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Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Call To Order

Chairman McDonald called the meeting to order at 7:37 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Attila Laszlo, Marcia Dawson, George Wittman, Norm Sandler, Fred Glick and Chairman McDonald were present.
Carl Bryant was absent. (Carl Bryant showed up at 7:42PM) (Norm Sandler left at 8:50 PM)

Staff Present

Richard Hart, DSG Director



Regular Business

Action Item #1. Continued Preliminary Design Review and Approval for Newell Court, involving new construction of a 40 unit residential mixed-use project in the Town Center at 3011 78th Avenue SE, submitted by M5 Investments, George Ma, Project Manager. (DSR 0011-001 and SEP 0011-001) This item was continued from the public meeting of October 24, 2001 for further clarification of architectural details.

Richard Hart, DSG Director, made a presentation and summarized the staff report for the mixed-use project. The Commission had a few questions for clarification on the pedestrian walkway originally proposed.

Roger Newell, architect for the project, made the presentation for the applicant and addressed all the changes and the specific 26 points of clarification requested by the Design Commission from their meeting of October 24, 2001. George Ma, Project Manager addressed the Commission on the issue of the pedestrian walkway on the north side of the project. He asked that the Commission reconsider the validity of requiring the walkway. The Commissioners asked the architect for clarification on the revised design for the residential balconies, railings, size of windows, and the entryway courtyard.

(Commissioner Sandler left at 8:50 PM)

Public Comment:

George Maloof, 2273 74th Ave SE, owner of the adjacent office building, supported the project but expressed concern over the pedestrian walkway being proposed. He felt the existing walkway on the Wells Fargo property to the north was adequate.

The Commissioners then discussed a variety of issues including all of the points raised at the previous meeting. The specifically asked for further clarification of the following:

  1. Seating and clear walk space on sidewalk.
  2. Courtyard design and seating.
  3. Window design for upper-floor residential units.
  4. Further modulation of the wall plane along 78th Avenue.
  5. Landscaping in the courtyard and along 78th Avenue.
  6. Material and colors for soffits and decks.
  7. Building signage.
  8. The need for a specific pedestrian walkway on the north edge of this project in relation to the Town Center concept of mid-block connections.
  9. Driveway access for both service vehicles and resident vehicles.

The Design Commission eventually reached consensus that the project was ready for preliminary design approval with a few conditions relating to modification of some architectural details of the 78th Avenue wall plane, window design, balconies, landscaping and seating.

Commissioner Wittman moved, 2nd by Commissioner Bryant, to recommend preliminary design approval for the construction of Newell Court a new mixed-use development as presented on formal site plans, revised November 20, 2001, incorporating the findings and conclusions of the Staff Report, and in accordance with Title 19, Mercer Island Town Center District Development requirements, Division II, part 1, 2, and 3, and Section 19.15.040 (H) of the Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code, with 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 date of final certificate of occupancy inspection.
  2. Compliance with all conditions listed on the MDNS issued on October 2, 2001.
  3. Redesign and relocation of the rock benches in the ROW to line up with the street trees for safety.
  4. In the interior courtyard, place seating benches on the east-facing wall for improved viewing to the street.
  5. On upper floor residential units, the bedroom/kitchen windows should have the window sills raised to provide variety and modulation of glass different from the living area windows.
  6. Along 78th Avenue, redesign the large building wall plane south and north of the two towers by offsetting the wall surface about 6-12 inches to provide some depth and modulation. Architect is given discretion on how to achieve this modulation with Design Commission concurrence.
  7. Install trellis work (previously removed) above windows at the banding level between the 2nd and 3rd stories, except where 2nd story spaces occur.
  8. Change the landscaping at the ground level entrance and courtyard to use more perennials and more variegated leaves or light-green leaf plant material.
  9. Change the material and color for the soffits and underneath the decks to a material other than plaster to lighten the design. Design Commission suggested wood or composite material.
  10. Limit the building sign to one. The retail space signs should be limited to one sign per business, either as a projecting blade sign, a hanging sign under the canopy, or a sign within the frame work of the business window. Dimensions should be within existing dimensions of Town Center guidelines. Colors should match building colors. Any deviations from these requirements will require Design Commission review and approval.
  11. The applicant may remove the proposed pedestrian walkway from the design, and the resulting space reallocated with the project architect’s discretion and Design Commission review at Final Approval.

The motion passed by a vote of 6-0.

Other Business

Director Hart had no comments.

Commissioners’ Absences:
None indicated

Council Liaison Report:
Councilmember Cairns was not in attendance.

Next Regular Meeting:
DECEMBER 12, 2001, with the continued preliminary design review for Covenant Shores expansion, as well as a 6:00 PM Special Meeting to discuss proposed changes in the Town Center Design Guidelines.

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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