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Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Call To Order

Chairman McDonald called the meeting to order at 7:33 PM.

Roll Call

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

Staff Present

Staff: Kathy Harbert, Richard Hart


Commissioner Wittman pointed out an error on page 5; noting that the motion passed 4-0 because he abstained, instead of passing 5-0. Harbert noted the correction. Commissioner Bryant motioned to approve July 26, 2000 Meeting Minutes; Dawson seconded; Motion Passed Vote 6-0;

Regular Business

ACTION ITEM: (1) File #DSR0006-002 Signage Proposal

APPLICANT: C.S. Sign Corporation (Christian Soltendieck)

SUBJECT: Review and Approval of New Signage for the Storage Court at South Mercer Village

LOCATION: 8501 SE 68th Street

STAFF REPORT Kathy Harbert, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report; two signs are proposed; one is an identification sign and the other is a directional sign for the office location. The business identification sign is proposed within the size limits; but findings are made that the sign does not meet subsection criteria (a) and (c) of Section 19.15.040(H)(5), in terms of color and materials proposed. Harbert read the staff recommendation motion into the record: Staff recommends the Design Commission deny approval for the proposed signs because criteria subsections (a) and (c) of Section 19.15.040(H)(5) have not been met. Staff suggests the applicant redesign their signage submittal to fully meet the criteria setforth in Section 19.15.040(H)(5).

APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Applicant, Christian Soltendieck of C.S. Sign Corporation, 14100 SE 36th Street, Bellevue, disagrees with staff’s findings. They chose a wall sign instead of a monument sign by the street. He represents sign proposals in five states; not a big sign promoter but recognizes business identification needs. The proposed sign is a trademark and is located on ten different sites in the Puget Sound area. The use of the colors and the Keystone cop is part of the trademark and should be consistently used at all sites. QFC is a good example of trademark recognition. It terms of color, who is to say what is compatible or not; blue and gold with putty tones of the building seems to work. The sign is limited to 25 sq. ft.

QUESTIONS FOR THE APPLICANT: Commissioner Bryant asked for clarification on the dimension diagram on Exhibit 2. Soltendieck responded, it is there to explain the square-footage requirement the city has in place. Commissioner Sandler asked, what are the letters made of. Soltendieck answered, acrylic letters illuminated from behind with neon. Chairman McDonald asked where the transformers are for the neon and where is the power coming from. Soltendieck responded, the transformers are mounted on the raceway, painted to match the building; there is existing power available behind the sign; in the first option, the sign background covers the electrical box and transformers. McDonald continued, the purpose of the “Office” sign is questionable; would it be a problem to not have the sign. Soltendieck stated, it would not be a problem; possibly the letters could go by the door instead. McDonald responded, Mercer Island residents will know where the office and storage facility is located. Soltendieck stated, the business is not competing with others on Mercer Island, but the desire is that people know that Mr. VanGard is the facility. Sandy Keyoff, developer/owner/property manager of the complex, stated all the owners of the Storage Court have reviewed and approved the sign proposed.


COMMISSIONER DISCUSSION: Commissioner Wittman commented that the raceway option is the better option; possibly reduce it in scale, permit the colors and not allow the Office sign. Commissioner Laszlo commented the bright yellow is too bright; but it appears to be part of the business. Commissioner Sandler commented, he is dismayed to see the application; it is not in the spirit with the south end of the island; the established character of the south end does not include neon lighting; the office location is presented through the architecture design, so the directional sign is inappropriate; he is sympathetic to the corporate design, maybe the sign could be lit from another source; in summary, he concurs with staff’s recommendation. Commissioner Dawson commented, she is also opposed to the self-lit sign and the color, yellow, chosen; she also concurs with staff’s recommendation.

Commissioner Bryant commented, he agrees with Commissioner Sandler; he was not here when the approval was granted for the storage court complex, but the brightness of the sign is overwhelming; people know the storage court exists; in summary, he concurs with staff’s recommendation. Chairman McDonald remarked, the whole development was presented at South Mercer Villager Island, not as South Mercer Strip. He continued, the colors do not bother him, but the keystone cop is a problem in that most other trademarks do not use a cartoon character; the neon lighting is too much; maybe the cop could be scaled down, using smaller letters also; he likes the raceway option better, but possibly lit from below or above instead; the Office sign should not be allowed.

Soltendieck asked if he could speak; they all agreed. Soltendieck stated, the comments appear to be workable; possibly a halo-lit illumination effect would work better. He explained, the letters and keystone cop needs to be used; he offered the idea, a halo effect would occur around them because they would be solid, not transparent; he expects clear direction tonight and is hearing brightness is a problem, asking if this was correct. Commissioner Dawson stated, the yellow proposed appears to be bright yellow; there was discussion on what the exact color of yellow is being proposed; Sandy Keyoff responded, the yellow would match QFC’s yellow, as well as the blue. Commissioner Wittman asked if color samples and the halo-lit example could be presented. Soltendieck responded, yes to both. Chairman McDonald added, that a night example is needed as well. Commissioner Sandler added, he is receptive to the halo-lit idea and gold color. Chairman McDonald added, the Commission is trying to be specific; what do you think of downsizing; 13-inch letters are fairly large for this business area; 12-inch letters would be better and scale the rest accordingly. Commissioner Dawson asked, could the sign be reduced to fit under the width of the window above; Chairman McDonald responded, it doesn’t bother him if the sign goes past the width of the window. Soltendieck agreed to the 12-inch letters, including the reduction of the cop; scaling the entire sign down approximately 5-10 percent; the colors do not appear to be a problem, but he will supply sample colors that will match QFC’s. Chairman McDonald suggested the “Mr. VanGard” be in-line with the “Storage Court” letters, creating a baseline. Soltendieck stated that would not be a problem. He presented a thought; a background would be needed in order to hide the transformer and the background would then stand out from the wall approximately six inches, plus have six inches around each edge of the sign. Commissioner Sandler responded, once a plaque is used, it takes away from the architectural elements of the building. Chairman McDonald asked if the transformers could be placed behind the cop; Soltendieck responded, shadow lines would occur from the tubes needed to cross to the letters. Commissioner Wittman asked if it could placed in the wall of the building; Soltendieck answered, the building code will not allow it to. Commissioner Sandler added, the Commission does not need to take on the responsibility to design the sign; alternative lighting needs to be reviewed. Commissioner Dawson added, the ranges of gold colors are also in need of review. Sandy Keyoff added, we will forego the office sign.

MOTION: Commissioner Sandler motioned to continue the review of the signage proposal of the business identification sign, in that the applicant has been given direction on submitting a different design, to the September 27, 2000 Design Commission meeting.

Commissioner Dawson seconded the Motion; Motion Passed 6-0.

Other Business


Meeting Adjourned:
9:50 PM

Council Liaison Report:
Councilman Cairns informed the Commissioners of the Sound Transit current discussions; two options are now being discussed; at the next meeting, September 26, 2000, the Steering Committee will make a recommendation of which option to be forwarded to the environmental review process. Also, a City Subcommittee was recently set up to determine what the process will be in putting the Sound Transit proposal to the public for review.

Next Regular Meeting:
September 13, 2000, 7:30pm

OTHER BUSINESS: Commissioner Sandler asked if the City/Design Commission reviews the cabinet installations that utility companies perform. Richard Hart responded, if the Unified Land Development Code addresses them, then the City does. Sandler will pursue specific known sites and work with staff directly. Commissioner Dawson asked if the Metro shelter at South Mercer Village will be replaced; Nancy Fairchild answered, it will be and right now it is under negotiations between the developer, city and Metro. Landscape clearing near the water tank was also discussed; Richard Hart will ask staff if landscaping will be replaced.

[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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