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Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Call To Order

Chairman Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:35 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

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

Staff Present

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

Minutes

None

Regular Business

Action Item #1:
The applicant, T-Mobile (formerly VoiceStream Wireless), is requesting design review and approval for the installation of a wireless communications facility (WCF) to be placed on a 100’ tall replacement utility pole. This facility is to be located in the ROW of Island Crest Way near SE 58th Street (DSR0009-02/VAR0009-003/SEP0003-003). The associated equipment cabinet will be buried adjacent to the utility pole. The proposal includes a variance request to allow for the installation of antennas that are larger than microcells. This proposal has been continued from the September 25, 2002 Design Commission meeting.

Richard Hart, Development Services Director, summarized the staff report for the proposed WCF. At the previous meeting, the Design Commission asked T-Mobile to return to the Commission with a proposal that addressed the following:

  • A clear evaluation of need for the proposed facility based on geographic areas without service,
  • A map that features all T-Mobile WCFs that serve Mercer Island and their areas of coverage,
  • A geographic explanation of the percentage of calls that are dropped due to the lack of the proposed facility,
  • An evaluation of potential collocation with existing or proposed facilities on Island Crest Way,
  • An assessment of feasibility of locating this facility on the west side of Island Crest Way, and
  • An evaluation of the differences in coverage between an 83’ high tower and a 100’ high tower.

Mr. Hart indicated that the applicant has submitted all of the information requested at the previous meeting and established a clear evaluation of need for this facility at this location and at the proposed height. Therefore, staff recommended approval of both the variance request and design proposal to install three 56” high antennas on a new 100’ tall utility pole and the burial of the equipment cabinet.

Craig Walkenhorst of SecuraSite LLC, 2373 NW 185th Ave., Hillsboro, OR, represented the applicant and presented the WCF proposal. Andrew Nenninger of T-Mobile, 4500 NE Irving, Suite 530, Portland, OR, also represented the applicant. The applicant stated that the facility was needed to fill coverage gaps in T-Mobile service and that it’s in compliance with City code. They also indicated that collocating on existing WCFs to the north and south of the proposed location would not fill these gaps and would provide duplication of service in areas currently covered by other T-Mobile facilities. The 100’ height is needed to cover areas to the east and west of the proposed location.

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

Ira Appleman, 6213 83rd Place SE: Mr. Appleman indicated that the proposal should be rejected since the variance portion of this proposal was not included on the Public Notices for initial public meeting on September 25, 2002.

Jane Clayton, 5720 91st Avenue SE: Ms. Clayton feels that the facility is too bid, too close to the adjacent residences, and there are too many facilities along Island Crest Way.

Jim Olson, 8821 SE 55th Place: Mr. Olson stated that coverage should not be an issue for this review and the focus should be on the aesthetics of the facility.

Irene Fukano, 5639 Avenue SE: Ms. Fukano indicated that the proposed facility would be only 40 feet from her house and that she and her husband would be forced to sell their home.

Gloria Matilla, 5710 91st Avenue SE: Ms. Matilla inquired about when the WCF portion of the City Code was implemented and how did this correspond with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Chairman Glick closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

The Commission still had questions regarding collocation possibilities north and south of the proposed site. The Commission also questioned staff regarding the public noticing procedure for the initial public meeting on September 25, 2002. Staff confirmed that the variance portion of the proposal was omitted from the Public Notices and that the applications would have to be properly renoticed.

The Commission agreed that due to the improper noticing of the September 25th public meeting, the decision regarding the design review and variance should be postponed. Staff shall correctly re-notice the project and the applicant should return to the Commission with additional information explaining T-Mobile’s position regarding collocation possibilities.

Motion:

Vice Chairman Sandler moved, seconded by Commissioner Wittman, to postpone the decision regarding the design review and variance for the T-Mobile wireless communication project (DSR0009-002/VAR0009-003/SEP0009-0003). City Staff shall properly re-notice this project, and the applicant shall return to the Design Commission with additional information explaining T-Mobile’s position regarding collocation possibilities.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-0.

Action Item #2:
The applicant, AT & T Wireless, is requesting design review and approval for the installation of a wireless communications facility to be placed on a 102’ tall replacement utility pole to be located in the ROW of Island Crest Way near SE 46th Street (DSR02-014/SEP02-013). The associated equipment cabinet will be buried adjacent to the utility pole. The existing utility pole at this location currently accommodates a Nextel WCF. The applicant proposes to collocate their facility with the Nextel WCF on the replacement utility pole.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed WCF. Mr. Scandola indicated that the City was pleased that the applicant proposes to bury the equipment cabinet and collocate the proposed facility with an existing WCF. The City recommended approval for the proposed AT & T wireless communications facility.

Lori Chase of Pacific Telecom Services, 425 Pontius Avenue N, Suite 202, Seattle, WA 98109, represented the applicant and presented the WCF proposal. Ms. Chase indicated that the proposal complies with City code, the equipment cabinet will be buried, and the WCF will be collocated with an existing facility.

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

Yvon Anderson, 7633 Island Crest Way: Ms. Anderson complained about the noise generated by the existing Nextel WCF and was concerned about increasing the noise level by adding another facility.

Matt Gordon, 4646 88th Avenue SE: Mr. Gordon stated that he would like to see a comprehensive planning process for placing these facilities. He believes that the current approach is too piecemeal.

Michael Finn, 4024 85th Avenue SE: He indicated that a larger pole would be an eyesore. He feels that this facility should be placed up the hill from the proposed location.

Chairman Glick closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

The Commission had questions regarding the type of landscaping and plants proposed for screening the access hatch. They also commended the applicant for collocating this facility with an existing WCF. They expressed their approval for the proposal but wanted to add a condition stating that the proposed landscaping should be approved by the City Arborist.

Motion:

Commissioner Caditz moved, seconded by Commissioner Wittman, to approve the design review for the installation of the AT & T Wireless, wireless communications facility to be placed on a 102’ tall replacement utility pole with a buried equipment cabinet (DSR02-014/SEP02-013). This approval is based on the design review criteria, the staff report, and open record testimony of the October 9, 2002 Design Commission meeting. This approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. All mitigation measures/conditions contained in the revised SEPA MDNS issued on September 9, 2002 shall be followed.
  2. The applicant shall execute a right-of-way lease agreement with the City, approved by the City Attorney.
  3. The applicant shall provide landscaping for the site in accordance with submitted plans and approved by the City Arborist.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-0.

Other Business

Director’s Comments:
Director Hart indicated that City Staff would properly re-notice the T-Mobile WCF project.

Council Liaison Report:
Councilmember Cairns discussed the possibility of amending the City Code regarding WCFs. He did not go into detail about specifics but he stated the code could only be slightly modified and that the City Council has other issues that take precedent over this topic.

Next Regular Meeting:
There are three agenda items scheduled for the next meeting on October 23, 2002.

Commissioner Absences:
All Commissioners indicated they could make the next meeting.

Adjournment:
10:15 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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