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City Council - Minutes     
Monday, November 02, 2009

Call To Order:


Mayor Jim Pearman called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.



Roll Call:


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



study session:


(1)        AB 4479            MI-TV Broadcast Policies


Communications Coordinator Joy Johnston provided the Council with an overview of current MI-TV guidelines and programming within the context of the City’s communication strategy.  She explained the benefits of government communication and broadcasting to residents via the government cable channel and explained ways Mercer Island is already reaching out to our citizens (mailings, newsletters, news media, website, public meetings, etc.).  She spoke about new opportunities such as social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), two-way communications, text messages, MI-TV Channel 21 and YouTube (online video) and how they could provide additional opportunities to reach the community. 


Council asked staff to come back with further information (access, costs, staff time and other resources, etc.) about airing public educational items on MI-TV Channel 21.


The Study Session adjourned at 6:35 pm. 





The City Council, City Attorney Katie Knight and City Manager Rich Conrad convened to Executive Session at 6:35 pm to discuss potential litigation pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(i) for approximately 20 minutes.


The Executive Session was adjourned at 6:50 p.m. and the Regular Meeting was reconvened at 7:00 p.m.



City Attorney Katie Knight explained special circumstances regarding the Public Hearing for the East Cove Long Plat (AB 4472) and appearances.  The Open Record Hearing was held at the Planning Commission Meeting.  She advised Council that they would hear the staff report, and then be able to ask questions and deliberate. 





Carvel Zwingle, 6250 East Mercer Way, owns one of three properties on the East Cove site.  He shared that property owners in the area believe several trees on the larger property are dangerous and have already suffered damage from broken limbs.  He believes, the trees will become a greater problem when the property is developed. 


Stephanie Mopelli, Kirkland resident, shared a 5 year progress report on Leadership Eastside with the Council.


Edee Phillips, Mercer Island resident, Manager of the Mercer Island Farmers Market, provided Council with a brief wrap-up of 2009 season.  She noted that the market ran for an additional five weeks this year and vendor sales were $360,000 – about $24,000/day.  The market averaged about 35 vendors with average sales of $750/day.  She thanked the City Council for their continued support and especially thanked employees Joyce Trantina and Aaron Heyer for their support.


Joseph Yousefian, Mercer Island resident, lives on north side of the East Cove property.  He does not believe the property owners will suffer damage because of trees.  He has been advised that this is a civil issue and wants to follow the normal process regarding any mitigation.  He believes that there has already been damage because of trees and the contractor has not done anything to remedy the situation.


Dan Grove, 5605 84th Avenue SE, expressed concern about how difficult it is for kids to cross Island Crest Way.  He urged the Council to implement the road diet to ensure pedestrian safety.


Sam Sullivan, 4441 86th Avenue SE, lives in the middle of what is going on at Island Crest Way.  As a resident, he much prefers the road diet.  He believes that three lanes will address the issue and slow down traffic as safety should be first.  He urged the Council to please do the 3 lane configuration. 


Carol Gullstad, 8421 SE 47th Street, drives 4 children every day and crosses Island Crest Way in many different ways.  When she walks her dog, cars drive thru crosswalk while people are still in it.  She believes that SE 47th Street and Island Crest Way is now the highest accident intersection along that corridor.  She asked the Council to please do the reconfiguration on Island Crest Way.


Conner Gullstad, 8421 SE 47th Street, crosses Island Crest Way for various reasons, to/from school/library/friends houses.  He uses the “darting deer” process (watches cars, close margins, etc.) or “red light/green light” – stops in the middle to let cars go by, or “charging tree” – snap decision, can I make it or should I head back?  He believes that a 3 lane corridor would be safer for the kids and adults crossing Island Crest Way.


Haley Gullstad, 8421 SE 47th Street, got her license a little less than a year ago and crosses Island Crest Way driving to friend’s house, school, etc.  She spoke about waiting at SE 47th Street for a gap, but no one follows the speed limit and she left turn onto a “highway” with no light.  She believes that driving in downtown Seattle is less challenging.  She asked that the Council please consider the road diet for the safety of drivers and to decrease the accident rate.


Sarah Shannon, 4648 86th Avenue SE, her children’s grandparents live on the other side of Island Crest Way and they are not allowed to cross the street by themselves to visit the library, Ellis Pond, her grandparents.  She stated that getting to the High School on 86th Avenue SE is difficult, and that she either crosses at SE 47th Street or SE 46th Street, but both are frustrating.  She stated that she likes to bike/walk to work, but it’s too scary on Island Crest Way.


Tana Senn, 8426 SE 47th Street, has children and uses the library often, but it’s tough to cross ICW because of having to stop and look at each lane of traffic.  She encouraged the Council to implement the 3-lane road diet.


Nick Morelli, 8415 SE 47th Street, asked the Council to please change the configuration of Island Crest Way to make the street safer.


Andy McAnders, 7575 NE 59th Street, Seattle, is the representative for the East Cove Long Plat applicant and was in attendance to answer any questions.  He stated that the applicant is working with a certified arborist and they plan to have her continue to monitor the site as the process continues.  He stated that the applicant does not want to do anything that would jeopardize forward movement of the project. 


Diane Taylor, 8007 SE 60th Street, has students going to the high school and instead of taking Merrimount, they take SE 46th Street from West Mercer Way, up to Island Crest Way, with a string of cars trying to make right hand turn.  She is most worried about this intersection with teenage drivers as cars line up at 7:50 am and they worry about worrying about being late to school or work and go across in very risky ways. She is n favor of the road diet. 


Mary Stoll, 4355 Island Crest Way, agrees with all the comments regarding Island Crest Way.  She is concerned that we not wait until a tragedy to address this problem.  She won’t let her kids cross the street because it’s too dangerous. 



Consent Calendar:


(2)        Payables:   $926,726.52                        Payroll:    $631,194.30


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

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 6-0.


Regular Business:


(3)        AB 4472            Public Hearing and Preliminary Approval of the East Cove Long Plat


The Mayor opened the public hearing at 7:32 pm.


Principal Planner George Steirer presented the preliminary approval information for the East Cove Long Plat which proposes to create five residential building lots from one existing parcel, which is located at 6410 East Mercer Way and currently contains one existing single-family residence, detached garage, and pier.  He explained that the City Council may adopt, modify or reject the Planning Commission’s recommendation and that after preliminary plat approval, the applicant has five years to submit for final plat approval if it meets the requirements of both the preliminary plat approval and all applicable regulations in place at the time of preliminary plat approval


Councilmember Cero disclosed that he had a conversation with neighbor of the East Cove Long Plat regarding the trees, but that he does not believe it is a conflict of interest for him to participate in discussion and decision. No one made any objection to Councilmember Cero participating.


Deputy Mayor Jahncke disclosed that his is the liaison to Planning Commission and that he attended the Planning Commission Open Record Hearing on the East Cove Long Plat, but he sat in the audience, and did not participate.  The City Attorney determined there was no conflict of interest in him participating in discussion and decision.  


Discussion followed regarding the configuration of the private road and the concerns expressed regarding trees on the site.  The tree issue is a civil matter between neighbors and the Planning Commission has asked the applicant to continue to confer with neighbors regarding removal of hazardous trees.


DSG Arborist Kathy Parker explained that on construction projects, applications for tree permits are evaluated based on geological hazards, proximity to construction, etc. and that the current codes requires reasonable efforts to save trees whenever possible, and staff work closely with owners and contractors to that end.


The Mayor closed the public hearing at 7:56 pm.


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

Grant preliminary approval of the East Cove Long Plat proposal and the recommended conditions of approval by the Planning Commission. In addition, authorize the Mayor to sign the Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law (as presented in Exhibit 3 of AB 4472) on behalf of the City Council.

Motion passed 6-0.



 (4)       AB 4477            NPDES Phase II Permit Compliance (3rd Reading & Adoption)


City Engineer Patrick Yamashita presented Ordinance No. 09C-09 Option A for a third reading and adoption of amendments to local stormwater regulations to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Stormwater Permit issued to Mercer Island from the Washington State Department of Ecology.


It was moved by Deputy Mayor Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Bassett to:

Conduct third reading and adopt Ordinance No. 09C-09 Option A attached as Exhibit 1, amending Mercer Island City Code Section 15.09 Stormwater Management Program.

Motion passed 6-0.

(5)        AB 4476            Fire Station 92 Building Assessment Report


Fire Chief Chris Tubbs and Bryan Harris from TCA Architecture · Planning, presented a building assessment report and timeline for Fire Station 92 which detailed the assessment and analysis of the current station site relative to current zoning and the conditions of the existing building.  


Discussion followed regarding the purpose of the station, potential increase in size, and associated costs.  City Manager Conrad reminded Council that this item was originally planned for the Council’s 2010 calendar, but was moved forward at their request, and that no conclusions or assumptions about size or building cost have been made. 


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

Accept the findings and recommendations in this report, approve the preliminary project timeline and direct staff to return with a financing plan for 2010 design phases.


It was moved by Councilmember Cero; seconded by Deputy Mayor Jahncke to:

Amend the main motion to read:

Accept the findings and recommendations in this report, a Approve the preliminary project timeline and direct staff to return with a financing plan for 2010 building program phase.

Motion passed 5-1 (Councilmember Litzow dissented).


Main motion passed 6-0.


It was moved by Deputy Mayor Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Cero to:

Planning for a new south-end fire station be at the existing site.

Motion passed 6-0.



(6)        AB 4478            Sewer Lake Line Construction Update 


Deputy City Manager James Mason and Assistant City Engineer Anne Tonella-Howe provided an update on the Sewer Lake Line Project.  They presented photos of dredging and trenching activities in Lake Washington as well as construction of a new Pump Station 4.  Assistant City Engineer Tonella-Howe answered questions regarding the Pump Station No. 4 being built under I-90, when it will be completed and when the existing Pump Station No. 4 will be de-commissioned and removed.   She explained that the control building is almost completed including a back-up generator.  And as of October 1st, the Sewer Lake Line Project was 3 months ahead of schedule, and on budget.  She also explained that the permit does not allow work in Lake Washington during the winter months, so the contractor will be focusing on work under the I-90 bridge. The remainder of the project will resume in July of 2010 with completion scheduled for October 2010.



(7)        AB 4480            Funding Fire Protection Costs in Water Utility (1st Reading)


Finance Director Chip Corder explained that a water utility tax needs to be implemented in order to fund about $70,000 in fire hydrant and suppression related costs that have been funded by water utility rates for decades.  This funding change is a direct result of a recent State Supreme Court ruling (Lane vs. City of Seattle) which determined that fire hydrant and suppression related costs is a general government responsibility.  This ruling impacts all municipal water utilities in the state.  As a result, all such costs need to be funded by taxpayers in the General Fund rather than by ratepayers (via water utility rates) in the Water Utility Fund.  In addition, a Utility Rate resolution will also be presented for Council approval at the November 16 meeting. 


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

Conduct first reading of proposed Ordinance No. 09C-13 and set it to November 16, 2009 for second reading and adoption.

Motion passed 6-0.






Councilmember Absences: 

Councilmember Grady’s absence was excused.


Planning Schedule:

The Sustainability Sub-Committee report will be moved to a January meeting.

Re-confirmation of Judge Stewart will be added to the December 7th meeting.

Staff will bring back the formal recommendations from the Island Crest Way Citizens Panel and will present all the options that were presented before, hear public testimony and Council will make a decision at the December 7th meeting.

The December 7th Council meeting will start 6:00 pm. All other agenda items besides the Island Crest Way Corridor Reconfiguration agenda item will be handled from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  At 7:00 pm, Appearances will continue with comments on the Island Crest Way Corridor Reconfiguration agenda item followed by staff presentation and Council discussion and debate.


Board Appointments:

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

Appoint Donald McLaughlin to Position No. 3 (Expiring May 31, 2012) on the Design Commission. And Craig Olson to Position No. 3 (Expiring May 31, 2012) on the Planning Commission.

Motion passed 6-0.


Councilmember Reports:

Councilmember Bassett spoke about the Green Ribbon Commission meeting coming up and encouraged everyone to attend.

Councilmember Grausz spoke about the Parks and Recreation Sub-Committee regarding the South Mercer Playfields and the upcoming bid award for the project.

Deputy Mayor Jahncke spoke about the Planning Commission working on the Shoreline Master Plan, the need to get back to the Bike/Pedestrian plan and the Temporary Encampment Ordinance. 



Adjournment:          9:58 pm


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