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Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Call To Order

Chairman McDonald called the meeting to order at 7:40 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Marcia Dawson, George Wittman, Norman Sandler, Chairman McDonald, and Vice Chairman Glick were present. Commissioners Carl Bryant, Attila Laszlo, were absent.

Staff Present

Richard Hart, DSG Director; John Scandola, Associate Planner



Regular Business

Action Item #1:
The applicant, TSA Architects, is requesting design review and approval for minor changes to the Montesano Condominiums located at 7500 SE 25th Street (DSR01-034). This project was previously approved at the July 12, 2000 Design Commission meeting.

Richard Hart, DSG Director, summarized the staff report addressing the applicant’s twelve proposed exterior design revisions that were submitted December 12, 2001, and gave recommendations for approval. Steve Thomas of TSA Architects represented the applicant. Mr. Thomas gave a presentation regarding the proposed changes and how the modification of certain colors, materials, and exterior issues will improve the project’s character and provide a better fit into the neighborhood. The applicant submitted drawings of the project and samples of the proposed materials.

Chairman McDonald opened the public hearing; there were no comments so the public hearing was closed.

The Design Commission discussed the proposed modifications and the potential results these changes would have upon the project. They raised a number of issues that need to be examined before these changes could be approved. The issues discussed were:

  1. The scale of the proposed cornice that is to replace the originally approved trelliswork. Original trelliswork may be preferable to proposed cornice.
  2. The purpose of the proposed fence on top of the retaining wall by the upper garage located at the northwest corner of the building.
  3. The unfinished drafting work that resulted in brickwork and colors missing from certain portions of the building.
  4. The proposed changes to the building’s canopy-covered entrance.
  5. The lack of pedestrian-friendly elements around the building’s entrance.
  6. The lack of planting pockets around the driveway.
  7. The need for more information regarding the materials used for the base tile.
  8. The possibility of removing the tile from the third level of the building.
  9. The need to examine color options for the windows.

The Design Commission concluded that seven of the proposed twelve modifications were acceptable while the remaining five changes needed further review and delineation on the plans and elevations. The Staff and Commission agreed to continue Design Review Meeting for February 27, 2002.

Commissioner Sandler moved, seconded by Vice Chairman Glick, to approve requested changes #1, #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, and #10, and to continue design review of the remaining exterior modifications, as presented on the revised site plans dated December 19, 2001, and color elevations and narrative dated December 12, 2001, to the February 27, 2002 Design Commission meeting. Approval of this project is subject to the applicants further redesign, discussion, and clarification of the following five points:

  1. Change approved bright colors on the wall elevations to a more subdued palette of light browns and grays.
  2. Maintain the originally approved concrete finish for the exterior planter wall instead of the proposed keystone masonry.
  3. Change the proposed cornice detail on the third floor to the originally approved trelliswork.
  4. Move the sign from the proposed third floor level to the front planter on the lower driveway.
  5. Maintain the originally approved design of the public entrance canopy and driveway entrance landscaping.

The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.

Action Item #2:
The applicant, VoiceStream Wireless, is requesting design review and approval for the construction and installation of a proposed wireless communication facility (WCF) located at 2250 60th Avenue SE (DSR01-032).

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed location of the two-sector antenna array and associated electronic equipment cabinet. The two antennas are to be flush mounted to the highway side of the south I-90 concrete sound wall, and the equipment cabinet is to be placed beneath the I-90 overpass on the east side of 60th Avenue SE. Staff approved the location of the antennas and equipment cabinet but recommended the continuation of the public meeting to allow VoiceStream to return to the Design Commission with an alternative proposal for screening the equipment cabinet to better blend with the existing concrete finish of the proposed location.

The applicant, Cydly Smith, Langersmith Consulting for VoiceStream, represented the applicant. Ms. Smith gave a presentation regarding the process of selecting the proposed site and how they propose to screen the antennas and associated equipment cabinet. The applicant submitted photographs of the proposed location and simulations of the finished project.

Chairman McDonald opened the public hearing; there were no comments so the public hearing was closed.

The Design Commission discussed the planned locations of the antennas and equipment cabinet. They raised a number of issues regarding the proposed method of screening for the cabinet and the overall condition of the equipment cabinet area, which also includes marginally screened equipment cabinets of two other wireless communication facilities located directly north of the proposed location of the VoiceStream equipment cabinet. The issues discussed were:

  1. The possibility of co-locating the antenna on the existing Nextel cellular pole located to the north of the equipment cabinet area.
  2. The possibility of developing an agreement between the VoiceStream and the two other cellular providers with equipment cabinets on 60th Avenue SE to jointly screen all three cabinets in a consistent manner.
  3. Screening the cabinet with a concrete wall instead of the proposed chain link fence with brown slats to better blend with the concrete background of the freeway underpass location.

The Design Commission concluded the proposed screening did not sufficiently camouflage the equipment cabinet from public views. They also questioned the screening methods of the other two equipment cabinets adjacent to the proposed VoiceStream location. The Commission asked the applicant to consider a concrete and masonry enclosure for their proposed equipment cabinet and return to the Commission on March 13th for a continuation of the Design Review of the VoiceStream Wireless Communication Facility. The Commission also requested a report of the conditions of approval and screening for the other two WCF cabinets adjacent to the VoiceStream cabinet location.


Vice Chairman Glick moved, seconded by Commissioner Dawson, to continue the design review for the proposed VoiceStream Wireless Communication Facility to the March 13th Design Commission meeting. The applicant is to investigate using a concrete and masonry enclosure for the equipment cabinet screening to lessen visual impacts and blend in with the existing concrete finish.

The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.

Other Business

Director’s Comments:
Director Hart discussed the outcome of recent meetings with the Ad Hoc Committee regarding the new Town Center Design Guidelines.

Council Liaison Report:
No comments.

Next Regular Meeting:
February 27, 2002, to continue design approval of the exterior modifications for Montesano Condominiums.

Commissioner Absences: Vice Chairman Glick indicated that he would not be able to attend the February 27th meeting.

11:20 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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