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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Call To Order:

Chairman Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:30 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington. 


Roll Call:

Chairman Fred Click, Vice Chairman Norm Sandler, Marcia Dawson, Bryan Caditz, Callie Ridolfi, and George Wittman were present.  Carl Bryant was absent.  Staff present was Gabe Snedeker, Principal Planner.



Vice Chairman Norm Sandler moved, and Callie Ridolfi seconded, to approve the minutes of December 10, 2003 as submitted.  The minutes were approved by a vote of 6-0.


Regular Business:


1.   Action Item #1: Study Session (No action to be taken): The applicant, Miller/Hull Partnership for the Mercer Island City Council, proposes to construct a new 42,400 square foot, multi-purpose community center facility consisting of two levels, improved auto ingress and egress, and parking for 222 vehicles.  The main level includes a main lobby/gallery space, program/meeting space, and administrative offices.  The lower level includes a gymnasium, fitness, and dance area.  This proposal includes minor renovations and upgrades to Building ‘D’. 


Pursuant to MICC 19.15.040(D)(4), Consultants or city officials charged with the design responsibility for a capital improvement shall hold preliminary discussions on the proposed project with the design commission to obtain its preliminary recommendations as to aesthetic, environmental and design principles and objectives.  This previous meeting was held on October 22, 2003.  The January 13, 2003 meeting involves the review and recommendation of 100% Design Development Drawings for the New Community Center at Mercer View in accordance with Section 19.15.040(D(4) of the Mercer Island City Code. 


Gabe Snedeker, Principal Planner, summarized the staff report.  Mr. Snedeker reviewed the previous comments and suggestions made by the Design Commission at the October 22, 2003 meeting and discussed the changes made by the applicant. 


Bob Hull and Amy DeDominicis of Miller/Hull Partnership, 911 Western Avenue, Room 220, Seattle, WA; Todd Black of The Portico Group, 217 Pine Street, Seattle, WA; and Andrew Golding of Andrew Golding Sign Consultants, 1056 25th Avenue E., Seattle WA, and Mark Davies of SvR Design Company, 815 Western Avenue, Suite 400, Seattle WA, represented the applicant. 


The applicant team summarized the following:

§         Changes made to the project in response to October 30, 2003 letter that outlined the Design Commission recommendations

§         Changes made to the project in response to the value engineering study

§         Changes made in response to client requests

§         Changes made to the proposed water quality and quantity control facilities

§         Overall site layout, the building design, exterior materials, signage, and how the revised building relates to the landscaping, topography, and the surrounding land use.


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

§         Acoustical considerations regarding restrooms near the entrances

§         Access to the senior daycare area

§         Visual access to gym

§         Integration of artwork with proposed building corridors

§         Necessity of proposed “v-bracing” on the SE terrace windows

§         Design of proposed stormwater control and treatment facilities

§         Sound issues from the proposed mechanical equipment

§         The material to be used for the pedestrian path that leads to the pea patch

§         Botanical names and sizes of proposed landscape plantings

§         Possible plan for a demonstration garden using native plants

§         The possibility of using tile faced-masonry instead of the proposed concrete and CMU blocks

§         Details of proposed signage

§         Calculation of bike rack capacity

§         Details on the trail to Luther Burbank Park from the CCMV


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


John Rose, 3066 67th Avenue SE: Mr. Rose indicated that he felt the entry design was slowly improving.  He commented that the proposed community center will be 37,000 square feet and not 42,000 square feet, a figure which includes Building D.  He also indicated that the landscaping plan still needed work, the proposed use of corrugated steel was not desirable, and that he believed the drawings contained an error in the way the path up to the pea patch was shown.  Finally, he questioned the cost of refurbishing Building D given the anticipated 5 year projected life span.


John Ewald, 4103 Boulevard Place:  Mr. Ewald stated that he was pleased that many of the previous suggestions made by the citizens in the community and Design Commission had been incorporated into the project.  He was especially pleased how the pulling back of the slope near the intersection of 84th and 24th would create a desirable transition on the site between the neighborhood and the new CCMV.


The Design Commission offered the following suggestions to the applicant for this proposal:



§         Continue the design study of the main entrance area, including window fenestration.  The new roof works well, but the other elements of the main entrance need additional work.

§         The north elevation, including mechanical equipment location, needs additional design study.

§         The Commission expressed support for the design of the roof and asked the design team to increase the number of times the proposed roof expression concept occurs.

§         A majority of the Design Commission expressed support for the color, texture and use of the jumbo brick exterior material.

§         Consider creating a secondary pedestrian connection to the patio of the senior daycare area.

§         Study the expected noise of the mechanical units on the west façade of the gym and consider switching or otherwise adjusting the location of the outdoor storage and mechanical units as necessary to improve the ambiance of this patio area.




Interior Design

§         Location and design of the multipurpose room and kitchen are awkward.  Consider a more rectangular shape for the kitchen.  The Design Commission acknowledged the inherent challenges to designing this area. 

§         Study ways to add more natural light to the gallery area.

§         Improve and enhance the views from the gallery area to the east.

§         Examine increasing the number and size of the view openings from the gallery to the gym.


Pedestrian Connections

§         Re-examine the pedestrian connection point to Luther Burbank Park.  A larger landing is needed.  Focus on finding the optimum point for this connection.  Consider alternatives that break up the stair sections instead of creating a long straight run of stairs.

§         Reintroduce the “circle” path and planting area that was located between the parking lot, hill, and the western façade of the gym of the design development drawings.  The Commission felt that this feature created a very strong connection between these features on the site.



§         The Commission complimented the design team on work that has been done on the landscaping on the southeast portion of the site.  The Commission felt that the design created a variable desirable transition between the building and the corner of 84th Ave. SE and SE 24th St.

§         Paving and design of landscaping at the entrance needs additional design work.  Consider making the arrangement of the planters less formal and perhaps more whimsical to be more consistent with the overall design of the facility.

§         Expand the removal of cottonwoods on the site.

§         The Commission appreciates the juxtaposition of the parking lot and enhanced hillside landforms in the design.  Take advantage of the hill landform created by the need to balance cut and fill on the site.  Consider placing a view structure on the hill.

§         The Commission appreciates the design team returning to the 2” caliper trees.  These larger trees will have more of a positive visual impact, better screen the facility from the surrounding residences, and provide a more aesthetic street appearance. 

§         The Commission likes how the landscape trees express axis and direction and would like to see this strengthened if possible.  The Commission would like to see two additional trees placed in the parking lot landscape islands near the main entrance of the building on the same axis as the trees in the entry plaza to provide a visual gateway for autos and pedestrians.


Special Features

§         The Commission expressed strong support for the bioswale method of water quality treatment and would like to see a naturalistic form that echos the shape of the ADA pathway into the main entrance.  Take advantage of the interpretive and natural landscape design opportunities created by the bioswale.

§         Consider using more native plant material and “green” landscaping.

§         The Commission felt that the integration of the signage with the entrance design needs additional work.


Staff will prepare a letter to the project architect and City Council that reflects the Design Commission recommendations listed above.



Other Business:


Director’s Comments:                    None  

Council Liaison Report:                  None

Next Regular Meeting:                   The next Design Commission meeting, scheduled for January 28, 2004 at 7:30 PM will be cancelled due to a lack of agenda items.  The City has not received any new design review applications warranting the Commission’s immediate attention.  

Commissioner Absences:              None

Adjournment:                                10:30 PM


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