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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Call To Order

Chairman Glick requested a brief private meeting with the Design Commission to discuss procedural issues at 7:39 PM. Issues regarding agenda items will not be discussed at this meeting.

Chairman Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:50 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Roll Call

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

Staff Present

Gabe Snedeker, Principal Planner; John Scandola, Associate Planner


Commissioner Bryant moved, Commissioner Dawson seconded, to approve the minutes of June 11, 2003. The minutes were approved by a vote of 6-0.

Regular Business

Action Item #1: The applicant, the Covenant Retirement Community, is requesting Preliminary Design Approval for the construction of a new 34,016 square foot residential building with 20 units and a 20 car underground parking garage for the Covenant Retirement Community. This proposed structure will replace an existing 15 unit building with more spacious Independent Living Units. This retirement facility is located at 9150 North Mercer Way in the MF-3, Multi-Family Zone.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report. City staff recommended Preliminary Design Approval with two conditions.

Paul Aigner of Paul Aigner Facility Consultants, 10900 NE 4th Street, Suite 1560, Bellevue, WA; Todd Kilburn of Sandler Architects, 1000 Lenora Street, Suite 400, Seattle, WA; and Jeffrey Cox of Triad Associates, 11814 115th Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA, represented the applicant. The applicant representatives summarized the relevant issues of this proposal including the design concepts of the building and the landscaping.

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

  • The applicant’s method of determining the building’s average building elevation (ABE),
  • The proposed landscaping and how it will relate to the landscaping of adjacent buildings,
  • How the location of the proposed building will relate to the location of the existing structure,
  • Whether there are building setbacks for multi-family buildings on one campus,
  • The purpose of moving the sidewalk from the North Mercer Way streetscape to the north of the resident drop-off area adjacent the building’s entrance,
  • The width of the temporary parking/drop-off area,
  • The lack of seating next to the entranceway,
  • Whether there will be a model for this proposal and the adjacent buildings,
  • The need for an overall site plan that shows how the buildings of this campus relate to each other, and
  • The retirement community’s plans for the other buildings on campus.

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 size and mass of the north side of the building,
  • The lack of residential scale and the impact of the north façade when viewed from internal site pathways,
  • The blank areas on the east and west sides of the building and how to address these spaces,
  • The need for seating adjacent to the entranceway,
  • The possible use of a model to show the relationships of this building to adjacent structures,
  • The relationship of screening, landscaping, pedestrian access, and amenities between buildings,
  • The need for an overall site plan of the entire campus, and
  • The nature of the roof deck lawn between the proposed building and the Lighthouse Building to the south.

The primary concerns of the Commissioners are the scale of the north side of the building and how this structure and its landscaping will relate to the adjacent buildings.

Anne Arakaki-Lock, Administrator for Covenant Shores, expressed concern over the Design Commission’s request for the retirement community’s future plans for the other buildings on campus. She felt that this information could unnecessarily spark concerns from some of the elderly residents.

Motion: Commission Dawson moved, seconded by Commissioner Bryant, to recommend Preliminary Design Approval for the construction of a new residential building for the Covenant Retirement Community (DSR03-007), as presented on the formal site plans, drawings, and elevations date stamped May 8, 2003, and supplementary materials. This decision incorporates the findings on the Staff Report and testimony from the June 25, 2003 Design Commission meeting. This decision is in accordance with MICC Section 19.15.040(H). This approval is subject to the following condition:

  1. The applicant shall adhere to the conditions listed on the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) issued June 10, 2003.
  2. Submission of a landscape security agreement in the amount approved by the Development Services Group for two years from the date of certificate of occupancy inspection.
  3. A site plan showing the proposed building on the site in relation to the existing building shall be provided.
  4. Consider modifying the design of the building in order to reduce the mass of the building from the north, east, and west. This modification could involve recessing the top residential level to accomplish a terraced effect.
  5. Examine using landscape treatments to help mitigate massing concerns when viewing the north side of the building from internal site pathways.
  6. Provide seating options next to the entranceway in addition to the proposed benches south of the drop-off area.
  7. Consider submitting a form and massing model of the proposed building that includes the three surrounding buildings (the Lighthouse, the Tradewinds, and Health Center), and topography.
  8. Provide a site plan that includes all buildings, landscaping, pedestrian areas, grade changes, lighting, and related features between North Mercer Way, Fortuna Drive, and lower Fortuna Drive. This area should focus on the proposed building and the three adjacent buildings.
  9. Consider breaking up the blank spaces on the east and west facades by continuing the brick coursing from the north elevation or through some other decorative feature.
  10. Submit additional information regarding how the average building elevation (ABE) was established. This method must adhere to city standards.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-0-1 (one abstention)

Other Business

Director’s Comments:

Council Liaison Report:
Councilman Cairns indicated that City Council unanimously voted in favor of the most recent Community Center Proposal. The cost for proposal has been estimated at approximately $13.1 million and should not require an increase in taxes or fees. City Council has not yet voted on the expansion of the Sound Transit Park and Ride. However, there has been a verbal agreement regarding this proposal between the City and Sound Transit and Sound Transit has agreed to pay for this expansion.

Next Regular Meeting:
The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for July 9, 2003 at 7:30 PM. The agenda items will be Preliminary Design Review for the new Metropolitan Market and Design Review for a WCF in Clise Park.

Commissioner Absences:
Commissioners Bryant and Dawson indicated that they are unable to attend this meeting.

Meeting Adjourned:
9:46 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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