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Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Call To Order

Chairman Glick called the meeting to order at 6:15 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Carl Bryant, Bryan Caditz, Marcia Dawson, Chairman Fred Glick, Attila Laszlo, Vice Chairman Norman Sandler, and George Wittman were present.

Staff Present

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


Commissioner Bryant moved, Commissioner Dawson seconded, to approve the minutes for the regular meeting of July 24, 2002. The minutes were approved by a vote of 7-0.

Regular Business

Action Item #1:
The applicant, Dollar Development, James Cassan owner, is requesting preliminary design review and approval for Gateway Commons. This project is a five story mixed-use development of 247 residential units, 15,000 sq. ft. of retail, office and service uses, and 517 underground and ground floor covered parking spaces. This project is located at 7650 SE 27th Street in the Town Center (TC) Zone (DSR02-019 & SEP02-018). The preliminary design review has been continued from the July 24, 2002 Design Commission meeting.

Richard Hart, Development Services Director, summarized the staff report and provided an overview of the Design Commission’s recommendations from the previous meeting and the applicant’s response. Staff recommended preliminary design approval of the project subject to several conditions as outlined in the staff report.

Franco Mola, Project Manager, and Chek Tang, architect from McLarand, Vasquez, Emsiek Architects outlined the design changes from the previous submittal.

The Design Commission asked the project architects numerous questions regarding the following elements of the project design:

  • Square footage of the live/work units.
  • The delineation between pedestrian and vehicular traffic through the mid-block paseo.
  • The width of the tree canopies along SE 27th Street.
  • Detail of the proposed landscape grilles.
  • Location of potential signage on awnings along SE 27th Street.
  • Pedestrian access to 2nd floor corner element at the intersection of SE 27th Street and 77th Avenue SE.

The architect clarified and explained all the above questions.

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

Robert Thorpe, 5800 West Mercer Way: Mr. Thorpe expressed his support for the proposed project. He mentioned that it is an exciting project for the City and will help provide a needed sense of space and identity for the Town Center.

Chairman Glick closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

The Commission discussed various design elements of the project focusing on the following elements:

  • Concern about the rotunda element on the northeast corner of the project. Some commissioners felt that it protrudes too much from the rest of the building and appears as an appendage.
  • The bridge over the mid-block paseo needs some sort of roof element.
  • The massiveness of the southeast corner of the project. Its scale makes it look too monumental. The corner needs some softening and more modulation or setback on the upper levels. The top portion of this corner could be pulled back and this layering should continue along SE 27th Street.
  • The verticality of the south façade needs to be addressed.
  • The shed roof elements need to be incorporated along SE 27th Street and 77th Avenue SE.
  • The safety of pedestrians using the mid-block paseo needs to be considered with surface treatment or bollards.
  • The need for greater landscape detail at final approval.
  • The need for an overall revised site plan that documents all of the changes in facades, roof lines, public spaces, streetscapes, and all of the landscape features.

Despite a number of elements that some of the Commissioners feel must be addressed at final approval, the Commission was comfortable with granting Preliminary Design Approval.


Commissioner Wittman moved, seconded by Commissioner Dawson, to recommend Preliminary Design Approval for the construction of Gateway Commons (DSR02-019), as presented in the site plans and elevations, dated May 9, 2002 and August 30, 2002, and supplementary materials. This decision incorporates the findings of the Staff Report and is in accordance with Title 19, Mercer Island Town Center District Development and Design Requirements, Division II, and Section 19.15.040(H) of the Mercer Island City Code. This approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Submission of, as part of the Final Design Approval, a narrative description and graphics for a unified sign, canopy, and railing program to be used by the management company for Gateway Commons commercial tenants and residents.
  2. Submission of at least two building section drawings for review indicating the relationship of all buildings to the interior courtyards, public spaces, sidewalks, and adjacent buildings.
  3. Adherence to all conditions listed on the Amended MDNS issued July 9, 2002.
  4. Complete revisions and modifications to the scaled model after final design review and provide the model to the City for documentation of project development prior to the issuance of the building permit.
  5. Integration of banding for the rotunda element at the NE corner with the floor lines and vertical elements of the adjacent building planes.
  6. Expand on the shed roof concept, improve integration of these roof elements into both the tower elements and the penthouses along 77th Avenue SE and SE 27th Street, and prepare a final roofscape plan for review as part of the final design.
  7. Incorporate a partial roof or trellis with landscaping over the “paseo” bridge.
  8. Re-examine the roof elements over the public plaza level penthouses, reduce the massing of the southeast corner element, incorporate a “softer” design concept possibly by using more glass, removing the solid horizontal banding, and incorporating an open railing for the second story residential patios.
  9. Prepare and submit for review and approval a detailed planting and landscaping plan for all public and private spaces.
  10. Prepare and submit for review and approval a detailed plan for the landscaping grilles and planter areas on the north and southwest sides of the site.
  11. Redesign the “paseo” (mid-block connection) to separate the pedestrians from vehicles by use of bollards or other methods.
  12. Prepare a detailed site furniture and pedestrian amenity plan that has consistency in design, material, and color.

The motion passed by a vote of 6-1.

Other Business

Director’s Comments:
No comments

Council Liaison Report:
Councilmember Cairns was not present.

Next Regular Meeting:
There are three agenda items scheduled for the next meeting of September 25, 2002.

Commissioner Absences:
Commissioner Bryant and Chairman Glick indicated that they would be unable to attend the meeting on September 25, 2002.

Adjournment: 9:05 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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