Council discusses Comp Plan
The Mercer Island City Council discussed the final docket for its 2018 Comprehensive Plan amendment on Nov. 6. The docket will serve as part of the work program for the city’s Planning Commission and staff for 2018.
The commission recommended by a 7-0 vote that the requests on the preliminary docket be moved to the final version, and supported the addition of two additional docket items: develop goals and policies supporting disaster planning and recovery, and develop goals and policies to promote universal design, disability access and age-friendly planning on Mercer Island.
Changes include updating the transportation element to address traffic modeling, level of service (LOS), non-motorized and Interstate 90 changes, updating the city’s critical areas ordinance and and creating a new land use map designation of “Private Community Facilities” or similar, for the properties currently occupied by the JCC, French American School and Herzl-Ner Tamid (approximately 18 acres).
Council members added four amendments to address green building, Town Center development and workforce housing. The council voted 6-1 to adopt the changes, with Councilmember Dave Wisenteiner against the amendments.
The council reviewed the proposed 2017 Comprehensive Plan amendments at its Oct. 17 meeting. Text changes included updating the introduction and the city’s trail policy, while map amendments included changing the designation of Kite Hill from “public facility” to “park” and a portion of city-controlled property near Freshy’s from “Linear Park (I-90)” to “Town Center.”
Schools, city partner to help local youth
Many residents know the city of Mercer Island’s Youth and Family Services department (YFS) funds mental health counselors in every public school. What’s not so well known is that the city also funds a full-time uniformed police detective to work in the middle and high schools as a School Resource Officer.
The position has been in place for 21 years, according to the city’s weekly newsletter. SRO Art Munoz helps students understand their legal rights and responsibilities, make good choices and access community-based help if they get into trouble with the law. He also helps families as they navigate community resources to support their child.
He collaborates closely with YFS counselors, teachers and principals, as well the high school’s drug and alcohol counselor and the YFS diversion coordinator.
“The relationship between the SRO, YFS and the school district is very important as together we create a safety net and support system for our kids,” stated Police Chief Ed Holmes.
The total cost to the city for the SRO program this year is approximately $121,000. The Mercer Island School District contributes another $25,000 (17 percent) annually.
“Students approach Art because he is friendly, helpful and supportive to them,” says Vicki Puckett, principal at Mercer Island High School. “Art helps our students handle the big issues that arise in their lives, ranging from keeping their friends safe from making bad choices like substance abuse or possible suicide, to handling conflict at home or suddenly finding themselves homeless. He is so critical to our students, families and staff here at MIHS.”
City helps residents recycle 53,000 pounds of material
The city’s annual fall recycling collection event on Oct. 21 generated an impressive amount of material despite cold, torrential rain at times.
The city’s contractor reported 534 vehicles arrived, carrying a total of 53,444 pounds of discarded material, which averages to 100 pounds each, comparable to other previous events. The event also provided a collection opportunity for Mercer Island Youth and Family Services. Attendees donated 450 pounds of items for the city’s Food Pantry, and approximately $1,650 in cash.
Some highlights this year included 22,700 pounds of appliances, scrap metal, and electronics; 6,840 pounds of reusable household goods; 5,580 household batteries; 52 used tires; 10,560 pounds of confidential paper shredded onsite; 6,080 pounds of cardboard; 15 cubic yards of Styrofoam; and 1,000 pounds of scrap wood.
The city thanks residents for their participation in protecting the environment, recycling as much as possible and in supporting the Food Pantry.
Learn more about curbside recycling and other recycling options here.