Public institution zoning revisited

Mercer Island Planning Commission will hold hearings Wednesday, April 2 on a request for a Zoning Code Amendment to set zoning requirements for public schools located in the ‘P’ zone (Public Institution zone), and on the long subdivision at 2960 and 2970 76th Ave. S.E. to allow 18 townhouses to be built there.

City staff revised the original proposal of amendments and rezones in the ‘P’ Zone after getting community feedback on code amendments that it initially proposed for Mercer Island School District properties. The initial proposal would have allowed buildings to be as close as 15 feet away from abutting properties and 20 feet from rights-of-way. The revised proposal keeps the currently-required setbacks of 45 feet from a public right-of-way, such as a street, and 35 feet from other property lines.

The revised proposal also requires buildings over 30 feet in height, the current height limit, to be set back further from property lines. Proposed impervious surface limits would be reduced from 75 percent to 65 percent, while allowing an additional 3 percent  coverage if pervious pavers, pervious asphalt or pervious concrete are used. The additional coverage could not be used for driveways, parking lots or any surface designed for vehicles. And administrative design review would be required for new portables. The earlier proposal would not have required any design review.

“When we wrote the proposal, we hadn't received any public input. We had to propose something to get input,” said Mercer Island Development Services Group Director Scott Greenberg. “After getting the public input, it appeared keeping the same setbacks would be the best thing.”

Greenberg said coming up with a proposal was a collaborative effort between the City and the Mercer Island School District.

“We've been discussing ideas with the school district for several months, working with them on what we believe might work best as a proposal and what would work with their school projects,” he said. “Without getting into specifics, we had some ideas we threw out and they had some that they threw out.”

Community members will be able to give feedback on these proposed revisions during the public hearing Wednesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.


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