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Design Commission

The Mercer Island Design Commission was established in 1972 as an advisory board to the City Council with regulatory power on matters related to design in the City's commercial, office and multi-family residential areas. Specifically, its mission is to promote quality community design and enhance construction and maintenance practices that will create an aesthetically attractive, easily accessible and economically healthy environment throughout Mercer Island.

The Town Center Design and Development Requirements are the regulatory mechanism for implementation of the city's policies for the Mercer Island Central Business District. Those policies were articulated in a series of planning programs beginning with the Citizen's Vision in 1993, the Comprehensive Plan adoption in 1994 and the Town Center Plan also developed in 1994.

As envisioned by the city's policies, the Town Center District is intended to be a place of diverse land uses within an aesthetically attractive, easily accessible and economically healthy environment. A range and mix of commercial, service, public and residential land uses is to be encouraged. The primary focus of commercial uses is intended to be in the core of the Town Center. Residential uses are encouraged especially in mixed-use projects as well as being expected to replace existing commercial uses over time in the periphery of the Town Center.

The urban design vision for the Town Center is a pedestrian scale environment. Pedestrian scale is created through limiting building height, locating structures adjacent to streets and sidewalks and providing parking underground or well placed at the rear and behind structures. The historical, primary access to the area by automobile is maintained. Quality designed structures and site features create visual interest that encourage greater pedestrian and transit use.

In addition, city design guidelines also apply to all other business, office and multi-family residential construction outside of the Town Center, as well as schools and public facilities in residential neighborhoods.

Member Info

Seven citizens comprise the board which is staffed by the Community Planning & Development Department. Of its seven members, one shall be selected from each of the professions of architecture, urban planning and civil engineering, and at least two lay members. A majority of the members shall be residents of Mercer Island.

Members are recommended to four-year terms by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor subject to appointment by the City Council. A Councilmember serves as liaison to the Commission. In making appointments, the Mayor shall seek to appoint persons who are knowledgeable in matters of design and aesthetic judgment by virtue of training, education, and/or experience, and who possess qualities of impartiality and broad judgment.

The Design Commission meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall.

Questions? Contact the Planning Manager for Community Planning & Development at or 206.275.7706.

Length of Term
2nd & 4th Wednesday at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall
Four Years Running June 1 - May 31

Email Address
Term Begin
Term End
Colin Brandt   Vice-Chair   11/21/2011   05/31/2022  
Richard Erwin   Chair   06/18/2012   05/31/2021  
Claire McPherson   Commissioner   09/04/2018   05/31/2020  
Anthony Perez   Commissioner   06/06/2016   05/31/2020  
Thomas Soeprono   Commissioner   09/04/2018   05/31/2023  
Suzanne Zahr   Commissioner   06/05/2017   05/31/2021  

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