2016 Update to Residential Development Standards - Completed 9/19/2017
What's Happening Now
Residential Development Standards Public Meeting
On November 1, 2017 the adopted changes of the residential development standards, that were approved by the City Council on September 19, 2017, took effect. [Note: The Planning Commission completed its review and transmitted its findings to City Council on June 5, 2017]
Development projects submitted to the City's planning staff prior to November 1, 2017, will be vested under the old regulations.
The City is planning a series of Information Sessions geared towards architects, builders, arborists and other building professionals. These sessions will provide an overview of the new regulations, new process and impacts to projects, with plenty of time to answer questions. The information sessions will have an informal, discussion-based format focused around the topics of interest to those in attendance.
Residential Code Overview: Thursday, November 30, 2017, 4:00 pm in Council Chambers at Mercer Island City Hall
Focus on Trees: Thursday, December 7, 4:00 pm in Council Chambers at Mercer Island City Hall
Residential Code Overview: Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 4:00 pm in Council Chambers at Mercer Island City Hall
What Has Changed in the Code
NEW! - Click here to view the final, full-text adopted changes (9/19/17)
Click here to view a comparison table of the old rules (as of 8/7/2017) and the Proposed Changes (as of Council Review through 8/7/2017).
Click here to read the draft language of the proposed code changes for Residential Development (as of Council Review through 8/7/2017).
Frequently Asked Questions
UPDATED 8/16/17 - Click hereto read or download Frequently Asked Questions, including a summary of proposed changes.
Watch explainer videos
City staff deliver explanations of key changes; all available on the City's YouTube Channel
The Planning Commission is in the process of reviewing the Residential Development Standards, using a policy based review approach described here. Using this approach, the City has developed the following anticipated schedule for review of the Residential Development Standards by individual topics.
October 26, 2016 (Special Meeting) – Community Kickoff Meeting at MICEC (see below)
November 2, 2016 – Initial review of the standards related to Building Design
November 16, 2016 – Initial review of the standards related to single family Site Design and Subdivision
November 30, 2016 (Special Meeting) – Planning Commission is scheduled to address other items (appeals). No review of Residential Development Standards is anticipated on this night
December 7, 2016 – Initial review of the standards related to Trees
December 12, 2016 (Special Meeting) – Initial review of the standards related to the Process associated with development review
January 4, 2017- Second review of Building Design
January 11, 2017 - Community Meeting (see below)
January 18, 2017- Trees and Site Design second review
February 1, 2017- Subdivision and Process second review
February 15, 2017- Planning Commission is scheduled to address other items (appeals). No review of Residential Development Standards is anticipated on this night.
February 25, 2017 - Community Meeting (see below) at West Mercer Elementary
March 1, 2017- Planning Commission is schedule to address other items (appeals). No review of Residential Development Standards is anticipated on this night.
March 15, 2017- Review of complied regulations (start of Final Review)
March 29, 2017 (Special Meeting)- Review of Compiled Regulations
April 5, 2017- (Rescheduled from March 15, 2917) Public Hearing (see below) at MICEC
April 19, 2017- Review and Deliberation of Regulations
May 3, 2017- Review and Deliberation of Regulations
May 8, 2017- Joint City Council/ Planning Commission Study Session
May 17, 2017- Planning Commission Recommendation to City Council
June 5, 2017- City Council Review of Recommendation
June 12, 2017- City Council Public Hearing
June 19, 2017- City Council Review of Recommendation
July 5, 2017- City Council Review of Recommendation (6-9 pm)
April 5, 2017 6:00 pm Public Hearing- Mercer Island Community & Event Center (MICEC)
The City of Mercer Island is considering changes to the rules for building and remodeling homes throughout the island. The Planning Commission is proposing several changes, including:
New limits on house size and bulk
Wider side setbacks between homes
More tree protection
Reduced construction hours
The Planning Commission invites your input on the proposed changes at the public hearing. Please join us!
Click on the links below to download the meeting agenda and materials presented at the meeting: Agenda Powerpoint Presentation
February 25, 2017 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
The Planning Commission hosted a Community Meeting on February 25, 2017 from 9:30 am - 12:00 pm at West Mercer Elementary. The City is updating the rules for building and remodeling homes throughout Mercer Island, potentially including things like building height, size and bulk, yard size, paving and tree protection. The Planning Commission has been meeting since November to review concepts and will make a recommendation to the City Council this spring.
At the meeting the Planning Commission hosted an Open House for community members to review concepts. There was also a presentation by staff giving an overview of the concepts and a question and answer session with the Planning Commission.
January 11, 2017 6:00 - 8:45 pm
The Planning Commission hosted a Community Meeting on January 11, 2017 from 6:00-8:45 pm at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center. The City is updating the rules for building and remodeling homes throughout Mercer Island, potentially including things like building height, size and bulk, yard size, paving and tree protections. The Planning Commission is meeting to review concepts and make a recommendation on residential issues to the City Council in Spring 2017.
The Planning Commission presented preliminary concepts for discussion and input. Participants engaged in small group discussions about the concepts, providing feedback and additional ideas to the Commission.
October 26, 2016 6:30-8:30 pm
The Planning Commission hosted a Community Kick Off Meeting on October 26, 2016 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. This was an opportunity to learn more about the residential development standards, the planned update process and how to get involved.
City staff and the Planning Commission heard from the community about their concerns around the rapidly changing character of Mercer Island’s neighborhoods, based on the following key questions:
What do you love about your neighborhood?
What are some changes you’ve seen in your neighborhood?
How do you see your neighborhood in the future?
Since early 2016, the City of Mercer Island has heard from residents with a variety of concerns regarding residential development and the rapidly changing character of Mercer Island’s neighborhoods. The City Council has tasked staff and the Planning Commission with reviewing the code, gathering public input and recommending code updates to City Council.
At this time, we ask for feedback from residents on the Scope of Work for the code update. So far, the City Council, Planning Commission and staff have developed the following list of items for additional study, and the City is actively seeking suggestions for additional areas of focus.
Please use the comment form link above to make your suggestions.
Gross floor area
Lot coverage (impervious surface)
Minimum lot width and depth
The definition of a single-family residence as related to very large homes (e.g., is a 15,000 sqft house with 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and 3 kitchens a single-family home or something else?)
Lot consolidation / Maximum lot area (impact of creating larger lots resulting in larger homes that are different from the existing neighborhood pattern)
Construction related impacts (hours of operation, parking, length of construction activity, etc.)
Deviations (process and criteria)
Large residential accessory structures and uses (e.g., 30-foot-high gazebos, 12-car garages, etc.)
Enforcement Tools including penalties
Building Permit Process: Public Notice, Public Input, and Right to Appeal
Fence Height Deviations
Time Limit on Validity of Building Permits
Short Plats - Ensuring that short plat process is not circumvented by, for example, applying for a building permit for one part of a lot with the intention of short-platting the property after that permit is granted.