News briefs | Plastic bag ban to go into effect on Earth Day, Legacy project won't break ground till spring

Plastic bag ban will go into effect on Earth Day

Mercer Island’s plastic bag ban will go into effect in roughly 60 days. City council passed ordinance 13C-13, which regulates retail carryout (a.k.a. ‘checkout’) bags late last year. By limiting wasteful single-use plastic bags, the city’s ordinance is intended to:

Reduce plastic litter in the cherished and vital aquatic environment that completely surrounds the island;

Minimize harm to fish and other marine animals; and

Encourage consumers to purchase more sustainable, long-lived, reusable bags.

Plastic bags do not biodegrade, instead breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces that are often consumed by filter-feeders, shellfish, fish, and birds.

As a stepping stone measure, stores are still allowed to distribute standard paper grocery bags (with at least 40 percent recycled content), but ultimately the best option is a durable reusable bag.

Council elected not to impose a mandatory 5 cent pass-through charge on paper bags. Instead, retailers may choose whether or not to sell paper bags to customers, or absorb the cost of complying with the ordinance. All retailers are urged to offer durable, reusable bags and steer consumers toward them.

The new rule will become effective on Earth Day, April 22. In the meantime, city staff are spreading the news by meeting in person with retailers and inserting flyers into Islander’s utility bills. For more details and an extensive FAQ, visit the new city webpage here:

MIPD awards banquet honors eight officers

On Saturday, Feb. 15, the Mercer Island Police Department held its annual awards banquet to honor staff achievements. The following employees received awards for 2013:

  • Special Recognition: Sgt. Marc Marcroft
  • Special Recognition: Officer Todd Roggenkamp
  • ‘Top Gun’ [Marksmanship]: Sgt. Ryan Parr
  • Commander’s Award: Officer Jennifer Franklin
  • Commander’s Award: Officer Mike Seifert
  • Support Employee of the Year:  Police Support Officer Anna Ormsby
  • Supervisor of the Year: Detective Sergeant Jeff Magnan
  • Officer of the Year: Officer Robb Kramp

The city congratulates these eight members of the MIPD for their dedication and service to the community.

Legacy project won’t break ground till spring

The mixed-use Legacy Project, which will erect five-stories of apartments and retail space on the old site of True Value, isn’t expected to break ground until spring. The lot has been sitting vacant for months now. Kerry Nicholson, senior project manager of the Mercer Island office Legacy Partners Residential, said permits were in hand: “but we are still working on the myriad details of getting equity and debt financings in place, fully documented and closed.”

Design plans depict 209 units and 11,000 square feet of retail space. The developer negotiated with the city for a fifth-story in exchange for more affordable units. Thirteen units will be designated as affordable housing, with rents 70 percent that of the King County median household income.


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