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Design Commission - Minutes     
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chair Jon Friedman called the special meeting to order at 6:36 PM in the Council Chambers at 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.
Planning Commission - Chair Jon Friedman, Vice Chair Richard Weinman, Commissioners Bryan Cairns, Tiffin Goodman, Jennifer Mechem, Craig Olson, and Suzanne Skone were present.
Design Commission - Chair Richard Erwin, Vice Chair Colin Brandt, Commissioners Susanne Foster, Lara Sanderson, Tami Szerlip were present. Commissioners Daniel Hubbell and Hui Tian were absent.
Staff was represented by Kirsten Taylor, Assistant City Manager, Scott Greenberg, Development Services Group Director, Alison Van Gorp, Administrative Services Manager and Ombudsman, Shana Restall, Principal Planner, Travis Saunders, Senior Planner and Karen Reed of Karen Reed Consulting.
Vice Chair Weinman moved to approve the minutes from the October 7, 2015 Joint Commission meeting. Chair Erwin seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved (12-0) as written. 
Planning Commission Chair Jon Friedman asked for comments from the public. The following members of the public spoke:
  • Bob Knox from Imagine Housing of 10604 NE 38th Place, Suite 215, Kirkland, WA 98033
  • Bruce Lorig of 12 Evergreen Lane, Mercer Island, WA 98040
  • Geoff Spelman of 4250 90th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Karen Reed presented the proposed ground rules and joint operating rules.
Chair Erwin moved to approve the proposed ground rules and operating rules as written. Commissioner Mechem seconded the motion. The Joint Commission deliberated the proposal. The motion adopting the ground rules and operating rules as written was approved unanimously (12-0).
Scott Greenberg discussed the information requests tracking sheet. No action is required at present regarding the tracking sheet.
Karen Reed presented the proposed Joint Commission Work Plan including the scope and key components. The Commission asked questions of staff and Ms. Reed. The Commission asked questions and commented on the following:
  • How to consider future projects with the potential to impact the entire Town Center such as light rail
  • The role of the interim report as the foundation of the Commission’s work
  • A desire to convey to the public how future decisions are made including the variables involved and the criteria used
  • Using SEPA review to identify impacts potentially through a series of issue papers and supporting materials
  • Look to other cities to get ideas of how downtown visions were achieved particularly in the areas of incentives, retail frontages, and use
  • The number of opportunities planned for public comments and whether it is sufficient
  • Communicating that the public may submit written comments to the Commission at any time
  • An Island-wide data driven poll to gauge public sentiment
Commissioner Cairns left at 8:32 PM.
Chair Erwin moved to put forth the proposed Work Plan to City Council as written. Vice Chair Weinman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously (11-0).
A presentation regarding the public communications piece was given by Alison Van Gorp and Scott Greenberg. Staff recommended that graphics be commissioned that can be used in both the communications piece and the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Greenberg and Ms. Van Gorp also responded to questions from the Joint Commission. The Commission discussed the public communications piece.
Commissioner Mechem left at 8:59 PM.
Several issues were brought up by the Commission regarding the communications piece including:
  • More mailings may be needed
  • The communications piece should be more comprehensive and get the general public “up to speed”
  • The vision statement may change after the public hearing in January due to the incorporation of public comments
  • If the vision statement changes substantially, more time may be needed for Joint Commission’s portion of the process
Commissioner Skone moved to recommend to City Council the staff recommendation regarding the budget for public communication. Commissioner Foster seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously (10-0).
A communications subcommittee was formed. The subcommittee includes Commissioner Sanderson, Commissioner Hubbell, and Commissioner Foster.
The next special Joint Commission meeting is scheduled for November 21, 2015.
Chair Friedman adjourned the Joint Commission meeting at 9:19 PM.

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