looking at a county-wide ban on fireworks which may change this practice in the future.


Councilmember Pearman also noted that Sound Transit had presented their I-90 report to the Council, which described eight different options for the future of I-90.  The monorail is not a likely option, since the additional weight would sink the pontoon bridge and the monorail would require extensive reconfiguration of the tunnels.  The first stage of work on I-90 will occur east of Mercer Island, since the dominant commute is now eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening. 


Next Regular Meeting:

The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for June 8, 2005 at 7:30 PM.  Final design review for 7700 Central is on the agenda.  There will be two new Commissioners appointed to the Design Commission around that time. 


Commissioner Absences:

There are no scheduled absences at this time. 


Adjournment:   10:24 PM


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