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Wednesday, February 09, 2000

Call To Order

Chairman McDonald called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM.

Roll Call

Commissioners: Baska, Dawson, Glick, Laszlo, Sandler Chairman McDonald


Staff Present

Staff: M. Chen, R. Hart


Baska moved, Dawson seconded, to approve the meeting minutes from January 12, 2000. Vote 6-0.

Regular Business

ACTION ITEM: (1) APPLICANT: Mercer Nails SUBJECT: New Signage LOCATION: 7811 SE 27th Street

STAFF REPORT: Michael Chen, Associate Planner, presented the staff report into the record and responded to questions by the Commissioners.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Mr. Dan Doan, 7811 SE 27th Street, represented the applicant. He summarized to the Commission the need for the sign and details of the new signage.


COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION:Commissioner Dawson commented that the sign meets the requirements of the sign ordinance, but the overall design can be improved to give it more color and depth.

Commissioner Baska noted that the sign is proposed in a logical location, but the signage needs some depth and color.

Commissioner Sandler suggested that maybe the signage should have a two tone color and possibly a border around the sign.

Commissioner Laszlo had no additional comments.

Chairman McDonald commented that the design of the sign was not that exciting. Maybe the applicant can use a two tone background and possibly a frame or trim design around the sign.

MOTION: Sandler moved, Glick seconded to grant approval for the new Mercer Nails sign 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 following condition(s):

  1. The final design of the new sign shall be resubmitted to staff for final review, considering the comments and concerns noted by the Commission.

Motion passed 6-0.

ACTION ITEM: (2) APPLICANT: Nextel Communications SUBJECT: Design Review for Major New Construction of a Wireless Communication Facility. LOCATION: 2237 60th Ave SE (approx. address)

STAFF REPORT: Michael Chen, Associate Planner, presented the staff report into the record and responded to questions by the Commission.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Mr. George Johnston, 19330 2nd Ave NW, Shoreline, WA represented the applicant Nextel Communications. Mr. Johnston summarized the need for this facility and responded to the Commission’s questions regarding the retaining wall.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Mr. Mark Lawless, 7545 81st Pl. SE asked the applicant if the new facility is intended to service Mercer Island citizens. He also asked if this facility would provide coverage to the south end of Mercer Island, where there is currently no coverage.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION:Commissioner Glick commented that he didn’t see the value of having both the retaining wall and the fence screening the equipment cabinets. He suggested a battered wall with signage warning the dangers of the equipment cabinets. He did like the 25’ steel pole not protruding above the retaining wall.

Commissioner Baska liked the location of the proposed wireless communication facility and was pleased that the location works well for the applicant and screening the equipment cabinets under the bridge decks works nicely.

Commissioner Sandler had no additional comments.

Commissioner Dawson would like the fence to be an ivory or beige aluminum slated fence instead of the brown slates as proposed by the WSDOT.

Chairman McDonald noted this wireless communication facility is a nice one in terms of its location and natural screening, but people still do travel by the facility, and the fence screening should be a nice clean feeling.

MOTION: Baska moved, Laszlo seconded to grant approval for the Nextel Communication proposal to install 4 – 1’ x 4’ panel antennas on a 25’ steel pole 5 feet below the top of the retaining wall and associated equipment cabinets in accordance with the Wireless Communication Ordinance (Section 19.04.060), the findings of the Staff Report, and the plans submitted with the following condition(s):

  1. The aluminum fence slates used for screening shall be an ivory or beige color.

Motion passed 5-0.

ACTION ITEM: (3) APPLICANT: Mercer Village LLC SUBJECT: Design Review for Major New Construction LOCATION: SE Corner of SE 68th Street & 84th Ave SE

STAFF REPORT: Michael Chen, Associate Planner, presented the staff report into the record and summarized the changes agreed upon between the applicant and City staff. Richard Hart, Development Services Director, summarized comments by the City Attorney regarding the type of issues that can be reviewed. He reminded the Commission that they were to review buildings C, D, E, and the parking lot in front of those buildings and the pedestrian and vehicular safety leading to those buildings. In addition they could review the overall design of central parking lot which had not been reviewed previously. The Design Commission, Planning Commission and City Council approved all other issues in the master site planning process and preliminary plat approval.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: John O’Shea, 8246 East Mercer Way, developer/owner of the property summarized the history of the proposal for building C, D, & E . Mr. Paul Franks, Paul Franks Architects, 3805 108th Ave NE, Suite 222, Bellevue, WA summarized the changes to the pedestrian and vehicular safety features. He also noted that the applicant had meet with staff and worked out a design that staff would approve.


Mr. Kevin Peck, 6825 84th Ave SE, expressed his concerns about the overall speed of vehicles that travel in the shopping center. He suggested that traffic signs that say slow or yield should have a specific speed limit sign of 10 mph instead of 15 mph. He also suggested that the rumble stripes placed at the shopping center entrances should be placed across the entire length of the drive isle and that another rumble stripe be placed in front of building E and the QFC.

Mr. Lloyd Gilman, 7217 80th Ave SE, expressed his concerns about the traffic devices that would be used to slow traffic within the shopping center and questioned the traffic pattern around and within the PBZ.

Mr. Ellis Levin, 8201 SE 62nd PL, commented that it would be easier to have 45 degree parking verses 90 degree parking in the QFC parking lot. He noted that speed bumps should be used to control the speed of vehicles entering and exiting the shopping center. He also believed that parking on the east side of building E was not allowed in the master site plan, and the lighting plan should include lighting fixtures at the entrances to the shopping center.

Mr. Ira Appleman, noted that the poplar trees along SE 68th Street and all the trees in the buffer area around the PBZ are covered under the SEPA conditions that the developer must abide by. He also commented that the City Arborist memo did not mention the siting of how close or far buildings C, D, and E can be from the poplar trees. He also questioned why the proposed motion to approve did not address any changes in the site plan or the MDNS.

Mr. Pete Caldwell, Chervon Gas Station, 8407 SE 68th Street, noted that if the proposal was approved he would lose a significant amount of parking stalls that he currently uses. He also noted that the speed of vehicles traveling in front of his business has increased since the south entrance on SE 68th was closed off.

Ms. Mary Jeanne Bryant, 8250 West Mercer Way, expressed her concerns with Starbucks as the tenant for building E. The increased amount of traffic that will come from Starbucks will make the four-way intersection dangerous to pedestrians and vehicles.

Ms. Barbara Cahoon, 7855 80th PL SE, expressed her concerns for pedestrian safety in and around the shopping center due to the large number of middle school children that walk to the center for school. She wanted to make sure the environment was safe for the pedestrians that use the center.

Ms. Ruth Jacobson, 8542 SE 79th PL, stated that it was very difficult to maneuver throughout the parking lot and getting to the gas station would be difficult if the parking plan is approved as shown. She would also like the developer to re-evaluate the south entrance off of 84th Ave SE.

Mr. Jim Latting, 7901 Northbrook Lane, expressed his concerns for pedestrian and vehicular safety throughout the shopping center. He recommended that staff start fresh and re-look at the entire pedestrian and vehicular access.

Ms. Catherin Reece, 7255 86th Ave SE, commented that it was a big mistake to eliminate the south entrance off of 84th Ave SE. The commission should definitely take into consideration vehicular and pedestrian safety throughout the shopping center.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION:Commissioner Laszlo questioned if the Metro buses can access the shopping center by driving through Island Lane as an alternative. He would like the applicant to reconsider the parking stalls on the east side of Starbucks. He liked the pedestrian crosswalk spine that connects the buildings within the shopping center. The parking layout in the QFC parking lot should be 45 degree parking instead of 90 degree. He would also like to see curb ramps shown on the site plans because it will have an effect on the amount of landscaping that can be provided.

Commissioner Glick noted that there should be a responsive solution to pedestrian access at the south entrance off of 84th Ave SE. He noted that if Starbucks obtains the seven parking spaces on the west it will have adverse impacts on the operations of the Chevron gas station. Staff should review the first parking stall east of Starbucks to see if it meets the minimum turning radius. At all the pedestrian crossings the stop bars painted on the ground shall be adequately spaced behind the crosswalk. The angled crosswalk at the four-way intersection should be straighten out by expanding the island to the south. The drive isle in front of the QFC should be consistent with all the other drive isles north of it. If the City Arborist allows buildings C & D to be moved 5’ to the north this should be looked at to provide a 5’ strip for planting. There should also be a detailed landscape plan for the parking lot that shows more trees planted through the parking lot.

Commissioner Glick left the meeting at 11:20 PM due to other commitments.

Commissioner Dawson suggested that the drive isle just south of building C be moved to the south to allow the Metro buses to have access to the bus stop without having to loop around the southern parking lot in front of building A & B. She also concurred that the entrances to the shopping center are very dark in the evening, and that lighting should be added to provide more safety for motorist and pedestrians. The north entrance pedestrian path to the QFC does not go through the planter and maybe an alternative should be designed to prevent pedestrians from having to walk on to the road. She would like to find a way to review the south entrance access to QFC. The parking stalls west of Starbucks should be revisited and restudied.

Commissioner Baska questioned staff about the discrepancy in building square footage and asked if this was a concern. He had concerns with the different drive isle width along the QFC to SE 68th Street. The drive isle width in front of QFC is to narrow and should be widened. He complimented staff for a nice job and thought that the rumble strips and signage should also be reviewed. (Staff responded that this minor adjustment in square footage could be reviewed and approved by the Commission.)

Commissioner Sandler commented that the proposal is very close to being approved, it just needs a few minor changes, and coloring the landscape plans may help. The propane tank located on the Chevron gas station property should be moved to a safer location. Details such as signage and graphics should be shown on the plans along with a landscape plan for the parking lot. The applicant and staff should also study safety during construction of the proposal.

MOTION: Baska moved, Sandler seconded, to continue the public hearing for the South Mercer Village LLC major new construction proposal to February 23, 2000 at 7:30 PM in the City of Mercer Island Council Chambers, with the condition(s) that the applicant and staff discuss and consider revisions to the following item(s):

  1. 90 degree parking as presented with some minor adjustment to the landscape isle to allow Metro buses to loop around closer to the north.
  2. Access to the parking stalls west of building E.
  3. Lighting at the entrances to the shopping center on SE 68th St. and 84th Ave SE.
  4. The speed limit signs within the shopping center shall have an actual speed limit.
  5. The location of rumble strips shown should be evaluated.
  6. Pedestrian access both at the southwest and northwest entrances to the Mercer Village shopping center along 84th Ave SE.
  7. Relocation of the propane tank.
  8. A detailed landscaping plan shall be submitted for the central parking lot.
  9. The one northern parking space east of Starbucks shall be reviewed for adequate turning radius.
  10. The width of the drive in front of QFC shall be re-evaluated for expansion beyond 24’ to possibly 28’.
  11. The southeast corner of the four-way intersection shall be moved east one to two parking stalls to allow the pedestrian crosswalk to be straight instead of diagonal.
  12. Blocking of the drive south of building C and moving it one isle to the south to allow for an improved Metro bus access.

Motion passed 5-0.

Other Business


Meeting Adjourned:
12:15 A.M.

Council Liaison Report:

Next Regular Meeting:
February 23, 2000

[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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