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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Call To Order:


Deputy Mayor El Jahncke 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:


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





(1)        AB 4351            Town Center Vision Status Report


Development Service Director Steve Lancaster and GIS Coordinator Mike Onzay presented an interactive three-dimensional computer model of the Town Center which is being developed to help visualize both specific development proposals and the more generalized character of future growth.  Director Lancaster also spoke about opportunities for creating public amenities within the Town Center that are classified into three general categories:  public investments, private development incentives, and other public/private partnerships. The Council discussed additional public amenities that might be considered as the Town Center continues to develop, such as the location of a shared public parking facility.





The Masonic Lodge 297 and VFW Post 5760 presented a check for $2500 to Officer Jennifer Franklin and the City of Mercer Island for the Mercer Island DARE Program.


Shelly Kind, District Director for the Bellevue Office for the Muscular Dystrophy Association thanked the Council for allowing the Mercer Island Fire Department to conduct the “Fill the Boot” campaign.  She thanked the Mercer Island community for donating and raising $6475.





Edee Phillips, 7373 Mercer Terrace Drive, thanked the Council for their support of the Farmer’s Market.  She reported that over 5000 attended on the first day and 90% of the vendors sold out of their products.


Marc Berejka, 8125 SE 79th Street, presented information to the Council about his concerns regarding parking in the Town Center.  His observations are that the City has a plan to turn the Town Center into a pedestrian-friendly areas but it isn’t there yet.  He showed pictures of “no parking” and “towing” signs that restricts parking to people who are doing business in that building.  He thinks there may be ample parking in the Town Center if everyone would open their lots.


Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Place SE, proposed that the Council place other open spaces on Mercer Island in the Open Space Conservancy Trust.  He also asked the Council specify in the City’s Comprehensive Plan the limits of development for each individual park.  He believes that both of these proposals can be accomplished without any additional taxes.


Marty Gale, 9404 SE 54th Street, read a statement from Councilmember Grausz’ email to citizens regarding Tent City.  She spoke about what the neighbors around Tent City have asked for.  She believes that the Mercer Island Faith Community has not lived up to its pledge for “support and assistance” for a safe and positive experience for residents of Tent City and the greater Mercer Island Community as part of the Temporary Use Agreement.  There should be a strong ordinance in place with consequences for those who fail to carry out their pledges.


Eva Zemplenyi, 6188 92nd Ave SE, concerned about proposed tolling for the I-90 bridge and that Mercer Island residents do not know that there is such a proposal.  She asked the Council to make a strong statement in opposition to tolling I-90.


William Ellis, 4815 West Mercer Way, feels there are unintended consequences about tolling on the East Channel bridge.  If Mercer Island residents do not have free access to the Island, renters will not live on Mercer Island because of the financial burden.  He is okay with tolling the floating bridge as long as the East Channel bridge is not tolled.  He asked the Council to take a strong position on free access to Mercer Island for residents.


Karen Morris, 15718 NE 4th Street, Bellevue, she urged due diligence and to note how much misinformation gets presented as fact regarding Tent City.


Betty Harper, 4651 Forest Ave SE, asked the Council when the appropriate time to give comments on the Island Crest Way/Merrimount intersection.  City Manager Conrad responded that staff will be presenting a public process for the intersection to the Council at the September 15th Council meeting which will include opportunities for the public to submit their comments regarding the intersection.





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

Approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of August 4, 2008 as written.

Motion passed 5-0.


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

Approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of August 18, 2008 as written.

Motion passed 5-0.



Consent Calendar:


(3)        Payables: $272,052.31               Payroll: $673,267.63


(4)        AB 4349            King County 4Culture Grant Approval for Arts Council

                                    Motion: Authorize the City Manager to expend 2006/2007 carry-forward grant money from King County 4Culture Grant for 2008 projects for Arts Council-approved programs.


(5)        AB 4338            Set Public Hearing Date for Shorewood Heights Long Plat

                                    Motion: Set the public meeting date for the proposed Shorewood Heights Long Plat for September 15th, 2008.


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

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 5-0.



Regular Business:


(6)        AB 4346            ARCH Priorities Presentation


Development Services Director Steve Lancaster introduced Arthur Sullivan, ARCH Executive Director, who presented information on the Priority Housing Strategies Summary document that provides an overview of the ARCH workshops, held in spring 2007, the criteria used to develop priority housing strategies, and a summary of the proposed priority strategies.  The intent behind the Council endorsing the proposed priority strategies is to increase the effectiveness of member’s individual and collective efforts to address local housing needs. 


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

Endorse the priority housing strategies proposed by ARCH to increase affordable housing opportunities in East King County.

Motion passed 5-0.



(7)        AB 4347            ARCH Spring Trust Fund Recommendations


ARCH Executive Director Arthur Sullivan explained that Mercer Island allocates $20,000 annually for projects recommended through the ARCH Housing Trust Fund process.  When projects are proposed for use of Mercer Island Trust Fund dollars, those projects come before City Council for review and approval, and the 2008 spring funding recommendation is presented to the Council.  The ARCH Executive Board has recommended that Mercer Island’s 2007 allocation be committed to the Kenmore Village project. 


The Housing Resources Group is proposing construction of 100 units of affordable rental housing and a 6,000 square foot retail condominium as part of the larger Kenmore’s Town Center Development.  The affordable housing will include 12 studios, 59 one-bedroom and 23 two-bedroom units serving low income families earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area medium income.  They also propose receiving an allocation of 17 Section 8 vouchers which will allow the project to serve families at deeper levels of affordability. 


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

Approve the use of $20,000 from the City’s ARCH Housing Trust Fund for the Kenmore Village Project, with conditions as recommended by the ARCH Executive Board, and authorize the City Manager to execute any related agreements and documents.

Motion passed 5-0.



(8)        AB 4350            Emergency Preparedness Report


Police Chief Ed Holmes, Service Commander Leslie Burns and Emergency Preparedness Officer Jennifer Franklin presented information about the goals and work plan for the Emergency Preparedness Officer. 


Commander Burns reported that Officer Franklin has been working on integrating the Mercer Island Business Neighborhood Alliance (MIBNA) into the Emergency Preparedness program, conducting the Sound Shake ‘08 exercise, completing Emergency Operations Center (EOC) improvements, and providing public education.  Her work has also involved meetings with volunteer groups and businesses, updating the Emergency Preparedness brochures and website, improving communications strategies with the Ham radio operators (MIRO), and updating the shelter program. 


Officer Franklin gave the Council a brief overview of her 2008-2009 work plan which includes:

1.       City staff being prepared to activate EOC and shelter facilities.

2.       Residents / businesses being prepared to shelter themselves for 7-10 days.

3.       Volunteers being prepared to assist during serious incidents.

4.       Establishing an effective communication model between City staff and the community.


She will also be focusing her efforts on updating the City’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP), which must be submitted to the State by December of 2008.  She also was integral in the success of two large community events (Summer Celebration and National Night Out) and reached many Mercer Island citizens who expressed a strong interest in the Emergency Preparedness Program. 



(9)        AB 4352            Second Quarter 2008 Financial Status Report


Finance Director Chip Corder presented the City’s Financial Status Report as of June 30, 2008 and a budget amending ordinance which relates to budget adjustments previously approved but not formally adopted (via an ordinance) by the Council. 


Councilmembers asked questions about property value increases, the decline in permitting, police overtime, recruitment and hiring of new police officers, insurance cost increases, soil remediation mitigation reimbursement, LEOFF1 long-term care costs, design being underway on the Emergency Well Project, the Island Crest Way/Merrimount intersection project being on hold.


The Council conducted the first reading of Ordinance No. 08-09 to amend the 2007-2008 Budget and directed staff to remove the $541,000 budget adjustment related to the Island Crest Way/Merrimount Improvement Project and bring the ordinance back at the September 15th Council meeting for a second reading and adoption.



No AB               Tent City Update


City Attorney Katie Knight reported on the Council’s direction to staff to work with Tent City counsel to seek additional assurances of compliance with terms of the Temporary Use Agreement regarding warrant and sex offender checks.  She confirmed that the King County Sherriff’s office reports that Tent City is regularly calling in to run warrant and sex offender check and that the Mercer Island Police Department has responded to calls when they have determined someone trying to check in has an active warrant.  The City and Tent City counsel were not able to come to a further agreement regarding the checks as Tent City is in compliance with the Temporary Use Agreement.


Deputy Mayor Jahncke asked the Council to reconsider having the Police Chief give a Tent City report at each meeting, unless there are unusual issues that arise.


It was the consensus of the Council to have a discussion regarding whether or not to have a Tent City report at each Council Meeting during Tent City’s stay on Mercer Island at the September 15th Council Meeting.


Police Chief Ed Holmes gave a brief update on the calls for service so far.  Since the last report there have been three arrests (two for outstanding warrants and one for domestic violence assault) with seven total arrests to date. He reported that there are nine other reports to date, such as, unwanted subjects trying to check in, graffiti in the Town Center.  The Police Department has completed 135 walkthroughs to date. 





Councilmember Absences:

Mayor Pearman and Councilmember Cero’s absence were excused.

Deputy Mayor Jahncke will be absent September 15th.

Councilmember Litzow will be absent September 15th.


Planning Schedule: 

There were no changes.


Board Appointments:

There were no appointments.


Councilmember Reports:

There were no reports.



Adjournment:           9:35 pm


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