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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Call To Order

Chairman Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:40 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

Carl Bryant, Bryan Caditz, Marcia Dawson, and Chairman Fred Glick were present. Julie Parsons, Vice Chairman Norm Sandler, and George Wittman were absent.

Staff Present

Richard Hart, Development Services Director; John Scandola, Associate Planner

Agenda Change

Commissioner Dawson moved, seconded by Commissioner Bryant, to add to the agenda a discussion with Jimmi Maulding of the Maintenance Department regarding the maintenance and replacement of trees in the Town Center. No official action is to be taken. The proposed agenda change was approved by a vote of 4-0.


Commissioner Dawson requested an addition to the minutes for the meeting of May 14, 2003. She stated that in the Design Commission questions of the applicant during the Study Session, a question was left out that addressed the appearance of the roof from the west and the Mercer Island Care and Rehabilitation Facility. Chairman Glick stated that Design Commission also provided the suggestion that a pedestrian master plan should include plazas. Commission Bryant moved, Commissioner Caditz seconded, to approve the minutes of May 14, 2003 with the two changes mentioned above. The minutes were approved by a vote of 4-0.

Regular Business

Discussion (No action to be taken): Jimmi Maulding, Right-of-Way Maintenance Manager, addressed the Design Commission regarding the City’s policy of tree maintenance and planting in the Town Center. The Commission asked questions regarding the City’s policy for determining which trees to plant and their vision for future plantings. This is especially important considering the upcoming projects planned for the Town Center. Ms. Maulding presented to the Commission a Mercer Island Tress List dated fall 2002. This list documented various planting options for the Town Center.

Action Item #1: The applicant, Neon Sign Systems, is requesting design review for the installation of an internally lit identification sign for Sahara Pizza located at 8425 SE 68th Street, #104 in the Planned Business Zone (PBZ).

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report. Mr. Scandola indicated that the Town Center Development and Design Standards have been recently updated and a new provision prohibits “internally lit box signs”. The city has solicited interpretations of “internally lit box signs” from architects and sign manufacturers and these interpretations vary. Under a strict interpretation of the code, the proposed sign would be prohibited. However, any approval should be subject to the Design Commission’s interpretation of this provision and any subsequent conditions to be imposed.

Nick Clay, 6606 Ursula Place, Seattle, WA, represented the applicant. Mr. Clay indicated that the industry standard definition of an “internally lit box sign” is a four-sided sign that emits light from its entire face. Since the face of the proposed sign is opaque and light emits only from the letters, this is not an “internally lit box sign”, according to his interpretation. Therefore, the proposal should be approved.

The Design Commission asked the applicant questions regarding the following issues:

  • The proposed location of the sign,
  • The size and scale of the sign, its lettering, and which portions are internally lit,
  • How it will be attached to the building, and
  • Alternative designs other than a rectangular box shape.

Chairman Glick opened the public testimony portion of the meeting and there were no comments. The public testimony portion was closed.

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • The definition of an “internally lit box sign” and whether the proposed sign fits this definition,
  • An appropriate location for this sign,
  • How this sign should be attached to the retail façade,
  • The size and scale of the sign and its lettering in relation to the size of the retail space,
  • The accuracy of the elevations showing doors, windows, and wall space,
  • Alternate designs and materials that could be employed for a sign shape other than a rectangular box, and
  • The need for accurate color samples.

Motion: Commissioner Bryant moved, seconded by Commissioner Dawson, to continue the design review for the proposed Sahara Pizza sign (DSR03-006) to the June 11, 2003 Design Commission meeting. The Commission requested that the applicant shall return with a sign proposal that addresses the following issues:

  1. Provide a current building façade elevation with proposed sign location that accurately depicts the new location of the windows and entranceway of the retail frontage.
  2. Consider reducing the size of the sign so it is more proportional with the size of the retail frontage and other signs in the complex.
  3. The size of the letters should be reduced to 6” in height to better fit a smaller sign and the size of the retail space.
  4. Change the proposed location of the sign. Possible locations include the building façade over the entranceway or hanging the sign from the roof canopy that covers the entranceway.
  5. The shape and style of the sign shall be modified so it is no longer a rectangular “internally lit box sign”. If the shape of the sign remains a rectangle, then it shall not be internally illuminated.
  6. The applicant shall provide color samples that accurately depict all colors of the sign.

The motion passed by a vote of 3-1.

Other Business

Director’s Comments:

Council Liaison Report:

Next Regular Meeting:
The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for June 11, 2003 at 7:30 PM.

Commissioner Absences:
All Commissioners indicated they could make the next meeting.

Meeting Adjourned:
9:15 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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