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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Call To Order:

Chairman Glick called the regularly scheduled Design Commission meeting to order at 7:33 PM in the Council Chambers, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington. 


Roll Call:

Chairman Fred Glick, Commissioners Marcia Dawson, Lucia Pirzio-Biroli, Callie Ridolfi and George Wittman were present.  Chairman Glick and Commissioner Bryan Caditz were absent.


Staff Present:

Shelley Krueger, Associate Planner.



Commissioner Dawson moved, Commissioner Wittman seconded, to approve the minutes of September 22nd, 2004.  The minutes were approved by a vote of 5-0.




1.       Study Session: The applicant, R.W. Thorpe and Associates for the Mercerwood Shore Club, requested a Study Session for addition a pool “bubble” cover, height addition to the adjacent mechanical building, a replacement sign, fencing for a dumpster, and landscaping additions. 


Shelley Krueger, Associate Planner for the City, summarized the staff report.  The site is located at 4150 East Mercer Way.  The proposed pool bubble is 7,168 square feet and 30 feet tall and is proposed to be mounted to the pool deck from October 1 to May 15 of each year.  The proposed sign would replace the existing sign at the entrance to East Mercer Way.  The sign would be the same size as the existing sign, but would incorporate a logo.  The dumpster fencing was a condition of the Conditional Use Permit, and the additional landscaping is intended to screen the view of the pool bubble from adjacent neighbors. 


Ms. Krueger directed the Design Commission to provide design suggestions to the applicant.  Staff suggestions included:

·         Examine possibilities to reduce the height of the proposed bubble.

·         Examine techniques to mitigate the visual effects of bulk and scale of the pool bubble in relation to the existing structures.  This may involve use of color, additional landscaping, or supplementary structures.  A dark green bubble would blend better with the environment and color scheme of existing buildings.  

·         The proposed landscaping between the pool bubble and the neighboring properties to the north should incorporate more fast-growing species of shrubs to achieve a screen sooner. 

·         Incorporate a solid gate for the front of the trash enclosure and paint the enclosure either light or dark brown to match existing structures on site.

·         The replacement sign should incorporate a face painted light brown or beige to match other structures on site.  The combination of dark blue letters and green logo is the preferred option.

·         All proposed changes shall be consistent with the Conditions of Approval in DEV04-004 and CUP04-001.


Jennifer Dischinger of R.W. Thorpe and Associates gave the applicant presentation.  Ms. Dischinger presented visual examples of photo montages and explained the proposed changes.  She explained that the purpose of the pool cover is to provide year-round use of the outdoor pool.  The pool bubble would be mounted on the deck from October 1 through May 15 of each year and removed for the summer.  Paul Von Destinon, manager of the Mercerwood Shore Club, and Bob Speidel, a board member at the Mercerwood Shore Club, assisted in explaining the project to the Design Commission. 


The Design Commission had the following suggestions for the applicant to consider at preliminary design review:

·         Clarify if the material is translucent and light will shine through at night.

·         Demonstrate the visual impact the pool bubble will have from adjacent properties and Lake Washington and in the winter.  This could be done with view studies from the Lake, adjacent properties, the street above, and the clubhouse.

·         Provide a view study of the visual effect of the Thuja hedge on the south side of the pool and effect on views if it is allowed to grow higher.

·         Consider a lighting scheme or other techniques to lower the height of the bubble (ex. Ground lights pointed up inside the bubble translates to less necessary overhead clearance).

·         Consider colors for the bubble other than white (beige, green, match the building color).

·         Preference for matte material instead of glossy

·         Continue to work with neighboring properties to achieve a mutually acceptable level of screening; may want to contact additional neighbors prior to advertisement of preliminary design review hearing.   

·         Seek feedback from club members on the color of the bubble.

·         Verification of the dimensions of the sign, including dimensions of lettering and logo.

·         Consideration of a stronger base for the sign than the current wood 4x4 posts.

·         Consider an accessory structure to the bubble such as a trellis or steel frame and cable structure.  Such a structure will add permanence to the bubble and improve scale and context with existing architecture.

·         Staff shall provide a Code definition of “building” and “structure” at the preliminary design review stage.


The applicant stated that the decision to propose the bubble came about as a result of club member requests and extensive discussions by the board.  The associated equipment would be approximately the noise level of an air conditioner and would be placed behind a new solid door inside the mechanical building, which would fulfill the CUP condition.  The applicant also provided color samples to the Design Commission, including a sample in green and one in beige. 


The applicant questioned whether the design should favor view protection or functionality and screening.  Staff responded that the code does not list view protection as a criterion of design review.  The applicant also asked if another Study Session is desirable.  Staff and commissioners responded that if the design is similar, but modified, preliminary design review could be the next step.  If the applicant wishes to propose an alternative design, a Study Session could work well. 


Commissioners noted appreciation for the Shore Club’s cooperative work to date with the Halls, an adjacent neighbor to the north.  





Council Liaison Report:

The Council Liaison was absent.


Director’s Comments:

Richard Hart stated that the Council Liaison has been absent from several meetings because of conflicting subcommittee meetings.  He has been in contact with staff and is keeping abreast of items that have come before the Design Commission.


The City Council addressed the Outside the Town Center Design Regulations at the regular Monday, October 11 meeting.  There was a motion for approval with two minor changes, which received a vote of 3-3 for the item, and therefore it was not passed.  The primary concerns were that the regulations are too long, detailed, and prescriptive and favor the voice of a few people over many others’.  Options to review the proposed regulations include recommendation by the City Manager and Mayor to have staff address the concerns, a majority of the City Council could require the item to be placed before the Council again, or staff could work with the individuals regarding specific concerns. 


Next Regular Meeting:                                                                                                    

The next Design Commission meeting is scheduled for October 27th at 7:30 PM.  The French American School is requesting two modifications to the approved design.    


Commissioner Absences:                                                                                                

All Commissioners indicated that they could attend the next meeting.


Adjournment: 9:30 PM.


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