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Monday, April 21, 2008

Call To Order:


Mayor Jim Pearman called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.



Roll Call:


Councilmembers Bruce Bassett, Mike Cero, Mike Grady, Dan Grausz, Steve Litzow, Deputy Mayor El Jahncke and Mayor Jim Pearman were present.





Robert Clark, 4319 86th Ave SE, presented a letter to the Council informing them that Islanders for Common Sense has appealed the award of a conditional use permit for the PEAK project to the Hearing Examiner.  He stated that special sessions should be held for important topics such as the First Hill issue.


Ralph Jorgenson, 8040 84th Ave SE, stated that he likes option B for the Island Crest trail.  He urged the Council to adopt this option since there is a 90% support rate.


Bob Medved, 7238 SE 32nd Street, read a transcript from the March 17th, 2008 Study Session of Art Sullivan’s presentation regarding conversations on housing with the broader community. Indicates to him that there is no consensus of the community in what they want for affordable housing. He also recapped the Mayor’s statement that “we are about ready to start a process to allow all of you to come in and say what you think so the Council can make an informed decision about what to do within the neighborhood.”  He asked a few questions, such as, who is the decision maker?  Is it the citizens? How many? What is the decision maker going to look at? He suggested that the meetings of the decision makers are recorded.  He asked what criteria are going to be used in making a final decision.





(1)        It was moved by Councilmember Litzow; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Table the Study Session & Regular Meeting Minutes of April 7, 2008 until a correction can be made to the motion of AB 4289.

Motion passed 7-0.



Consent Calendar:


(2)        Payables: $1,132,758.88            Payroll: $569,931.20


(3)        AB 4295            76th Avenue Improvements Bid Award. Motion:  Award Schedules ‘A’ and ‘B’ of the 2008 76th Avenue SE Improvements project to the Construct Company in the amount of $744,049, set the total project budget at $1,171,830 and direct staff to administer the construction contract.


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

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 7-0.



Regular Business:


(4)        AB 4292            Open Space Conservancy Trust Board 2007 Annual Report and 2008 Work Plan


Fletch Waller presented details of the Open Space Conservancy Trust Board’s 2007 annual report, including volunteerism, forest management, December 2006 storm damage, Pioneer Park and the Engstrom open space.  The Council received the report and the work plan and thanked Mr. Waller for all his and the Trustee’s work on the Open Space Conservancy Trust.



(5)        AB 4294            Emergency Water Supply Well Project


Maintenance Director Glenn Boettcher presented information about the Emergency Well project.  Staff is seeking direction from Council regarding storage capacity to build, the size and location of the control building, the configuration of the distribution system on the well site, the extent of off-site distribution methods that should be evaluated, as well as timing.


Gregory Hill, President of Roth Hill Engineering Partners, LLC, reviewed the emergency water supply well building and engineering requirements with the Council.


The Council discussed the advantages and disadvantages of delaying the project until the First Hill property has been sold versus allocating staff to spend $135,000 from rate revenue now.


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

Provide direction to staff to move forward with the design of the permanent well facility, and authorize staff to spend $135,000 from rate revenue with the intention of reimbursing these costs to the Water Utility.

Motion passed 7-0.



(6)        AB 4280            Island Crest Trail Project Update


Maintenance Director Glenn Boettcher presented the history behind the Island Crest Trail Project, a pedestrian and bicycle connection along Island Crest Way between SE 78th Street and the Pioneer Park trails.  He reported that due to a change in scope, staff is coming back to Council for direction on options for the trail and its location.  Project Manager Joan Weiser guided Council through photographs of the trail location.


The Mayor opened the public comment period at 8:15 pm.


Bill Duvall, 7300 Island Crest Way, commended staff for addressing this “eye sore” (landscaping). He thinks that correcting the “de-wooding” should be a priority.  He is disappointed that this will not be completely resolved tonight. Potential safety issue exists in proposal from 74th. Consider allocating an additional 15k to address safety concerns on 74th.  The neighborhood prefers Option B and is best for neighborhood. Add the $120,000 required for Option B – please don’t do nothing.  Pick Option B or proceed with staff recommendations. 


Maretta Holden, 8221 SE 24th Street, believes that bicycles and pedestrians cannot safely occupy the same space if the trail is less than 10 feet wide it doesn’t matter what the surface is paved with. Bicycles and pedestrians have difficulty coexisting in the same space.


Marcia Dawson, 8812 SE 77th Place, served on Design Commission until end of 2007.  She stated that the Design Commission had supported Option B and she supports the trail as it provides a great experience adjacent to Pioneer Park. She supports taking more time if necessary to complete the trail to do it right.  She feels Option B with the gravel, meandering trail and protection of the healthy trees preserved by the arborist is the best choice.


Bart Dawson, 8812 SE 77th Place, stated that Option B is the best choice and is supported by 90% of the people who attended the open house and was the preferred option by the City. He stated the Option be is the safest option for pedestrians.  He believes the only reason we are talking about other options is due to cost. He stated there are paved alternatives for bike riders.


Sam Hobson, 8828 SE 77th Place, spoke in favor of Option B.  Doesn’t minimize the over budget amount, but believes that the Council should not deviate from Option B.  Should take a 50 year perspective when considering the cost, which is about $2,500 per year. Option C doesn’t satisfy the neighborhoods needs and is not safe. 90% of the people continue to prefer Option B. Most important component of Option B is the meandering feature. Less expensive surface material and completing the trail in phases using volunteer help from the neighborhood are good options. Maybe there are other options to reduce costs that could also be considered.


Hilary Benson, 7344 Island Crest Way, came to Council before regarding safety concerns regarding traffic around that area.  Option C builds the trail too close to the roadway.  Seemed the City had a clear plan three years ago. The original $100,000 allocated in the 2007 TIP, wasn’t necessarily based in reality and was meant more as a placeholder figure.  She would like the Council to consider that the budget wasn’t necessarily based in reality.


Karen Jensen, 7348 Island Crest Way, wants Council to carefully consider landscaping and move forward as quickly as possible. Supports Option B.  She doesn’t believe that the bicycles should be a determinative.  Path should be geared toward pedestrians.  Choose Option B, but forego the ¼ inch topping that is meant for bicycles.


Michael Reece, 7210 87th Ave SE, stated that he has a Degree in forestry and works for the City of Bellevue.  He is disheartened by the deforestation.  Concerned about the re-vegetation.  Likes Option A because the wheels of his wheelchair can maneuver through the topping.  Chips would be more cost effective than gravel – Council should consider the re-vegetation is up to standards.


Eric Rasmussen, 7348 Island Crest Way, prefers Option B as it will keep the kids off the steep hill and it is supported by the neighbors.  He believes that the clear-cut looks much worse than the blackberries that were removed.


Lynn Thomas, 7360 Island Crest Way, prefers Option B.  She would like the Council to consider a surface that can accommodation strollers.


Marcia Zervis, 7211 87th Ave SE, encouraged the Council to consider the ¼ inch topping so it can accommodate wheelchairs and to move forward with the trail as soon as possible since walking on the roadway is unsafe.


The Mayor closed the public comment period at 8:41 pm.


After discussion and Council questions of staff the following motion was made:


It was moved by Councilmember Cero; seconded by Councilmember Bassett to:

Authorize staff to proceed with the construction of the Island Crest Way Trail Project as described in Option B1 with ¼ inch rock and to re-direct money from other lower priority or other further down the road TIP projects.

Motion failed 2-5 (Councilmembers Cero and Bassett were proponents of the motion).


Council directed staff to come back in a timely fashion with a project that meets the following objectives:

·         Propose a trail surface material that meets the needs of pedestrians, wheel chairs, and strollers.

·         Address the different needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.

·         Propose a plan that is safe to both pedestrians and bicyclists.

·         Address the landscaping needs.

·         Project should come in at the lowest cost as possible.

·         Consider timing and staging (or phasing) within the plan.




Councilmember Absences: 

Councilmember Grausz will be absent June 2 and June 16.


Planning Schedule: 

There were no changes, however Council directed staff to take a look at the Council work plan to see if the re-prioritization is needed.  Staff will bring back recommended modifications to the Council’s work plan to the Council work planning session scheduled in June.


Board Appointments:

There were no appointments.


Councilmember Reports:

Deputy Mayor Jahncke informed the Council that he is attending the Mercer Island’s School Board’s “Really Big Idea Committee” meetings.  The Committee is in the visioning stage and there is nothing to report at this time.


Mayor Pearman reported on the Island Crest Way/Merrimount Intersection Community Meeting.  There were approximately 40 attendees, the process went well and good feedback was received.  The public process was a success.


Councilmember Cero attended the CTC meeting, which presented a “How to Parent” session in reference to drug and alcohol use on the island.  Councilmember Cero also attended two senior commission meetings, one at the City of Kirkland.  The Kirkland meeting was a good experience for those who attended and a model for how a senior commission should function.  He expects to see good things come from the Senior Commission.  Finally, Councilmember Cero reported his attendance of a public issues committee (PIC), which was a good meeting to get other perspectives on individual issues in the region.


Councilmember Bassett reported attending AWC’s Creating Cooler Communities workshop.  He stated it was good to see how much energy there is out there around sustainability. 


Councilmember Litzow reported his attendance at the ETP meeting. He stated that there is a general assumption that tolling on I-90 will be automatic. There are current studies being run regarding the effect of tolling on both I-520 an I-90.



Executive SESSION:


The Council adjourned to Executive Session at 10:02 pm to discuss potential litigation per RCW 42.30.110(1)(i) for approximately 60 minutes.


At the conclusion of the Executive Session the Council made the following motion:


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

Approve a settlement agreement between the City of Mercer Island and former employee Robert Sterbank. As set forth in the settlement agreement, Mr. Sterbank agreed to resign employment and release all claims that he may have against the City in exchange for a severance payment, as approved by the City Council in a previous consent calendar.

Motion passed 6-1 (Councilmember Litzow dissented).



Adjournment:           11:05 pm


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