Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA)
Mercer Island Center for the Arts is a Washington State nonprofit corporation and registered 501(c)3 organization formed to promote arts performance, exhibition and education on Mercer Island. The organization is advocating for the construction of a 28,300 square feet facility located on City-owned land in the northwest corner of Mercerdale Park, just south of Town Center.
MICA is in the beginning stages of obtaining approvals to construct the facility, which would include performance spaces, classrooms, and storage space for the Mercer Island Farmers Market. There are a number of steps required in the City’s review process before approval of the project can be considered - see below.
For visualizations of the project and other design details, the City directs readers to MICA's Website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to read a list of common questions about the decision-making process, land-use, building permits, etc.
City Review Process
The proposed MICA facility is subject to several permit, environmental and legal considerations, summarized here:
Environmental Review (SEPA) (File SEP16-015): The proposal is currently undergoing a review of its potential environmental impacts. This review is subject to the requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and City Codes. An applicant completes an “environmental checklist” which is then reviewed by City staff and the City’s outside consultants.
The outcome of a SEPA review is a determination of whether the proposal will have: 1) No environmental impacts needing mitigation (called a “Determination of Non-Significance” or DNS); 2) Some environmental impacts which can be adequately mitigated through changes to the proposal (called a “Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance” or MDNS); or 3) Probable significant adverse environmental impacts (called a “Determination of Significance” or DS, which then requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement or EIS).
Zoning Code Text Amendment (ZTR16-002): MICA has also requested an amendment to the City’s development code (zoning code) to support the proposed project. The proposed project would be in the Public Institution (“P”) zone. The proposed amendments to the P zone rules and regulations would modify Mercer Island City Code (MICC) chapter 19.05 to allow a center for the arts in Mercerdale Park, with primary uses of theatre, lecture hall, classroom, performing studio, visual arts studio, exhibition gallery, gathering and meeting spaces, café and bar, and accessory functions thereof. The amendment would also allow parking for the center for the arts to be located off-site.
Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA16-001): MICA has also requested an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The amendment was requested as a “placeholder” in case an amendment is needed to support the proposed project. At this time, there are no specific amendments proposed but amendments could be identified by mid-2017.
Future Permits and Approvals Needed: In addition to the items described above, future permits and approvals needed for the proposed MICA project would include a lease from the City, a subdivision that creates a separate parcel of land for the lease area (required by State law), and various construction permits. More information on each of these processes will be added when details are available.
Due to the scope of this proposed project and the significant level of community engagement on the topic, the City receives many requests for related permitting and planning information.
For efficiency, the City has provided some links to key project documents on this page, and an FAQ page. For other items, residents are asked to submit a Public Records Request in person or online.