Town Center vision hearing is tonight
Last summer, the city released the Town Center Visioning and Development Code Update Interim Report to the community, reflecting work to date on the next 20-year vision for the development rules that will apply to the Town Center commercial area.
The Planning and Design Commissions are now convening together (known as the “Joint Commission”) for the next phase of work: recommendations for actual Town Center development code language and directly-related updates to the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
Three public hearings were scheduled to solicit feedback on the Town Center vision and development code updates being considered.
The second hearing is tonight, March 9, at West Mercer Elementary and will focus primarily on these Town Center topics: streetscapes, retail frontages, bonus height provisions, architectural standards, through-block connections, landscaping and open space.
The evening will start with an open house at 6:30 p.m., a brief presentation at 7:15 p.m. and then a public comment period.Comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The city also encourages written comments, which may be emailed to TownCenter@mercergov.org. The final public hearing will be on March 30 at Lakeridge Elementary. See more at www.mercergov.org/TownCenter.
Council outlines 2016 work plan
The major items on the Mercer Island City Council’s agenda this year are refining and adopting a biennial budget for 2017-18, finishing the Town Center visioning and development code process, completing its overdue Comprehensive Plan update, continuing to work on water quality and cross connections following the 2014 E. coli event, funding two parks projects — field improvements at Island Crest Park and replacing the dock at Groveland Beach — and negotiating with Sound Transit and the Department of Transportation on Islander access to Interstate 90 when the center lanes are closed for East Link light rail construction.
2016 is the year to “put the puck in the net” and restore the community’s confidence in its government, Mayor Bruce Bassett noted at the council’s January planning session.
Last year was “the busiest year on record, not only in terms of staff workload but also in terms of the number of Council meetings that ended after 11 p.m. (i.e., nine meetings).”
Mercer Island to contribute to ARCH funding
Mercer Island will give thousands to A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) for affordable housing projects.
At its Feb. 22 meeting, the City Council approved more than $50,000 in funding for ARCH.
Mercer Island allocates $20,000 annually for projects recommended through the ARCH Housing Trust Fund process. The ARCH Executive Board recommended that half of Mercer Island’s contribution ($10,000) be dedicated to the Imagine Housing Totem Lake (Phase 2) Senior Apartments, and the remainder of its 2015 contribution will be left in reserve for future use.
In addition, the ARCH Executive Board approved and forwarded the Administrative Budget to each member city for approval and fund allocation. The proposed total ARCH Administrative Budget for 2016 is $652,930, of which Mercer Island will contribute $30,784.
This is the same amount Mercer Island has contributed annually from 2009 through 2015, with an inflationary adjustment. The City Council approved $30,000 in the 2015-2016 budget.