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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Call To Order

Chairman Glick called the special Design Commission meeting to order at 6:38 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Bryan Caditz, Marcia Dawson, Chairman Fred Glick, Vice Chairman Norman Sandler, and George Wittman were present. Carl Bryant arrived at 6:50 and Julie Parsons was absent. Bryan Caditz left at 7:15 PM and returned at 8:00 PM.

Staff Present

Richard Hart, Development Services Director; John Scandola, Associate Planner

Minutes

Vice Chairman Sandler moved, Commissioner Dawson seconded, to approve the minutes for the meetings of November 26, 2002 and December 11, 2002. The minutes were approved by a vote of 5-0.

Regular Business

Study Session:
The applicant, HMI Real Estate, requested an additional study session for a proposed 5-story mixed-use project that features 28 condominium units, 6,100 square feet of retail space, 3,620 square feet of office space, and two levels of below grade parking with approximately 85 stalls. Four Seasons Cleaners currently occupies this .367 acre site, which is located on the corner of 78th Avenue SE and SE 27th Street in the Town Center (TC) Zone.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed mixed-use development. Mr. Scandola indicated that this proposal is an improvement over the version that was presented in the first study session on November 13, 2002. The improvements include shifting the parking entrance from 78th Avenue SE to SE 27th Street, adding modulation and articulation to the southwest and northwest corners, and adding a new courtyard to the northeast corner of the property.

Commissioner Bryant arrived at 6:50 PM.

Steve Thomas and Rick Maxon, TSA Architects, 50 116th Ave. SE, Suite 201, Bellevue, WA 98004, represented the applicant and presented the proposal. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Maxon discussed the changes from the previous proposal.

Chairman Glick opened the public testimony portion of the meeting, and there were comments from the following citizen:

Tom Bliseth, 1120 51st Street NE, Tacoma, WA: Mr. Bliseth questioned how much more wall modulation could be expected and feasibly implemented on this project.

Commissioner Caditz left at 7:15 PM.

The Commission asked the applicant questions regarding the following issues:

  • The amount of proposed landscaping designated for private terraces,
  • If a scaled model will be submitted for this project,
  • The lack of sitting areas along SE 27th Street and 78th Avenue SE,
  • The proposed type and placement of public art,
  • The size of the three vertical bay windows on the top floor of the north side of the building,
  • The transition of the upper two floors to the middle floor on the west side of the building.
In accordance with MICC Section 19.11.130(1)(B)(2)(b), the Design Commission offered the following suggestions for this proposal:
  • The window bays of the ground floor retail spaces along SE 27th Street and 78th Avenue SE should be recessed to allow for pedestrian benches.
  • A detailed landscaping plan including street trees, rooftop trees, and deck gardens should be submitted for Preliminary Design Review.
  • The landscape plantings along the east wall adjacent to the Tully’s site should be accessible from the HMI site.
  • The size of the three vertical bay windows on the top floor of the north side of the building should be reduced.
  • The small roof that covers the third story deck along the west façade should be removed, and the slanted bay windows should continue to the bottom of this floor to improve the transition between the second and third floors.
  • A project model, built to 1-12 scale, should be submitted to the City during the design process.
  • A detailed plan regarding the type and location of any public art should be submitted.
  • More detail regarding the decorative sidewalk elements on the northwest and southwest corners should be provided.

Commissioner Caditz returned at 8:00 PM.

Action Item #1:
The applicant, Starbucks Coffee, is requesting Preliminary Design Approval for the proposed 1-story, retail coffee shop and drive-through service window at 7620 SE 27th Street. This site in the Town Center Zone (TC) is currently occupied by Simba’s Auto Service, which will be demolished for the new project.

Richard Hart, Development Services Director, summarized the staff report for the proposal and explained that the facility will have indoor customer seating, outdoor seating, a 14-car queue drive-through window, and 18 parking spaces (5 located off-site). Director Hart discussed some of the issues raised at the December 11, 2002 study session for this proposal and how these concerns were addressed. Staff recommended preliminary approval of this project.

Stephen Speidel, RW Thorpe and Associates, 705 2nd Avenue, Suite 710, Seattle, WA, and Chris Quandt, Mulvanny G2 Architecture, 1110 112th Ave., Bellevue, WA represented the applicant.

The Design Commission asked the applicant questions regarding the following issues:

  • The extent of grading along the east property line.
  • How the proposed design meets the Mercer Island Town Center design standards for wall modulation, visual interest, and materials/color.
  • The possibility of modifying the placement of the building, parking, and drive-through window.

Chairman Glick opened the public testimony portion of the meeting, and there were comments from the following citizens:

John Houlihan from Short, Cressman, and Burgess, 999 3rd Ave., Seattle, WA: Mr. Houlihan presented a letter to the Design Commission documenting the concerns of his client, Dollar Development, regarding the proposed project. These issues relate to the potential impacts this project could have on the recently approved Gateway Commons project, adjacent to this proposed location. Some of these issues include air quality, noise, traffic, and parking.

Robert Thorpe, RW Thorpe and Associates, 705 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA: Mr. Thorpe expressed his support of the project and indicated that some of the concerns of the previous speaker are not design issues and should not be considered in the design review decision. These issues should be addressed as part of the staff SEPA review function.

Franco Mola, 2108 92nd St., Clyde Hill: Mr. Mola expressed concern for the potential traffic to be generated by this project. He also indicated that the site plan is flawed, and he feels that the building does not fit the site.

Chairman Glick closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

Staff indicated that the environmental concerns, such as air quality, noise, traffic, and parking, are addressed in the SEPA decision by staff and are not a function of the design review process. The Design Commission is to review the building design according to Chapter 19.11 Town Center Development and Design Standards.

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • Problems with the building, landscaping, and parking and their impact on surrounding uses.
  • The impact of a drive-through use in a pedestrian, urban setting.
  • The specific design of the building and how it meets in the Town Center Design Standards.
  • The need for larger trees along the east property line to separate vehicular and pedestrian uses.
MOTION:
Commissioner Caditz moved, seconded by Commissioner Bryant, to continue the Preliminary Design Review for the Starbucks Coffee shop proposal, located at 7620 SE 27th Street (DSR02-041 & SEP02-040) to the February 26, 2003 Design Commission meeting. The Commission stated that the applicant should return with alternative design solutions and modifications that more closely relate to the Town Center Design Standards. These issues are as follows:
  1. Consider re-positioning the building in order to place the drive-through queue further away from the Gateway Commons residential units to the north. The building location must be oriented with the parking behind the building as stated in MICC Chapter 19.11.010(2)(A)(5).
  2. Modify the building design to incorporate a more distinctive and modulated building shape, less glazing, more overhangs, awnings and weather protection, and a more textured and modulated street façade. These elements should adhere to the criteria listed in 19.11.010(2)(D), 19.11.060(1), and 19.11.060(2)(A). The building design should consider the climate and environment of our local area.
  3. Ensure that the patterned sidewalk that crosses the curb cut onto SE 27th Street is level and pedestrian friendly.
  4. Install larger trees along the eastern property line to increase the buffer for the pedestrian paseo on the adjacent property in accordance with 19.11.100.
  5. Consider increasing the level of screening or buffers between the drive-through queue and the residential units to the north.
The motion passed 5-1.

Action Item #2:
The applicant, AT & T Wireless, is requesting design review and approval for a wireless communications facility (WCF) to be installed on the freeway side of the I-90 retaining wall in the vicinity of 60th Avenue SE and SE 24th Street (DSR02-037 & SEP02-031). The associated equipment cabinet will be placed on the east side of 60th Avenue SE where it runs under the I-90 overpass.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed WCF. Mr. Scandola indicated that the proposed antenna will not be visible to the surrounding residences and pedestrians, and the screening of the equipment cabinet will match the I-90 foundation and the screening of the adjacent VoiceStream equipment cabinet. The City recommended approval for the proposed AT & T WCF facility.

Lori Chase of Pacific Telecom Services, 425 Pontius Avenue N, Suite 202, Seattle, WA, represented the applicant.

The Design Commission had questions regarding the screening detail for the equipment cabinet gate.

Chairman Glick opened the public testimony portion of the meeting, and there were no comments. The public testimony portion was closed.

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • GPS and LMU wiring not being enclosed in the antenna conduit.
  • The necessary level of signage on the exterior of the equipment cabinet.
  • The design of the base of the AT & T equipment cabinet matching the base of the adjacent VoiceStream equipment cabinet.
  • The possibility of lowering the foundation so the top of the cabinet will match the top of the screening.

The Design Commission expressed their general approval of the proposal with some small design modifications.

MOTION:
Commissioner Caditz moved, seconded by Commissioner Dawson, to approve the design review for the installation of the AT & T Wireless WCF to be placed on the freeway side of the I-90 retaining wall with the equipment cabinet located on 60th Avenue SE, under the I-90 overpass. This approval is based on the design review criteria in Section 19.06.040, the staff report, and the open record testimony of the January 22, 2003 Design Commission meeting. This approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. All mitigation measures/conditions contained in the revised SEPA MDNS issued on January 16, 2003 shall be followed.
  2. The screening of the equipment cabinet gate shall match the screening of the rest of the equipment cabinet.
  3. The only signs permitted on this facility will be signs required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
  4. The applicant shall lower the equipment cabinet pad so the top of the equipment cabinet is level with the top of the screening. If lowering the equipment cabinet pad is not permitted by WSDOT, then a letter from WSDOT stating this determination shall be submitted to the City, thus waiving the requirement.
  5. The GPS and LMU wiring shall be enclosed in a conduit painted the same color as the I-90 retaining wall.
  6. All details of the equipment cabinet fence and screening shall match the cabinet fence and screening details of the adjacent VoiceStream (T-Mobile) WCF facility.

The motion passed 6-0.

Other Business

Director’s Comments: None.

Council Liaison Report: None.

Next Regular Meeting: The next meeting is scheduled for February 12, 2003 at 7:30 PM.

Commissioner Absences: All Commissioners indicated they would be able to attend.

Adjournment: 11:00 PM

[Important Note: The proceedings of the Design Commission meeting were recorded on tape and are on file with the Development Services Group. The complete agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also available from the Development Services Group.]

 

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