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Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Call To Order

Chairman McDonald called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.

Roll Call

Present Commissioners: Bryant, Dawson, Glick, Laszlo, Sandler, Wittman, Chairman McDonald Absent Commissioners: None

Staff Present

Staff: Kathy Harbert, Nancy Fairchild


Commissioner Wittman stated needed corrections; corrections were noted by Staff; Commissioner Wittman motioned to approve June 14, 2000 Meeting Minutes; Commissioner Dawson seconded; Motion Passed Vote 7-0

Regular Business

ACTION ITEM: (1) DSR0005-003

APPLICANT: Mercer Island School District (Brandi Mathews, CPM, Inc.)

SUBJECT: Design Review and Approval for a Classroom Addition and Multi-purpose Room Expansion

LOCATION: 8225 SE 72nd Street

APPLICANT: Interstate Development Corporation (Gerald Williams)

STAFF REPORT: Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report into the record. Zoning requirements are met; the proposal meets the design criteria. It was noted that 10 trees are to be removed, not including the Alder trees, and to be replaced with eight trees. City policy states that at least a one-to-one ratio is to be met. As a result, at least two trees shall be added. The SEPA determination (MDNS) was issued on June 13, 2000 with mitigating measures and conditions relating to traffic. One comment letter was received; concerns of construction noise and drainage. The District is meeting the City’s detention requirements, and construction plans are included in the building permit portion of the project. Commissioner Laszlo asked why is the dumpster visible above the screening wall that surrounds it. Staff did not know that it was. The code requires the screening to cover the entire height of the dumpster. No other Commissioners had questions for Staff.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Lee Williamson, Harthorne Hagen Architects, handed out revised plans (Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2). Exhibit 1 includes reduced copies of the site plan, elevations and wall section. Exhibit 2 includes a reduced copy of a revised landscape plan. He discussed the integrated program of the new classroom addition, locating science labs adjacent to the greenhouse. The block details, stucco, dormers for mechanical, windows and doors are to be the same as the existing building. The building details have been simplified since the study session with the Commission on June 6, 2000.

QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT Chairman McDonald asked that the landscape plan be presented. Michelle Levering of Weisman Design Group, 2329 East Madison, Seattle, submitted a revised landscape plan, Exhibit 2. They revisited the southeast corner of the classroom addition; the shrubs and groundcover has changed around the perimeter of the building corner. The shrub, Osmarea, will be less maintenance than the Laurel proposed before. Also, the detention pond has landscaping within the existing fence that is placed primarily to screen the pond from SE 72nd Street. There are existing Cottonwood trees that will be removed from the detention pond area. The trees are an annoyance for the operation of the detention pond and most of the neighboring residents would prefer them to be removed as well. Commissioner Dawson asked if the bottom of the pond could be seeded with grass as well. Levering answered, yes it could, depending on the time of year it will be seeded. Commissioner Laszlo asked if landscaping could be provided to screen the dumpster and proposed propane tank area in addition to the walls around them. Levering answered, yes. Commissioner Wittman asked, Does the finished floor at the east entrance of the classroom addition match the existing grade. Williamson answered, yes. Commissioner Wittman agreed landscaping should be planted as screening for the dumpster area and that possibly additional trim of some sort could be added to the height of the dumpster wall. He also stated, the chain link fence along the driveway needs to be studied; possibly landscaping could be used instead or in addition to. Commissioner Sandler asked, what the survival rate is for preserving the Hazelnut tree. Levering answered, good if a clean cut can be made, not cutting into the major root structure of the tree. Commissioner Sandler continued, all the diamond shape elements have been removed from the proposal; maybe leaving one or so would be good. Williamson responded, there are enough materials repeated from the existing building to tie it in; also, the existing building is significantly taller than the proposed additions. Commissioner Glick complemented the architect on responding to that last question; and, asked, what impacts, if any, the project has on the neighboring subdivision, The Lakes. Brandi Mathews, consultant of the school district, answered, a positive impact for most of the Lake residents is the removal of the cottonwood trees located near the detention pond; all construction work would take place during city designated hours. Commissioner Glick asked, is there a tree species that will replace the cottonwood trees. Mathews answered, the fence makes it difficult to plant trees in the same location. Patrick Yamashita, City Engineer, spoke of concerns regarding the current function of the detention pond; the city is looking at ways to improve the function; street flooding occurs during winter storms; the city views this as a good opportunity to work with school district to expand the pond. Commissioner Dawson asked, how well the chain link fence works along the entrance drive off 84th Avenue SE. Mathews answered, parent drop-offs are a concern; the MDNS requires volunteer (parent) assistance for this problem. Commissioner Dawson asked, could the pedestrian path lead through the landscape area instead, near the new classroom addition. Williamson responded, the established trees and topography make that difficult. Commissioner Dawson asked that the path relocation be looked at in addition to landscaping around the dumpster and propane tank areas. Mathews stated, the district would be willing to look at that. Commissioner Bryant had no further comments; they have done a good job. Chairman McDonald asked where would the two additional trees go that Staff has requested. Levering responded, most likely the southeast area where tree removal has occurred; or the north side of the walk, near the north side of the classroom addition. Chairman McDonald requested they provide screening for the dumpster and the propane tank enclosure to fulfill the requirement; DSG staff could do final approval.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: No public testimony was given.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Sandler stated it would be better if the chain link fence could come down; but understands the safety concerns. He supports landscaping the dumpster and propane enclosure area; screening of the dumpster is code requirement, so it is a compliance issue as well. He noted, the distance between the greenhouse and dumpster enclosure appears to be short; landscaping would assist this. Commissioner Laszlo asked how high would be the propane tank enclosure. Williamson responded, approximately six feet and the same block construction would be used as the building; it has a locking gate. Commissioner Laszlo asked what the lighting plan included. Williamson presented a lighting plan, Exhibit 3; all lighting proposed be for walkways and entryways, just like the existing building has. Chairman McDonald asked if the south face of the existing building had lighting. Williamson responded, it is unknown. Commissioner Wittman asked if there is lighting in the parking lot. Mathews answered, yes; all lights, except security ones turn off at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Commissioner Wittman asked if there is any landscape lighting proposed. Mathews answered, no. Commissioner Dawson stated we all agree landscaping for the screening of the dumpster and propane enclosures needs to be completed; and, that study needs to be given to the walkway along the chain link fence, possibly relocating the walkway somewhere else. Mathews stated, the district is reluctant to change the chain link fence, including the color of it. Commissioners Glick and Bryant had no further comments/questions.

MOTION: Commissioner Glick motioned to grant approval with the following conditions for the construction of two new additions to Islander Middle School as presented on formal site plans, 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. The conditions are as follows:

  1. Comply with the mitigation measures and conditions of the Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) issued for SEPA on June 13, 2000.
  2. Re-evaluate the southeast entrance, to include the existing chain link fence and the pedestrian path, relating to type and location for both, while maintaining the safety of students and vehicular access to the school. Review and approval by city staff is required.
  3. Provide landscape screening for the existing dumpster/recycling enclosure and for the proposed propane tank enclosure. Also, bring the existing dumpster/recycling enclosure into compliance by adding additional structural height to the enclosure to the height, so that the dumpster walls are not visible from 84th Avenue SE. Review and approval by city staff is required.
  4. A landscape security agreement in the amount approved by the Development Services Group shall be submitted to the City for the duration of one year from date of final inspection.

Commissioner Flick seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

ACTION ITEM: (2) File #99-1323

APPLICANT: Shorewood Heights (Robert Misel, GGLO Architect)

SUBJECT: Design Review and Approval for of a Previous Condition

LOCATION: 3209 Shorewood Drive (Parcel D)

STAFF REPORT: Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report into the record. Applicant is seeking review and approval of a condition made at the January 12, 2000 Design Commission meeting. The condition includes the review and approval of the following items associated with the 78-unit apartment buildings to be constructed:

  1. Lighting Plan
  2. Plant List and Landscape Plan
  3. Materials List along with Textures and Surfaces
  4. Garage Door Design
  5. Site Amenities
  6. Any New Signage

Staff finds the design criteria have been met for the above-submitted plans/documents. Color copies of garage door examples were distributed to the Commission.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Robert Misel, GGLO Architects, began by stating that he agrees with and supports the staff report. Landscaping was presented first. Kris Snider, Hewitt Architects, presented a detailed landscape plan; trees were placed in correspondence with the building columns on the north face; the south side (back) is more informal with a steeper slope which provides separation between the new buildings and the existing adjacent older buildings; the civi1 engineers are in the process of finalizing the grading plan; minor adjustments to the landscape plan will be likely; the plan uses some species on-site and introduces new ones as well. Misel later throughout the Questions for the Applicant portion did brief presentation on the other items to be reviewed.

QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT: Commissioner Dawson asked if there is turf on the south side, on the hillside. Snider responded, a knee-high meadow grass is proposed on the slope, creating a soft drifty feel that already exists there. Commissioner Dawson asks that the pallet be reviewed to make sure root rot will not occur; it is a very good plan. Commissioner Glick complemented the plan as it accommodates individual portions of the site. Commissioners Bryant, Sandler, Wittman and Laszlo all commended the work done. Chairman McDonald addressed the Copper Beach tree located at the focus area by the recreation building; he asked how long will it take for the tree to be large. Snider responded, it will be planted at an approximate 14 feet height and it will take five-to-ten years for the tree to be 30-40 feet tall.

Misel presented the lighting plan; the plan is a mix of pole lights, wall-mounted lights for entryways, flush-mounted lights for the stairways and unit lights for individual decks; all fixtures are black in color. Commissioner Glick asked if Fixture B shines straight down, not impacting the neighbors. Misel responded, yes. Misel addressed the color copy of the garage door sample. Commissioner Sandler asked where the garage doors are located and spoke of the wonderful promenade the north side has, including the landscaping, and then the white garage doors are repeated on the face of that promenade; he suggested more articulation and possibly various colors repeated non-consecutively. Commissioner Wittman offered that the building might have enough articulation that a simple garage door works. Misel replied, he is open to suggestions. Chairman McDonald asked if the lights above the garages were centered on them. Misel responded, no; the view looking down was considered; single garage doors are proposed only; and, the building colors drop done to the garage level. Commissioner Glick added, the landscape changes along the promenade could reflect the garage door choice/pattern.

Misel presented the signage proposal. Only the recreation building would have a wall identification sign and it would be the same type, size and color of existing identification signs on the site. In addition, ground signs would be placed at the entry off of Shorewood Drive. Address signs would match the existing signs on-site, placed on the entrance sign off of Shorewood Drive and on the ends of each of the two buildings, on the wall by the garages. Chairman McDonald asked if an identification sign for the recreation building should be placed at the street entrance for the recreation building. Misel responded, the drop off area, which is also a plaza area, works as a focus point for the recreation building portion. Commissioner Glick added the sign on the street entrance should include directional information for the recreation building. Commissioner Laszlo asked if a pedestrian sign is located at the northeast corner of the building. Misel responded, no but he is open to that suggestion.

Misel presented exterior materials to be used. He presented a past board sample, presented at previous meetings. The recreation building is to be finished with a clear stain; the railings are to be powder-coated aluminum; the roof is to be gray in color to match the new roofs recently replaced on other buildings. Chairman McDonald asked where are shingle roofs being installed. Misel answered, on the recreation building portion and on the center portion of each building.

Misel continued with presenting the furniture proposed. It is to be black vinyl-coated steel placed in a social setting outside the recreation building portion.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: No public testimony was given.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Bryant commended Misel for his work.. Commissioner Glick did the same and added, modulation of the garage doors are needed. Commissioner Sandler did the same and added that the garage door design is a possibility for condition of approval. Commissioner Wittman did the same and focussed on lighting suggestions: the walkway from Building 26, through the play area, then leading to the northwest corner of the east building needs to be reviewed; and, the placement of an additional Fixture A on the ramp leading to the southwest corner of the east building needs to be added. Commissioner Laszlo also commended the work done and asked if the south side of the east building’s stairway is lighted. Misel answered, yes the stairway is lit. Chairman McDonald commended Misel’s work. Misel stated the Commission’s input in the past meetings counted toward the final design.

MOTION: Commissioner Sandler motioned to grant approval for the Lighting Plan, Plant List and Landscape Plan, Materials List along with Textures and Surfaces, Garage Door Design, Site Amenities and New Signage submitted for Shorewood Heights 78-unit apartment complex as presented on formal plans, incorporating the findings of the Staff Report and in accordance with the Mercer Island Town Center District Development and Section 19.04.120 of the Mercer Island Code with the following condition:

  1. A landscape security agreement in the amount approved by the Development Services Group shall be submitted to the City for the duration of one year from date of final inspection.

Commissioner Glick seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

ACTION ITEM: (3) File #DSR0004-003

APPLICANT: Montesano LTD Partnership (David Hoy)

SUBJECT: Design Review and Approval for a 23-unit Residential Condominium

LOCATION: 2907 76th Avenue SE

STAFF REPORT: Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report into the record. Applicant is seeking review and approval of a 23-unit condominium single structure on a 0.66-acre site with 54 underground parking garage spaces. Zoning requirements are met; the proposal meets the design criteria. The SEPA determination (MDNS) was issued on June 28, 2000 with mitigating measures and conditions relating to traffic. The Mercer Island School District submitted a comment letter asking that mitigation fees be applied to the project. The City, Developer and School District are scheduled to meet in the near future to resolve the issue. Two public comment letters were received; one appears to be a civil matter and the other speaks of traffic concerns and on-street parking. The recommended motion was read into record.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Scott Chin, Kubota Kato Chin Architects, began with the location of the building on the site: the building is set as far into the hillside without disturbing the critical slopes; it will not disturb the views from other buildings; the rooftop will be visible from above; there are two driveways proposed because of two levels of parking; a community plaza, pedestrian connections, landscaping and lighting are placed in the right-of-way of SE 29th Street, in front of the project. He continued, the identification sign is placed on the Basalt columns, visible as you approach the site; pedestrian paths and lighting is placed around the perimeter of the site; trellises are proposed on the east face, across from the Monaco Villa apartments; the structure is to be concrete with a metal roof, metal clad windows; the penthouse steps back like the hillside; the dumpster is tucked into the hillside, next to the lower garage entry, accessed by tenants from within the garage; there is a back-up space for vehicles to turn around before entering the second parking level; there is a second garage door located inside the second parking level, beyond the guest parking spaces in order to secure resident’s parking spaces. Chin later throughout the Commissioner’s Discussion portion did brief presentations on details of the proposal.

QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT: Chairman McDonald asked how are the guests to know to park in the second level garage; is the outer garage door always going to be open? Chin responded, directional signage will be provided; the door will remain open most of the time. Commissioner Bryant asked how/where does a vehicle approach the building. Chin illustrated the public access from SE 29th Street and explained the work that is proposed in the right-of-way. Chin continued, explaining the color pallet: six different colors/materials are proposed; the interior walls separating each unit will be concrete as well as the exterior shell; metal studs will be used as partition walls; the tallest retaining wall will be approximately 14 feet.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Two testimonies were given: Jerry Gribble, 3264 112th Avenue SE, Bellevue, WA, 98004, is an eighteen year resident of the Monaco Villa Apartments. He stated: the intersection of SE 29th Street and 76th Avenue SE is very busy and off-street parking is a concern involving the entire neighborhood; four-to-six different condominium complexes use the 12 guest parking spaces provided in front of Monaco Villa Apartments, the only parking on 76th Avenue SE; parking will occur on 76th Avenue SE for guests of this proposed project; the angle of the fire lane has been a problem for years; a moving van is continually a problem; the walkway going up to first hill is the only pedestrian access in the vicinity; the Island Habitat complex, located south of Monaco Villa, is tucked into the hill like the proposal tonight and five years after it was built a land slide occurred, costing each condo owner a large amount of money; the hillside is very wet and should be included as part of the review of the project. Dick Larsen, 2906 74th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 stated the following: lives at the top of the hill, above the proposal; would like to know more about the processes involved, such as, the SEPA process and the geo-technical report associated with the building permit; agrees with Jerry Gribble’s comments, especially the wet steep hillside; the Endangered Species Act does exist. Chairman McDonald spoke of the SEPA process purpose, including the environmental issues; Kathy Harbert, Staff Planner, stated the city is the lead agency the collects the comments from various agencies that the SEPA checklist is sent to and stated she would be glad to provide copies of the checklist and any other documentation of the project to him. Dick Larsen asked if he could be sent a building elevation. Kathy Harbert answered, yes.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Dawson asked Chin if he studied the building without the ornamental eyebrow. Chin responded yes and explained the eyebrow will be trellis-like made of metal. Commissioner Wittman disagreed; the eyebrow adds to the building. Commissioner Glick agreed with Commissioner Wittman, that it adds variation to the roofline. Commissioner Wittman stated, the roof overhangs appear stubby; they could be increased somewhat, especially on the west elevation. Chin responded, that could be done. Wittman continued, the east elevation of the penthouse face needs to be broken up as it looks flat. Chin responded, we plan on doing that. Wittman continued, he likes the adoption of the building to the site, the eyebrow and the material pallet. Commissioner Dawson commented on the small-to-medium trees chosen in relationship to the scale of the building, particularly along the north façade; wondering if taller trees would work better with the tall structure. Glenn Takagi, Landscape Architect with Kubota Kato Chin Architects, explained he thought instead, more trees than taller fewer trees would work, but is willing to study that suggestion. Commissioner Laszlo asked if it was true that there is no off-street parking allowed on SE 29th Street. Nancy Fairchild, City Transportation Planner, responded the city will take a look at that; the project exceeds the required amount of parking and noted the Fire Marshal approved the fire access and turning radius. Commissioner Sandler noted that guest parking is a problem on 76th Avenue SE. Chairman McDonald commented that the roof forms are troubling; drainage challenges exist; the two gable roofs overlap; and, hip roof configuration may be a possibility, reinforcing the layering concept. Chin responded, possibly combining the two roofs located on the west corner area could be combined. McDonald continued asking the following to be studied further: the horizontal banding around the masonry; wood trim around the windows appears to be not appropriate on masonry; the entry seems hard to locate, it needs to be more prominent with curb appeal; the concrete base would be fine without any finish. He added, the colors work fine. Commissioner Glick commended the work done; the visual tools (perspective and study model) are very helpful. He added, the front entry does need some work; choice of materials leading to the entry may help. He confirmed the signage is placed on a four feet tall basalt wall with low landscaping. Takagi added, the front area will be treated like a garden. Glick added, a larger species tree behind the basalt wall may work better than the small species. Takagi stated, if a larger species was selected, it would be a sculptured type needing an approximate area of 30 feet. Chairman McDonald inquired about if there are fireplaces, the location of gutters and downspouts. Chin responded, the fireplaces are gas with vents on the exterior and the downspouts would be located along the vertical elements, tucked into corners. Commissioner Bryant asked where the utility meters would be located. Chin answered, the mechanical room in the garage. Commissioner Dawson asked, are there conifers located along the south side. Takagi answered, yes; they are placed to block the views of the parking lot beyond. Chairman McDonald commented it was getting late and spoke of the recommendation to be continued to the next meeting, July 12, 2000. Items to be discussed are to be signage, brick forms, downspouts/drainage, eyebrow detailing and the possibility of a large tree species located near the entry.

MOTION: Commissioner Sandler motioned to continue the review and approval of the Montesano Condominium project to the next meeting, July 12, 2000.

Commissioner Glick seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

Other Business


Meeting Adjourned:
11:22 pm

Council Liaison Report:
Councilman Cairns was absent.

Next Regular Meeting:
June 28, 2000, 7:00pm

OTHER BUSINESS: Commissioner Laszlo will be absent for the next meeting.

[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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