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Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Call To Order

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

Roll Call

Present Commissioners: Dawson, Laszlo, Sandler, Wittman, Chairman McDonald Absent Commissioners: Bryant, Glick

Staff Present

Staff: Kathy Harbert, Richard Hart


No Minutes were reviewed; July 5, 2000 Minutes will be included for review at the next scheduled meeting, July 26, 2000

Regular Business

ACTION ITEM: (3) File #DSR0004-003 Continued From July 5, 2000 Meeting

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, reviewed the items yet to review from the July 5, 2000 meeting: signage, brick forms, downspouts, eyebrow detailing and the possibility of locating a large species tree near the entry. She turned it over to Scott Chin, the project architect.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Scott Chin, Kubota Kato Chin Architects, began by passing out reduced copies of the revised drawings (Exhibit 1), reflecting the comments and requests from the last meeting. He referenced the original plan to compare the following to the revised plan: the north elevation dormers have the tile extending to the ground floor now; an eyebrow was added above the entry pedestrian door, at the same level as the original east-façade eyebrow; another eyebrow was also added to the west elevation entry, but solid instead to provide cover; a larger tree will be proposed at the entry; the windows on the first floor will not be wood, instead a drivit finish or stucco will be used; the horizontal banding on the north and south elevations have been removed from the dormers; he studied the hip roof idea, but with the window locations and wanting to keep the vaulted ceilings, he stayed with the gable roofs. Commissioner Laszlo asked about if the lighting plan had changed on the north elevation. Chin replied, no; there are seven landscape lights, recessed cans above the garage doors plus vertical lights on each side of the garage doors. Commissioner Wittman asked, the westerly bays on the north elevation have a raised clerestory; why not the easterly bays as well; and, did you add the skinny-like windows on the north and south elevations from the last submittal. Chin answered, the drawing has an error; the easterly bays will be the same as the westerly ones; and, no, they were there. Commissioner Wittman stated he likes the eyebrow detailing, banding change and the simplified roofline; he asked, did the overhangs get extended, besides the dormers. Chin answered, they can be extended 2-to-3 inches; Commissioner Wittman added, that amount would help. Commissioner Sandler asked if the sliding doors from the ground floor units have been eliminated. Chin answered, yes. Sandler asked Chin to explain the integration of the granite tile. Chin answered, the tile is a slate, synthetic tile. Sandler continued, explain the green color proposed and how it is integrated with the other colors. Chin responded, they started with the layering concept; using the eyebrow as a strong element, separating the penthouse from the rest of the building; the eyebrow is a painted (green) metal, mimicking the green forest beyond. Commissioner Dawson asked if he was staying with the landscape plan submitted at the last meeting. Chin responded, yes, except for the tree at the main entry. Dawson continued, the trees shown are to be 20-to30 feet in height; taller trees would be better; the pine or cedar up against the building works well. Chairman McDonald added there are no further questions at this time.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Bill Taylor, 4641 86th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, asked if 29th Street SE is a public or private street out in front of the project. Commissioner Sandler responded, he understands it is public; the applicant will be providing a walkway, community plaza and connecting walkway to the public stairs within the public street. Taylor continued, his son lived in the house where the project is and asked the city to clean up the street; the city denied to; he wants the street cleaned up. Chairman McDonald stated, the city is not doing the improvements; the applicant is. Richard Hart added, the developer is spending private funds to do the street improvements; more than what is required by the city.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Dawson complimented Chin, especially the community plaza concept. Commissioner Sandler and Commissioner Wittman had no comments. Commissioner Laszlo agreed with Commissioner Dawson’s comment. Chairman McDonald commended Chin for his improvements made from the last meeting and hopes Chin feels the same way.

MOTION: Commissioner Dawson motioned to approve staff’s recommended motion stated at the July 5, 2000 meeting. She repeated the following for the record:

  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.
  2. Comply with the mitigation measures and conditions of the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) issued for SEPA on June 7, 2000.

Commissioner Laszlo seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 5-0.

ACTION ITEM: (2) File #DSR0002-001

APPLICANT: Nextel Communications

SUBJECT: Design Review and Approval for of a Wireless Communications Facility (WCF)

LOCATION: Right-of-Way of Island Crest Way (4600 Block)

STAFF REPORT: Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report into the record. Applicant is seeking review and approval to collocate antennas on an existing utility pole and to install associated equipment cabinets. Staff finds the design criteria have been met and the findings are documented in the staff report.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: David Hall, attorney with Nextel, began by addressing health issues: the Federal Telecommunications Act requires facilities to retain thresholds to 546 microwatts per square centimeter; this facility will generate far less than one percent of that threshold; local jurisdictions have the authority to regulate facilities if they exceed that threshold. He continued by addressing radio and television frequencies: radio and television operate at a different frequency than WCFs do; none of Nextel’s WCFs cause interference with radio and television; the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has regulations in place to not cause interference. He continued, the panel antennas can be painted along with the coax cable leading to them.

QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT: Commissioner Sandler asked if the equipment cabinets could be placed underground; does practicality fall under feasibility because the code references to place them underground, if physically feasible. Hall answered, the City Engineer did review the plans and Nextel assumed it wasn’t possible because of underground utilities; practicality is included in “physically feasible”. Commissioner Dawson asked if the cabinet will show above the rock wall; George Johnston, consultant of Nextel, answered yes. Dawson continued, (referencing plan sheet A.2) asked if all the equipment can be enclosed in one cabinet. Johnston replied, the meters are on the outside of the cabinet. Dawson asked, can they have their own cabinet. Johnston replied, it is up to the electrical company; landscaping is proposed for screening. Dawson asked him to consider putting the utility board in its own cabinet. Commissioner Laszlo asked how the cabinets will be accessed. Johnston answered, on the north side of the cabinet; Laszlo replied, he would rather see it on the south end; Johnston agreed to doing that. Commissioner Wittman asked if the dark spots on the site plan represent trees to be removed. Johnston replied, yes; but they have been topped by Puget Sound Energy for line clearance purposes. Wittman asked, is the fence shown on the drawing existing; Johnston answered, yes, he believes so. Commissioner Sandler had no questions. Chairman McDonald commented on concerns of the cabinet being visible from both ends, when driving along Island Crest Way.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Bill Taylor, 4641 86th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, expressed that he read the lease, scheduled on the consent agenda, at a City Council meeting; he asks the city to have a standard lease that is not in favor of the leasee. He continued, on June 30th a sign was posted; the public notice was in error, stating a sign was to be built and the meeting began at 7:30; the lease said antennas were to be placed on the pole and included the 10’ X 20’ pad. He was glad to see that more information was provided tonight; he is worried that a 110-foot pole could replace the pole; the lease offered the leasee to end the lease in a short period of time. He has no objections to the proposal, but the lease should give the city options to end the lease also. Chairman McDonald replied, the job of the Design Commission is to look at visual impacts; the City Attorney looks at the lease. Carry Concannon, 4523 90th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, spoke: the notice was not appropriate; health issues exist; there is a lot of people with cancer on her block; multiple antennas could happen, even more than there are today; what is the city getting paid for leasing the right-of-way; Island Crest Way is very busy; where does the truck pull over to park in order to perform maintenance. Floyd Williams, 4545 87th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, spoke: four people have died of cancer on his street, including his wife; he was disappointed with the notice, in that some neighbors did not receive one; if there is no health effects, then tell us that; he wondered why the Yeshiva High School’s antenna was denied or withdrawn. Chairman McDonald responded, the south end of the island permits antennas; the Design Commission has to trust the experts; only visual impacts are considered tonight.

COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Sandler asked staff to provide a map, if possible, of where all antennas are presently located in the city. He continued, it appears conifers are being replaced with deciduous; the winter will have little screening; a stronger landscape plan is needed; what is the maintenance schedule of the cabinets. Hall responded, the maintenance occurs, at the most, once a month; the maintenance person can walk from a side street, not parking on Island Crest Way (ICW); the only reason to park on ICW would be to replace a cabinet, which we would need a street use permit to do so. Commissioner Dawson would like to see a re-submitted landscape plan and access route; more screening is needed, like evergreen shrubs; a mix would be nice to screen the entire area. Johnston stated there are limits to the landscape strip; trees would be better. Commissioner Laszlo asked if the path along the street could be removed, allowing for a larger landscape area. Kathy Harbert replied, internal review will be needed with the Transportation Planner. Commissioner Laszlo continued, the access to the cabinets needs to come from the south, not the north. Commissioner Wittman asked if the location of the cabinets could not be pushed further back into the hillside. Johnston replied, it would impact the residents more. Chairman McDonald asked, if there were any known underground utilities. Johnston replied, he only knew of the gas line. Commissioner Wittman added, Note 1 on the drawing states the line will be re-routed. Commissioner Dawson pointed out that we need to know if the lease locks in the location; we don’t want the cabinets visible. Commissioner Laszlo asked why the fence was there; will it be removed or not. Johnston stated the fence will be replaced. Chairman McDonald stated concerns of how much more WCFs will come; it seems like we need to track the distribution. Richard Hart stated, the ordinance dictates where they are permitted. McDonald continued, at least this one collocates on an existing pole, but more landscape screening is need for the cabinets.

MOTION:Commissioner Sandler motioned to continue the review and approval process in order for the applicant to review the landscape possibilities and to provide a more definite plan to include the following: screening or containing of the utility back board associated with the equipment cabinet; and, denser landscaping proposed on a clear plan. Also, DSG Staff needs to review the path proposal, in that, if it is necessary to include or not, and to pass on concerns to the City Attorney regarding the location of the lease area, whether or not there is flexibility to expand it or not. The meeting is continued to the July 26, 2000 Design Commission meeting.

Commissioner Dawson seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 5-0.

ACTION ITEM: (3) File #DSR9912-003

APPLICANT: Interstate Development Corporation (Gerald Williams)

SUBJECT: Continued from July 12, 2000 Part II Proposal, Island Crest Plaza. Review and Approval for Major New Construction of an Office Building

LOCATION: 8005 SE 28th Street

STAFF REPORT: Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, read the motion into the record from the June 14, 2000 meeting. In summary, the design review and approval of the office building architecture and artwork choice were to be continued to the July 12, 2000 meeting. A new set of plans was mailed in the packet, illustrating changes to the architecture.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Gerald Williams shared new color samples (green and brown) of building materials. Since this is the third time before the Commission, the format of the meeting moved directly to questions for the applicant.

QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT: Laszlo asked the applicant to speak about the clock proposal, whether or not it is lit or electronic. Gerald Williams explained, it is electronic and lit; a No. 9 face was selected at the last meeting; the light would shine up from the ground. Andrew Valente, architect, added, lights above the portico and below would work the best. Commissioner Wittman commended the re-submittal and asked why the roof slopes were increased to 6:12 from 4:12. Gary Williams replied, the view from the street, looking down on the roof was considered. Wittman added, the proportions of the stair tower appear bulky. Valente responded, the site is slender and the stairs and elevation dictate the size of the tower. Wittman added, maybe it is possible to pinch in the walls of the section where the clock is. Valente added, removing the band below the clock may make the clock look taller. Wittman asked, did the colors get looked at for the articulation of the bays; he likes the two smaller terraces; but the repetition of the pattern of the trellis needs to be studied. Valente responded, this proposal is a good preliminary approach; it needs refinement. Chairman McDonald asked for clarification; there is a window located at the edge of the east elevation, by the north deck. Valente responded, the window is misplaced; it would be 6-8” away from the corner. Commissioner Sandler commented, the integration of the south end with the north end needs to be reviewed; let the north elevation become the base for the clock, extending the covering across the front of the clock base possibly; it is a massive building; maybe the roofs could be dropped back to 4:12, leaving the clock at 9:12. Valente added, the roofline is in question if the covered area is extended. Chairman McDonald commented, several of us are struggling with the masses of the roof. Valente asked, is the roof material choice factoring into it. McDonald answered, no, the metal roof is fine; the mechanical equipment appears to be screened. Commissioner Laszlo asked if the mechanical equipment could be covered; Chairman McDonald answered, no, it needs to be open, but holding it to the east wall would assist in screening it. He continued, the hip roof and other changes made are good; just bring the roof back to 4:12. Gerry Williams asked if taking the band off the clock tower was okay. Chairman McDonald responded, stepping back the top portion of the clock and/or turn the band in, so that it is part of the skinnier top. Commissioner Laszlo asked, how tall is the north adjacent building. Gerry Williams answered, the new building will appear one story taller, mainly because of the parking level placed underneath. Chairman McDonald commented, since the clock tower roof is centered, the windows should be centered as well. Commissioner Sandler asked, what is the window glazing going to be. Valente answered, a light tint; possibly an alternative type of window could be used for the west elevation dormers. Chairman McDonald added, the two smaller windows on each side of the large windows could be wider. Valente responded, they will be taller. Commissioner Wittman added, be careful; room is needed between the windows. Chairman McDonald asked, would the band be removed from the south tower if the one on the north tower is removed. Valente said, yes. Commissioner Dawson asked, is it possible to move existing trees that are to be removed to another site. Gerry Williams answered, he would like to do that. Dawson continued, has there been a plant material thought of for the trellis. Valente responded, no, just for the planters.


COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Dawson asked, does the landscaping work on the west area of the clock; effort is being placed on the clock tower; want to make sure landscaping does not interfere and instead, enhance it. Chairman McDonald asked the applicant and other Commissioners if they want to approve it as is or extend it to another meeting; Valente responded, the objectives discussed here tonight can be brought back to the next meeting; Gerry Williams added, he prefers to bring it back in two weeks, at the next meeting.

MOTION Commissioner Wittman motioned to continue the review and approval process to the July 26, 2000 meeting.

Commissioner Dawson seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 5-0.

Other Business


Meeting Adjourned:
10:22 pm

Council Liaison Report:
Councilman Cairns reported on the tree ordinance scheduled to go in front of City Council; steep slope discussions are a part of it; WCFs have not yet been discussed with the City Council, maybe they should be.

Next Regular Meeting:
June 26, 2000, 7:30pm


[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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