Is one of your neighbors on a city commission?

The mayor and City Council recently appointed several new members to the city’s commissions, boards and councils. The appointments fill recent shortages on the Planning and Design Commissions that had remained vacant for some time. Those appointed include a local home builder and former City Council candidate, an attorney, horticulture expert and University of Washington doctorate student.

Islanders Susanne Foster and Nathan “Bert” Loosmore will be the newest members of the Design Commission. Foster brings landscaping and horticulture experience to the design commission, an area of expertise that the board lacked for about a year. She has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified professional and teaches on the subject as well. Loosmore is currently working on his doctorate at the UW in quantitative ecology and resource management. His experience will also help provide landscaping expertise to the commission. After working in the communication field for about a decade, Loosmore said his personal interests include ecology and sustainability.

“I liked the sound of being on the Design Commission to help push Mercer Island in that direction,” he said of integrating natural, sustainable practices into Island developments.

Attorney Ann Nielsen, who recently served on the Planning Commission, is also joining the Design Commission. Lucia Pirzio-Biroli was selected to serve another term as well. Current Design Commissioners are Bryan Caditz, Emmett Maloof and Scott Kuznicki.

Taking Nielsen’s place on the Planning Commission will be Island home builder Jon Friedman, who ran for City Council last year. For the past seven years, Friedman has owned and operated Friedman Homes, a construction company that specializes in building new single-family homes solely on Mercer Island. He said his personal interests are keeping active with sports, coaching his children’s little league teams and playing basketball and racquetball. He is also a board member for the Jewish Community Center.

“I feel [being on the Planning Commission] is a good place given my interests, desire and hope for our community. I would like to be a part of maintaining the Island’s character, especially with all the development happening here.”

Joining the Planning Commission along with Friedman is Island attorney Marc Berejka. According to his application for the position, Berejka said he hopes a combination of professional experience and passion for smart planning will be valuable for the commission and the city. Current Planning Commission members include Dave Chappelle, Bill Chapman, Adam Cooper, Steve Marshall and Kirsten White.

There is also a new member of the Arts Council. Susan Shears joins three other reappointed Islanders on that board. Many current board members were reappointed to the open space conservancy trust, Utility Board and Youth and Family Services advisory board.

The Design Commission meets tonight for three proposals to add a new wireless facility along Island Crest Way, construct three new condos near Calkins Landing and convert condos on Island Crest Way.

T-Mobile is requesting that the design review place a wireless antennae on top of a new light pole at Island Crest Park. All the ground equipment is planned to go underground. Commissioners will also review a proposal to construct three new condos located on the corner of S.E. 28th Street and 61st Avenue. The proposed condos would replace a derelict apartment building and adjacent home.

The existing Ridgeway Apartments on Island Crest Way are being converted to condos, and the owners are seeking approval for new elevator shafts, landscaping and carports.

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