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Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Call To Order

Vice Chairman Sandler called the meeting to order at 6:05 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Carl Bryant, Marcia Dawson, Julie Parsons, Vice Chairman Norman Sandler, and George Wittman were present. Bryan Caditz was present at 6:30 PM. Chairman Fred Glick was present at 6:55 PM.

Staff Present

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

Minutes

None

Regular Business

Action Item #1:
The applicant, Dollar Development, James Cassan owner, is requesting final 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). This final design review was continued from the October 23, 2002 Design Commission meeting.

Richard Hart, Development Services Director, summarized the staff report for the proposed mixed-use project. Mr. Hart indicated that the applicant has submitted a complete set of documents that incorporates the final version of the project’s site plans, elevations, roof plans, landscape plans, colors and materials, and a conceptual lighting and signage plan. Therefore, staff recommended final design approval for the Gateway Commons mixed-use project subject to conditions.

Franco Mola, 2737 78th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA, Chek Tang, McLarand, Vasquez, Emsiek, 1900 Main St., 8th Floor, Irvine, CA 92614, and Cliff Lowe, CLA Associates, 1175 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103, represented the applicant. Mr. Tang went through the final submittal and all 12 conditions from the preliminary design approval. Mr. Lowe presented a detailed description of the final landscape plan.

The Design Commission asked questions regarding the following issues:

  • The landscape trellises on the north side of the building do not appear to extend to finished grade,
  • The composition of the handrails of the exterior balconies,
  • Clarification of the color scheme,
  • The detail of the trellis located over the bridge that crosses the mid-block paseo,
  • Clarification of the landscaping on the west side of the paseo adjacent to the Simba’s site.

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

Dee Webster, 8327 SE 30th Place: Ms. Webster stated that she feels that the project is well done and that it is a privilege to have such a project in the Town Center.

Steve Speidel, 705 2nd Avenue, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98104: Mr. Speidel asked for clarification of the change in grade between the mid-block paseo and the flat grade of the existing asphalt of the adjacent Simba’s site. He also inquired about the proposed landscaping in the same area.

Vice Chairman Sandler closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

The Commission discussed whether Staff, as recommended in the Staff Report, or the Design Commission should review the final signage plan. The Commission determined that the Design Commission should approve the final signage plan, and that this should be a condition of final design approval.

Motion:

Commissioner Wittman moved, seconded by Commissioner Caditz, to recommend final design approval for the construction of Gateway Commons (DSR02-019) as presented in the final design package, date stamped November 6, 2002. This approval also incorporates the Staff Reports, Design Commission discussion, and testimony of the July 24, 2002, September 10, 2002, October 9, 2002, and the November 13, 2002 Design Commission meetings. This decision 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 a landscape security agreement in the amount approved by the Development Services Department for the duration of two years from the date of final certificate of occupancy inspection.
  2. Compliance with the conditions listed on the Amended MDNS issued on July 9, 2002.
  3. Development and building plans shall comply with original site plans, elevations, sections, landscaping, and narrative submitted May 9, 2002, and revisions submitted August 30, 2002, October 18, 2002, and November 6, 2002.
  4. Submission of a final signage plan, to be approved by the Design Commission, prior to the issuance of the building permit.
  5. Final approval with conditions is granted for two years, or until November 13, 2004, with the availability of a one-year extension by the City upon submission by the applicant of reasonable justification for such extension and approval by the City.
  6. Providing the City with the updated, scaled model, complete with revisions and modifications, prior to the issuance of the building permit.
  7. Handrails along exterior porches shall be composed of either painted tube steel or painted plate steel.
  8. The trellis located over the bridge that crosses the mid-block paseo shall contain additional horizontal trellis elements.
  9. Hillside landscaping, to be located next to the Simba’s property adjacent to the mid-block paseo, shall be coordinated with the adjacent property owners.
  10. The Design Commission shall approve the final selection of field colors.
  11. The landscape tellises, located along the northern façade of the project, shall extend to finished grade.

The motion passed by a vote of 6-0.

Action Item #2:
The applicant, T-Mobile, 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 right-of-way of Island Crest Way near SE 58th Street (DSR0009-02, VAR0009-003, & SEP0009-003). 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. Review of this proposal had been continued from the October 9, 2002 Design Commission meeting.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed WCF. Mr. Scandola indicated that this meeting has been properly re-noticed and the applicant has provided all of the information requested by the Design Commission at the previous meeting. Therefore, The City recommended approval for the proposed T-Mobile wireless communications facility.

Craig Walkenhorst of SecuraSite LLC, 2373 NW 185th Ave., Hillsboro, OR, and Mike Corcoran, T-Mobile, 1500 NE Irving St, Suite 530, Portland, OR 97232 represented the applicant and presented the WCF proposal. Mr. Walkenhorst indicated that this proposal is permitted by Mercer Island City Code, and the proposed location was needed to adequately fill the coverage gaps that exist on the Island. He stated that they examined collocation possibilities, but they result in coverage gaps and duplication of service.

The Design Commission asked the applicant a number questions regarding the difference in coverage between placing the WCF at the proposed location as compared to collocating two T-Mobile facilities with existing WCFs to the north and south of the proposed location. Some Commissioners indicated that they saw little difference in coverage when studying the computer generated coverage maps of these two scenarios.

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. Applemen stated that this proposal should be rejected since it was not properly submitted and did not meet the variance criteria.

Gloria Matilla, 5710 91st Avenue SE: Ms. Matilla asked if T-Mobile has approval from the FCC to site such facilities. She also expressed concern over the impact of the buried equipment cabinet on adjacent trees.

Jane Clayton, 5720 91st Avenue SE: Ms. Clayton questioned the need for this WCF since wireless companies do not have a right to have seamless service. She indicated that small gaps in coverage do not justify the approval of this facility. She said that she purchased a T-Mobile phone and claimed that she had no problem with service along Island Crest Way.

A.J. Lawrence, 5628 89th Avenue SE: Mr. Lawrence indicated that aesthetics is the most important issue. He stated that the adjacent trees only grow to approximately 60’ in height, and it is impossible to blend the WCF pole with the trees.

Colin Fukano, 5639 89th Avenue SE: Mr. Fukano stated that T-Mobile should put off this decision until the City Council decides on the proposed amendment regarding WCFs.

Tony Wartnick, 8811 SE 55th Place: Mr. Wartnick indicated that if this application was not properly submitted, then it would be prudent to delay this decision. He also stated that the applicant should pursue collocation on another facility since it is encouraged in the City Code.

Michael Cimino, 5649 89th Avenue SE: Mr. Cimino feels that since the coverage maps submitted by the applicant show little difference in coverage between the proposed location and collocation, the applicant should collocate this facility.

Celine Cimino, 5649 89th Avenue SE: Ms. Cimino indicated that her neighborhood is being unfairly penalized since WCFs are not permitted in other residential areas on the Island.

Vice Chairman Sandler closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • Whether they have the authority to reject this proposal and what sort of authority do they have in regulating WCFs,
  • The differences in coverage between the proposed location and other collocation options as shown on the submitted maps,
  • The possibility of delaying this decision until the City Council vote on the new amendment, and
  • The need for this facility at this location on Island Crest Way.

Motion:
Commissioner Bryant moved, seconded by Commissioner Caditz, to approve the design review for the installation of the T-Mobile, wireless communications facility to be placed on a 100’ tall replacement utility pole with a buried equipment cabinet (DSR0009-002, VAR0009-003, & SEP0009-003). The approval includes granting a variance to install 56” high antennas that are larger than microcells, which have a maximum allowable height of 48” and are required for wireless communication facilities on Island Crest Way. This approval is based on the staff reports, Design Commission discussion and findings, and written and open record testimony of the September 25, 2002, October 9, 2002, and November 13, 2002 Design Commission meetings. This decision is in accordance with Mercer Island City Code Section 19.06.040(C)(E) & (F) – Wireless Communications for Island Crest Way and Section 19.15.050(G)(4) – Variances. 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, prior to the issuance of a building permit.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-2.

Other Business

Director’s Comments:
No comments.

Council Liaison Report:
Councilmember Cairns discussed the proposed amendment to the City Code regarding WCFs that will be presented to City Council on December 2, 2002. He stated that the purpose of the amendment is to relieve the burden from Island Crest Way without proliferating poles throughout the Island.

Next Regular Meeting:
The next meeting will be a Special Meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 26th at 7:30 PM.

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

Adjournment:
11:35 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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