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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Call To Order

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

Roll Call

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

Staff Present

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


Commissioner Wittman requested a change to the minutes for the meeting of July 9, 2003. Commissioner Wittman indicated that the Conditions of Approval should also include that the applicant must provide additional detail of the stucco expansion joints for the proposed Metropolitan Market. Vice Chairman Sandler moved, Commissioner Wittman seconded, to approve the minutes of July 9, 2003 with the change mentioned above. The minutes were approved by a vote of 4-0.

Regular Business

Action Item #1:The applicant, M5 Investments, is requesting design approval of minor modifications to the exterior and roof elements for the Newell Court mixed-use project to be located at 3011 78th Avenue SE. This project was originally approved by the Design Commission on January 9, 2002. The proposed modifications are as follows: reducing the number of pitch roof elements from 10 to 5, changing the roof material from metal to composition shingle, replacing the portion of the stucco exterior with metal siding, pushing the corner elements out 12” from the face of the structure, simplifying the cornice elements and horizontal band along the second floor, replacing the tile cladding below the commercial windows with concrete planters, modifying the deck railing, eliminating a deck on residential units that have two decks, and eliminating the landscaping on the upper floors and the radius portion of the entranceway canopy.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report. City staff recommended approval of the proposed modifications with four conditions.

Roger Newell, Roger Newell Architects, 1102 19th Ave. E, Seattle, WA, and George Ma, 8425 SE 34th Place, represented the applicant. Mr. Newell indicated that due to the cost of the land and the poor condition of the soils, it was not possible to build the project on budget and these modifications would help cut costs. He also indicated that they may not be replacing the previously approved stucco exterior with metal siding since the metal will be more expensive than the stucco.

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

  • Whether the applicant will be replacing the stucco with metal siding,
  • How to address the potential lack of modulation, articulation, and the impact on the mass and scale of the project,
  • The impact of the modifications to the pedestrian street frontage,
  • Signage possibilities for the retail level,
  • The changes to the deck railing, and
  • The reason for removing the radius canopy at the entranceway.

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

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • The problem of reducing the level of articulation and modulation, which will increase the perceived mass of the building, and eliminating certain design features that added visual interest and a level of sophistication to the original proposal,
  • The change of roof materials from metal to composition shingle
  • The simplification of the cornice detail and the deck railing design,
  • The proposal to push out the corner elements of the building 12” while eliminating the 12” recess of the adjacent wall portions along the east and west facades.
  • The impact of replacing the tile cladding underneath the retail windows with concrete planters on the project’s pedestrian orientation,
  • The proposed elimination of the entranceway canopy,
  • Reducing the number of pitched roof elements and how this will impact the perceived scale and “blockiness” of the building from the north and south,

Roger Newell indicated that the proposed modifications should have little impact upon the perceived scale and mass of the building and should not alter the architectural integrity of the project.

George Ma stated that these modifications will only account for 26% of the budget short fall and that this project will likely not be built this year if there is any further delay.

Motion: Commissioner Dawson moved, seconded by Vice Chairman Sandler, to continue the Design Review of the proposed minor modifications of the exterior and roof elements (DSR03-014) of the Newell Court mixed-use project to a future Design Commission meeting. The applicant shall return to the Design Commission with a submittal that is as close as possible to the previously approved proposal with emphasis on massing and exterior details.

Commissioner Dawson moved, seconded by Commissioner Sandler, to amend the original motion to continue the Design Review of the proposed minor modifications of the exterior and roof elements (DSR03-014) of the Newell Court mixed-use project to the August 13, 2003 Design Commission meeting.

The amendment to the original motion passed by a vote of 4-0.

The amended motion passed by a vote of 4-0,

Action Item #2: The applicant, Nextel Wireless, is requesting approval to add two antennas to an existing Nextel wireless communications facility (WCF) located behind the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) facility located at 8477 SE 68th Street. These antennas will be attached to an existing 60’ tall monopole that currently accommodates a Nextel WCF.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed installation of the two antennas. The City recommended approval of the WCF proposal.

Steven Topp, the Alaris Group, 1530 Westlake Avenue N, Suite 600, Seattle, WA, represented the applicant and made a short presentation.

The Design Commission had no questions for the applicant.

Chairman Glick opened the public testimony portion of the meeting and there were comments from the following citizen:

Jim Peterson, 6815 84th Avenue SE: Mr. Peterson indicated that any proposed addition to this facility will have a negative visual impact from SE 68th Street. However, Mr. Peterson was under the impression that the proposed antennas were to be added to the 130’ tall facility to the west of the 60’ tall Nextel facility. After this issue was clarified, he stated that he had no issues with the proposal.

Chairman Glick closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

Motion: Commissioner Wittman moved, seconded by Commissioner Dawson, to approve the WCF proposal to add two antennas to an existing Nextel wireless communications facility (DSR03-015), as presented in the site plans and elevations dated June 12, 2003, supplementary materials, and testimony from the July 23, 2003 Design Commission meeting. This decision is in accordance with the Mercer Island City Code Section 19.06.040(D)(1)(b) and 19.06.040(E). This approval is subject to the following condition:

  1. The proposal shall be consistent with the information included with this application (ie. size, color, and location) submitted June 12, 2003.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-0.

Other Business


Meeting Adjourned:
9:15 PM

Council Liaison Report:
Councilman Cairns stated that citizens have expressed concern to the City Council about the proposal to install a wireless communications facility (WCF) in Clise Park. He also indicated that City Staff and the Design Commission should keep in mind that the City Code allows for two monopoles in the park when approving the placement and design of these facilities.

Next Regular Meeting:
The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for August 13, 2003 at 7:30 PM, if a quorum is available. Otherwise, the next meeting will be on August 27, 2003.

Commissioner Absences:
At least three Commissioners indicated that they could not attend the next meeting. It is possible that there will not be a quorum for this 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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