Action Item #1.
Action Item #1: Preliminary Design Commission review of plans for Mercer Island United Methodist Church expansion of 2,920 sq. ft., landscape revisions, lighting plan and sign proposal. Chairman McDonald opened the public meeting.
STAFF REPORT: Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report that reviewed the plans for the building expansion. Harbert noted that additional information was received prior to the meeting, which gave the correct location of existing vegetation along the north perimeter of the proposed Metro park and ride lot. The MDNS mitigated measures and the landscape security agreement are listed as conditions for the Conditional Use recommended motion. Harbert handed out copies of four comment letters, Exhibit 1, received in response to the proposal.
APPLICATION PRESENTATION: Jon Tucker, Church Member, 11409 SE 66th Street, Bellevue, WA, presented the goals and history of the Church, Exhibit 2, and spoke of support for the project. Mr. Tucker submitted an optional plan, Exhibit 3, for the proposed Metro park and ride lot portion of the project.
Judy Tucker, Architect for the Church, 3710 26th Place W. #406, Seattle, WA, presented the building and site design. Existing conditions, assigned project team, functions of the floor plan and material details were presented. One change in the submitted plans include the proposed roof feature will not have urns on the corners, as illustrated. Tucker elaborated on Exhibit 3. This optional plan changes the north buffer from 5 feet to 8 feet, has 6 compact parking stalls, offers a one-way exit onto 70th Avenue SE on Monday-Friday with two-way access on Sunday, and has a 6-foot tall wood fence located on church property. The Church is willing to be flexible on the proposal.
QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT: Commissioner Dawson asked if the grade would be the same for the parking aisle and the existing 18” Cedar tree, located along the front of the Church, and is the paved walkway needed that runs along the parking stalls. Tucker declared the city, some time ago, requested that a paved walk be provided along the parking spaces, and that the grade was very similar. She offered to move the barrier free parking stalls on the east side, opening up the possibility of not needing a paved walkway along the west side.
Commissioner Laszlo asked if landscaping had been considered along the frontage of SE 24th Street. Tucker responded not at this time but later if the money is available.
Commissioner Wittman inquired if the sanctuary was on a historical place list. Tucker answered no. Discussion followed, ending with the Church willing to research it.
Chairman McDonald inquired if consideration had been given to the following: 1) confusion that appears when entering the building; 2) the blank face of the new expansion’s south elevation; 3) the awkwardness where the new building meets the existing building on the west elevation; and, 4) that the focus should be on the existing sanctuary not the new building. Tucker agreed to review these considerations.
Commissioner Bryant asked Tucker to consider expanding the window elements of the south elevation, for example elaborate the use of the window trellis.
PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Brad Hampton, 2259 70th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA, disclosed he and his wife own the property located adjacent and north of the proposed Metro park and ride lot. Hampton alleged the variance request for the increase in impervious surface coverage does not meet the criteria in Section 19.15.020.G.4. He suggested a wider buffer between the parking lot and his property is needed and felt a fence would be a benefit. Discussions continued on where a 6-foot tall fence would be located.
Brad Pietila, 2250 70th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA, addressed the potential problems exiting the west access from the proposed north parking lot, including head lights shining into his window. Tucker revealed measuring the location of the driveway and that an existing 7-to-8’ hedge would be across from that driveway.
Lori Horton, 3476 72nd Place, Mercer Island, WA, expressed support of the project, as a member of the Church.
Chick Hodge, 4235 Holly Lane, Mercer Island, WA, expressed support of the project and distributed a letter of support, Exhibit 4, signed by several Church members.
COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Wittman specified the following: 1) suggest reducing the roof slope and removing the proposed roof feature of the proposed addition and widening the stairs on the north elevation; 2) encourage more of a trellis on the south elevation; 3) encourage improving the 70’s education building; 4) look at handicap access at all entries; 5) agrees with widening the buffer width and providing a fence along the north perimeter of the proposed park and ride lot; 6) suggest screening the existing mechanical equipment located outside along the east elevation; and, 7) replace the laurel located on the southwest side of the sanctuary.
Laszlo supported moving the north parking area further south a few feet, and landscaping along the two street frontages of the proposed park and ride lot.
Dawson asked DSG staff if the landscaping Laszlo stated could be done along SE 24th Street. Nancy Fairchild, Transportation Planner, answered yes, with the applicant obtaining an encroachment agreement with the city. She suggested low shrubs because of site distance concerns, but the Church could plant higher on private property. Dawson voiced the importance of retaining the landscaping located along the front of the Church and encouraged the use of alternative materials after sensitive grading is completed. She suggested a different plant material other than English ivy along the north perimeter and supports taking another look at the north entry, softening the pathway.
Bryant agreed the north entry needs to be studied, specifically on how it will be used. He supports one wide staircase, or the widening of the two proposed. He supports McDonald’s concern regarding the roof line and joining of the new with the existing, and is concerned about the development of an overly large home on the single family lot, if the variance is granted.
McDonald encouraged Tucker to review the plans giving consideration to the Commissioners’ suggestions, specifically on the southeast corner of the building. He suggested the Church proceed with the Conditional Use and Variance review by the Planning Commission, but return to the Design Commission for final design review and approval of the building, landscape and lighting plans.
Commissioner Laszlo motioned to grant preliminary approval as presented on formal site plans (dated September 12, 2000), incorporating the findings of the Staff Report and in accordance with the Mercer Island Town Center District Development and Design Requirements and Section 19.15.040 of the Mercer Island Code with the condition of resubmitting revised plans at a later date to the Design Commission for final design approval. Commissioner Bryant seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Chairman McDonald closed the meeting for the review of Action Item #1.
Commissioner Glick did not attend because of work conflict, and Commissioner Sandler had emergency surgery. No absences were reported for the next meeting.
Council Liaison Report:
Councilmember Cairns left before the end of Action Item #1.
Next Regular Meeting:
There are no projects scheduled for February 28, 2001 or March 14, 2001. Park Terrace is tentatively scheduled for March 28, 2001. Kathy Harbert will be on vacation from March 2nd, returning on March 20th.
[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.]