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Monday, July 24, 2006

Call To Order

Mayor Bryan Cairns called the meeting to order at 6:01 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

City Councilmembers Sven Goldmanis, Mike Grady, Dan Grausz (arrived 6:12 pm), El Jahncke, Steve Litzow, Deputy Mayor Jim Pearman and Mayor Bryan Cairns were present.

Study Session

AB 4116: I-90 Update
City Manager Rich Conrad and lobbying consultant Phil Watkins briefed the Council on current events related to I-90." The Council directed staff to continue discussions with WSDOT officials regarding mitigation for losses of Mercer Island mobility, specifically access to the future R8A HOV lanes. The Council also asked that staff continue to work with the Council's I-90 Steering Committee in developing information and strategies and to provide more frequent updates to the full Council.

The Study Session adjourned at 6:56 pm. The Regular Meeting reconvened at 7:05 pm.


There were none.


It was moved by Councilmember Grady; seconded by Councilmember Litzow to:
Approve the Study Session & Regular Meeting Minutes of July 10, 2006 as written.
Motion Passed 7-0.

Consent Calendar

Payables: $ 382,555.59  
Payrolls: $ 527,321.63

AB 4111: ARCH 2006 Housing Trust Fund Recommendation: Approve the use of $16,179 from previously allocated but unspent 2003 and 2005 Housing Trust Fund monies and $3,821 of previously budgeted and unspent 2006 Housing Trust Fund monies for a total of $20,000 toward the Community Homes Inc. project in Redmond and the House Key Plus ARCH program, as recommended by the ARCH Executive Board.

It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Deputy Mayor Pearman to:
Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.
Motion Passed 7-0.

Regular Business

AB 4112: Accept YFS Foundation Funds and Approve Expenditures for CCMV Equipment

Parks and Recreation Manger Curt Brees presented information regarding the Parks and Recreation Department request for funding from the YFS Foundation in response to small facility and equipment needs that have been realized during the first six months of operation of the Community Center at Mercer View. The equipment and facility needs to be funded by the request include; assisted listening devices, security cameras, additional furniture, a piano, play equipment for children, and various other facility improvements to aid the programs and rentals that occur at the building.

It was moved Councilmember Goldmanis by; seconded by Deputy Mayor Pearman to:
Authorize the City Manager to accept $46,450.00 from the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Foundation to be expended on equipment and facility improvements to the Community Center.
Motion Passed 7-0.

AB 4113: Request for Engineering Design Funds for 78th Avenue SE Improvements

Development Services Director Richard Hart presented information for a street improvement project along 78th Avenue SE between Sunset Highway and SE 27th St involving several levels of improvements to provide a pedestrian plaza “feel” for the roadway and streetscape in this corridor.

It was moved Deputy Mayor Pearman by; seconded by Councilmember Grausz to:
Authorize City staff to undertake engineering and design of pedestrian enhancements and street improvements on 78th Avenue SE between SE 27th Street and Sunset Highway for up to $60,000 to be funded from the Town Center Beautification Fund and return to the Council at a later date with specific design alternatives and construction cost estimates.
Motion Passed 6-1 (Councilmember Goldmanis dissented).

AB 4115: Public Hearing: Revised Animal Control Ordinance (2nd Reading)

Assistant City Attorney Katie Knight, Police Chief Ed Holmes, Parks and Recreation Director Pete Mayer and Communications Coordinator Joy Bueling presented revisions to the Mercer Island Animal Code as it relates to leash laws, including the following changes as directed by the Council at the July 10, 2006 meeting.
  • In Luther Burbank Park, dogs are required to be on leash at all times unless in an off leash area (“OLA”) or as otherwise prohibited or excepted (e.g. prohibited in a public swimming area from May 1 through September 30, on sports courts, within the borders of playground surfaced areas).
  • The inclusion in the ordinance of a definition of voice and/or signal control.
  • Changing the number of dogs that could be on a leash, in an OLA or under voice or signal control by a single person.
  • Repealing the outdated provisions of the Animal Code and replacing them with current state statutes.
  • Designating violations of the leash law as civil infractions.
  • Per the Council’s request to locate a south island OLA, staff had recommended Clarke Beach Park as an additional off-leash site. The Council decided that it would not establish Clarke Beach as a third OLA.
The Mayor opened the public hearing at 7:52 pm.

Dorli Mason, 3205 Shorewood Drive, spoke about the ineffectiveness of voice control when an owner and dog use a “chuck-in” which launches balls into the distance for the dog to retrieve. The dog is too far away to respond to voice or signal controls. She asked that dogs be banned from Calkins point to protect wildlife.

Robert Clark, 4913 86th Avenue SE, spoke about the rights of non-pet owners and the responsibilities of pet-owners on Mercer Island.

Judith Roan, 7365 SE 38th Street, spoke about her dog who although he was properly trained could not be guaranteed to be under voice control at all times.

Gloria Rand, 7621 SE 22nd Street, likes the idea of the off-leash areas but has a hard time with it being on expensive waterfront property. She would like to see all dogs on leash at all times. She stated that parks are for people not dogs.

Bitty Rauch, 6010 93rd Avenue SE, asked for a separate off-leash area for small dogs and for seasonal times when all of Luther Burbank is off-leash from October to March.

Roger Morris, 6629 119th Avenue SE, Bellevue, stated that there will still be problems no matter what laws are passed. He would like to see an area inside the current off-leash area designated for small dogs.

Stowe Sprague, 4453 84th Avenue SE, stated that the proposed ordinance is too loose and increases areas for dogs to be off-leash. Asked that dogs not be allowed in “Dragon Park” and all other playfields.

Randal Houtz, 8517 SE 76th Place, stated that the MI-Dogs group welcomes the change to engage in enforcement improvements and help let people know that there are laws and there are consequences for not following the laws. Suggested that the definition of “playground” and “sports field” be more refined.

Anne Toothill, 4049 West Mercer Way, concerned that there are no assurances of safety with voice control. Urged the Council to keep the laws as they are.

Marguerite Sutherland, 5425 96th Avenue SE, suggested that the dogs activities at the South Mercer playfields should continue as long as no problems develop, but in Luther Burbank Park dogs should be on-leash in Luther Burbank Park and signage should clearly state all laws regarding animals.

Jim Rauch, 6010 93rd Avenue SE, walks his dog in Pioneer Park and rarely sees others. He does not think there is a problem. Would like a small dog area at Luther Burbank.

Graham Nichol, 7640 SE 72nd Place, disappointed in proposed ordinance. He gave statistics regarding dog bites and stated the CDC’s position that all dogs and cats should be on leash. Asked that Luther Burbank, two quadrants of Pioneer Park and Dragon Park be on-leash parks at all times.

Roberta Wyde, 4048 East Mercer Way, doesn’t understand why the number of dogs per person went from 4 to 2. She sees the need to update the off-leash area soon in order to be able to comply with the proposed ordinance. She asked why no one has collected data regarding the problem.

Laura Smith, 4805 86th Avenue SE, asked that the South Mercer playfields be a place for dogs to exercise off-leash but under voice control. She supports the proposed ordinance.

Teresa Hildebrandt, 7365 85th Avenue SE, asked the Council to develop a task force to study the issue and not pass the proposed ordinance.

Howard Robboy, 6944 96th Avenue SE, asked if the track at the South Mercer playfields will be a lawful place to walk dogs.

David Witus, 8938 SE 54th Street, stated that animal codes should be defined locally not nationally. He stated that there doesn’t seem to be a problem outside of Luther Burbank Park. He also stated the ordinance should not be passed as neither side is satisfied with the proposed provisions.

Warren Libman, 8851 SE 74th Place, concerned about the provision prohibiting dogs in the winter months at swimming beaches unless they are on a leash as it limits dogs’ swimming as exercise.

Dana Levy, 4237 92nd Avenue SE, stated that dog owners must be responsible whether their dog is on or off leash.

Jane Rosenstein, 8408 SE 53rd Place, has an issue with not being able to have her dog at her children’s games at the ball fields. She asked to keep Dragon Park an acceptable place to have dogs.

Melinda Tainter, Bellevue, stated that signage is need to let visitors know where off-leash area is in Luther Burbank Park and that repairs need to be made immediately.

Sue Robboy, 6944 96th Avenue SE, would like to see South Mercer Playfields remain a place for dogs to run off-leash when there is no organized activity.

T.K. Jones, 6405 West Mercer Way, agrees with the changes from the first draft to the current one. He stated that the off-leash area in Luther Burbank Park is inadequate. He asked the Council to take more time to review the ordinance.

Floyd Short, Mercer Island resident, concerned that voice control does not always work and it takes away the choice of people who don want to encounter dogs off-leash. Having off-leash areas is the best solution.

Carey Concannon, 4523 90th Avenue SE, spoke about voice control can work. She stated that when she walks she feels safer with her dog.

Joe Wallis, 8730 SE 48th Street, asked if the Seattle Times article is inaccurate. He stated that enforcement is just as important as the regulations.

Tsering Yuthok-Short (Mercer Island), spoke about the rights of people versus the rights of dogs. She believes the proposed ordinance is unenforceable.

Marguerite Smith, 7809 79th Avenue SE, commended the staff on doing a good job with the ordinance from the first reading to the second reading. She suggested clarification on sports fields and affiliated school facilities. She disagrees with the distance limit while under control.

Amanda Clark, 4319 86th Avenue SE, asked the Council not to consider seasonal times for dogs to be off-leash in Luther Burbank Park.

Peter Noone, 7938 SE 76th Street, stated that dogs on the streets should be on leash.

Peter Christianson, 5717 96th Avenue SE, stated that people from Seattle and Bellevue will come to Mercer Island if the proposed ordinance is passed. He stated that the proposed laws are unenforceable.

Barbara Marowitz, 5020 West Mercer Way, stated that her children are comfortable around dogs. She would like there to be more off-leash areas on Mercer Island.

The Mayor closed the public hearing at 9:24 pm.

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

Adopt Ordinance No. 06C-09 revising MICC Title 7 Animal Code.


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

Amend Ordinance No. 06C-09 as follows:


37.  Any public The NE quadrant of Pioneer Park, Dragon Park or Luther Burbank park property which includes an active play and/or picnic area unless such animal is restrained by a leash or other similar physical restraint in a designated off-leash area on Luther Burbank park property,

Motion to Amend Passed 6-1 (Councilmember Litzow dissented).


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

Amend Ordinance No. 06C-09 as follows:


4.   Any sports field when practices, scheduled games or other organized activities are in progress, otherwise an animal must be under control when at a sports field.

Motion to Amend Passed 7-0.


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

Amend Ordinance No. 06C-09 as follows:

2430. “Under control” means the animal is on a leash or under voice and/or signal control so as to be thereby restrained from approaching any bystander or other animal or from causing or being the cause of physical or property damage when off a leash or off the premises of the owner.  The animal is not under control if it is not allowed to charges, chases, jumps on, or displays aggression toward other people or animals, or behaves in a way that any reasonable person would find disturbing.

Motion to Amend Passed 7-0.


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

Amend Ordinance No. 06C-09 as follows:

17. “Off-leash area” means those areas located in public park properties, as designated by sign, where are allowed to be off leash, but under control. 

Motion to Amend Passed 7-0.


Motion Passed 6-1 (Councilmember Grady dissented).


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

Approve the appropriation of $7,500 from the 2005 budget surplus to change existing signage and direct staff to implement the signage project.

Motion to Amend Passed 7-0.


Other Business

Councilmember Absences:
There were none.

Planning Schedule:
Schedule Resolution Opposing I-933.

Board Appointments:
There were none.

Councilmember Reports:
Councilmember Grady re: WRIA 8 meeting.
Mayor Cairns re: King County Mayor’s meeting discussion of I-933.
Councilmember Grady re: thanked staff for special event work.
Councilmember Goldmanis re: I-90 decisions.

Adjournment: 10:22 pm

[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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