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Wednesday, September 10, 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

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

Staff Present

Gabe Snedeker, Principal Planner; Londi Lindell, City Attorney; Pete Mayer, Director of Parks and Recreation; Paul West, City Parks Arborist; John Scandola, Associate Planner. Richard Hart, Development Services Director, arrived at 10:20 PM.

Minutes

No Minutes.

Regular Business

Action Item #1:The applicant, Cingular Wireless, is requesting design approval for the installation of a wireless communications facility (WCF) to be located in Clise Park on Island Crest Way between SE 39th Street and SE 40th Street. This facility is composed of a 110 tall monopole with three antennas and a buried equipment cabinet. The applicant offered a number of different location options for buried and above ground equipment cabinets and the monopole. This review has been continued from the July 9, 2003 Design Commission meeting.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report. Mr. Scandola indicated that of the various options for cabinet and pole locations, (revised) Pole Option B and Cabinet Option 5 are the best options for ensuring a stealth design of the facility while limiting impacts on trees.

Pete Mayer, Director of Parks and Recreation and Paul West, City Parks Arborist, indicated that they prefer Pole Option D and Cabinet Option 4 since these options will have less impact upon trees than (revised) Pole Option B and Cabinet Option 5. They understand that their preferred options are not as “stealth” as (revised) Pole Option B and Cabinet Option 5. However, their main priority is saving trees. Mr. West also indicated that due to the space needed for shoring walls, intake vents, exhaust valves, and accessing the cabinet for maintenance, the impact area associated with burying the cabinet is greater then when placing the cabinet above ground. He also questioned whether it was possible if the cable lines can be connected through directionally drilling as opposed to trenching.

David Hall, Attorney for Cingular Wireless, 1920 East Calhoun St., Seattle, and Rebecca Hunter and John Hunter of Cingular Wireless, 2445 140th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA, represented the applicant. Mr. Hall indicated that Cingular has considered every conceivable location in the park for the placement of the WCF and they would prefer the original location with an above ground equipment cabinet as proposed at the July 9, 2003 Design Commission meeting. Ms. Hunter reiterated their desire to go with the original option.

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

  • The proposed size of the cabinet and the need for providing an option to expand the equipment cabinet,
  • The City’s view of burying the equipment cabinet and whether the cabinet is the minimum size necessary for their coverage needs,
  • Specific definitions of “stealth design” and “hidden in a grove of trees”.

John Hunter indicated that rapidly changing technologies require the need for capacity expansion for equipment cabinets. He also indicated that they are attempting the hide the tower in the tree canopy as much as possible. However, the facility will not function unless a line of site to the next tower is not available to the associated antennas.

Londi Lindell, City Attorney, stated that the City code requires all equipment cabinets to be buried if it is “physically feasible” to do so. Since she has been determined that it is “physically feasible” to bury the cabinet in Clise Park, the code allows no flexibility in regards to this issue.

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

Arleigh Stein, 4710 81st Avenue SE: Ms. Stein stated that according to the original conveyance deed, the park is to be used for park purposes. She feels that Rosalyn Clise, the individual who conveyed the park to the City, would not agree with this proposed use.

Ira Appleman, 6213 83rd Place SE: Mr. Appleman indicated that the proposed facility is not “hidden in a grove of trees” and does not qualify for “stealth design”.

Rita Moore, 4509 Ferncroft Road: Ms. Moore said that considering the size and nature of Clise Park, the proposed WCF is inappropriate for this location.

George Ma, 8425 SE 34th Place: Mr. Ma feels that Clise Park should be held as open space and he expressed his disappointment that City Council would consider this park as a potential location for a WCF.

Pat Haagen, 8420 SE 33rd Place: Ms. Haagen stated that Bellevue is taking action against locating WCFs near private residences and that Mercer Island should follow suit.

Jane Herman McMahan, 3706 84th Avenue SE: Ms. McMahon indicated that she remembers when the transfer of the park to the City occurred and that special measures where taken to ensure that this park would never be developed. She feels that this proposal violates the conditions of the transfer.

Chairman Glick closed the public testimony portion of the meeting.

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • The need to clarify the statements “hidden in a grove of trees” and “stealth design”,
  • The viability of connecting the cable lines through directional drilling instead of trenching,
  • The required path width needed to access the construction equipment to install the WCF,
  • The feasibility of installing a functioning WCF while making it as stealth as possible.
  • The number of Douglas Fir trees that would be lost by locating the facility at (revised) Pole Option B and Cabinet Option 5,
  • The possibility of allowing a pole that would be taller than the 110’ height maximum,
  • The possibility of collocating another WCF with this facility,
  • Whether the applicant exhausted all of the possibilities for locating the WCF, and
  • The need to show the impact of construction on the trees on the photo simulations.

Motion:
Commissioner Wittman moved, seconded by Vice Chairman Sandler, to approve the proposed Cingular wireless communications facility (DSR03-008) at (revised) Pole Option D and Cabinet Option 5 (with buried equipment cabinet), as presented in the site plans and elevations dated August 8, 2003 and August 25, 2003, and supplementary materials. This decision incorporates the findings of the Staff Reports and the testimony of the July 9, 2003 and September 10, 2003 Design Commission meetings. This decision is in accordance with Section 19.06.040(D)(d) Wireless Communications for Residential Districts – Island Crest Park and Clise Park, of the Mercer Island City Code. This approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. All mitigation measures/conditions contained in the SEPA Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance issued June 4, 2003 shall be adhered to.
  2. The applicant shall submit a tree protection plan that must be approved by the City Parks Arborist prior to the issuance of the building permit.
  3. The two 111’ tall trees adjacent to (revised) Pole Option 5 shall be reduced by no more than 7’ in height and maintained by the applicant at this height in order to ensure minimal interference of antenna frequencies.
  4. The size of the access path for construction equipment and trees that are to be removed for construction must be approved by the City Park Arborist.
  5. The color of the pole shall be changed to a darker green to blend with the coniferous trees in Clise Park.
  6. City Staff shall consider access location and issues for construction and WCF equipment to ensure minimal tree disturbance.
  7. The applicant and City Staff shall analyze the feasibility of moving construction equipment along previously disturbed areas of the park to minimize the impacts on trees.
  8. If feasible, the coaxial cables that connect the antennas to the equipment cabinet and the associated power cables shall be connected to the WCF equipment through directional drilling as opposed to trenching.
  9. The City Park Arborist shall approve all tree removal, mitigation, and tree protection measures. Removed trees shall be replaced at a 2 to 1 ratio or greater, as determined by the City Park Arborist.
  10. Staff shall approve construction sequencing to minimize impacts upon trees and the park in general.
  11. Photo simulations that accurately depict the impact of construction upon the surrounding trees and the approved WCF shall be submitted to the City prior to construction.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-1. Commissioner Dawson dissented..

Vice Chairman Sandler recused himself from the meeting at 10:00 PM due to a potential conflict of interest with Action Item #2.

Action Item #2: The applicant, Paul Aigner Facility Consultants, is requesting Final 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 Shores Retirement Community. This proposed structure will replace an existing 15 unit building with more spacious independent living units. The proposal received Preliminary Design Approval at the June 25, 2003 Design Commission meeting.

John Scandola, Associate Planner, summarized the staff report for the proposed residential building. The City recommended Final Design Approval for this proposal with two conditions.

Todd Kilburn of Sandler/Kilburn Architects, 1661 E. Olive Way, Suite 200, Seattle, WA and Jeffrey Cox of Triad Associates, 11814 115th Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA, represented the applicant. The applicant addressed the issues that the Design Commission discussed at the June 25, 2003 Preliminary Design Review. Their current submittal included brick coursing on the east and west elevations as requested by the Design Commission at the previous hearing. However, the applicant indicated that they would prefer not to incorporate this feature.

The Design Commission asked the applicant questions regarding the propose landscape plan and the submitted form and mass model of the project and the surrounding buildings.

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

Richard Hart, Director of Development Services, arrived at 10:20 PM.

The Commission discussed and debated the following issues:

  • The proposed landscaping plan and how it is an improvement over the previous landscaping submittal,
  • The submitted model and how it is possible to see how the proposed building will relate to the other building on the campus, and
  • How the proposed changes, such as the reduction in mass on the north façade and the implementation of the brick coursing, improve this proposal over the June 25, 2003 submittal.
  • How the proposed brick coursing on the east and west sides of the building is needed to break up the blank spaces on these façades and to add interest to the design.

Motion:
Commissioner Dawson moved, seconded by Commissioner Caditz, to recommend Final Design Approval for the construction of a new residential building for the Covenant Shores Retirement Community (DSR03-007), as presented on the formal site plans and elevations dated July 3, 2003, and supplementary materials. This decision incorporates the findings of the Staff Report and testimony of the September 10, 2003 Design Commission meeting. This decision is in accordance with MICC Section 19.15.040(H). This approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The proposal shall adhere to the conditions listed on the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) issued April 22, 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.

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

Other Business

Director’sComments:
Richard Hart, Development Services Director, indicated that the next scheduled meeting on September 24, 2003, was designated for a Study Session for the Community Center. However, the review of that proposal has been rescheduled so there will be no meeting on September 24th. He also indicated that since Preliminary and Final Design Reviews are not required for public projects, the Community Center will only go before the Design Commission for a Study Session.

Adjourned:
11:00 PM

Council Liaison Report:
None.

Next Regular Meeting:
The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for October 8, 2003 at 7:30 PM.

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