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Design Commission - Minutes     
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chair Richard Erwin called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington. 
Chair Richard Erwin, Commissioners Hui Tian, Suzanne Foster, Lara Sanderson, and Tami Szerlip. Commissioners Anthony Perez and Colin Brandt were absent.
Evan Maxim, Planning Manager; Bio Park, Assistant City Attorney; Nicole Gaudette, Senior Planner; Andrew Leon, Planner; Lauren Anderson, Assistant Planner; were present.
Bio Park, Assistant City Attorney, was introduced to the Design Commission.
Andrew Leon, Planner, was introduced to the Design Commission.
The Commission reviewed the minutes from the January 25, 2017 meeting. The minutes were approved as amended by a vote of 5-0.
Agenda Item #1: Design Review DSR17-005 – Study Session for Bartell Drugs
Nicole Gaudette, Senior Planner, provided a brief staff presentation on the project.  The applicant is seeking an answer to four specific questions to determine feasibility in moving forward.
  1. Mercer Island zoning requires a 60’ maximum frontage for multiple user. We would like to know if Bartell Drugs can take the entire street frontage as a single user.
  2. To break up the street façade, we are proposing to step back the entry vestibule and provide its own fenestration and height modulation to differentiate it from the remaining store façade. Is this acceptable as we have shown?
Questions 1 and 2 were considered together.  Glenn Steiner, Magellan Architects, introduced himself and described how the proposed project is intended to create a look and feel of multiple users along the street frontage.  The proposed use is small scale retail, and single story; the single story is about 3 feet below the street level on 78th Ave SE.  The main entrance is from the north, oriented towards the parking lot. 
The Commission concluded that they do not have discretion to increase the maximum frontage as proposed by the applicant in question 1.  MICC 19.11.020(B) contains the term “shall” language, which prohibits any flexibility by the Commission.
The Commission considered allowing for a separated pharmacy. Joanna Vanthil, real estate manager for Bartell Drugs indicated that a wellness facility, small shop space, or separated pharmacy was not feasible.
Luke Randalls, Civil Engineer, indicated that a challenge with a vertical solution was providing minimum frontage along both streets.
The Commission noted that the street entrance to the facility should be located at the corner. 
  1. For pedestrian access off 78th Ave SE, can we go down stairs and a ramp to get to the main entrance of our retail space?
Joanna Vanthil indicated that a response to question 3 was no longer necessary. The Commission noted that the street entrance to the facility should be located at the corner. 
  1. The code states’ “if public parking is not provided, a minimum of 60% of the ground floor street frontage shall be occupied by the permitted uses: retail, restaurant and/or personal service use.” We are not proposing public parking. Given the grade issues along SE 29th Street, this requirement is difficult to meet. As proposed, there is a 64-foot covered drive-thru. This represents approximately 60% of the frontage after subtracting out driveways and the plaza area. The building represents approximately 45% of the 78th Ave SE frontage, but approximately 64% when the vestibule and trellis structures are added (again after subtracting out driveways). Does this meet the intent of the code?
Nicole Gaudette called the Commission’s attention to MICC 19.11.130(B)(4), which indicates drive-through facilities should not be located along SE 29th Street. 
PLANNED ABSENCES FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: Commissioner Sanderson and Chair Erwin will be absent from the April 26th, 2017 meeting.  Chair Erwin will be absent May 10, 2017.  Susanne Foster will be absent May 24, 2017.
The next scheduled meeting is April 26th, 2017.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 7:56 PM.

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