Presentation on theme: "Community Feedback - Post 1/14/16 Mtg. - Sources: From participants at the meeting, collected from the posters on the walls, comments documented at the."— Presentation transcript:
Community Feedback - Post 1/14/16 Mtg. - Sources: From participants at the meeting, collected from the posters on the walls, comments documented at the meeting, emails.
City Council/City Staff Feedback It occurs to me after the SOS meeting, and having worked with the city staff, the city may not be set up for success. As a small town, we have much smaller needs, and ideally, only small town issues. With the City Council seemingly pushing increased Density and Sound Transit’s desires, we find ourselves in the extraordinary position of being up against “New York” lawyers and horribly outgunned. The issue is further compounded when the Council brings in consultants and salesman that influence city personnel rather than listening to the citizens themselves. In addition to asking the question as to whether or not we have adequate representation on the Council, perhaps it is time to ask ourselves if we have an appropriately skilled city staff to support the desires of the community since the Council is apparently asleep at the helm?
City Council/City Staff Feedback Increase oversight/accountability of the Design Commission and Planning Commission. Commissions are only rubber stamp to DSG’s (Development Services Group) recommendations DSG is bowing to off island pressures. Locals need a voice/influence. Mercer Island City Council needs a makeover – they’ve sold out on the community and are being externally influenced rather than listening to island residents. And, we own part of the problem. We are too busy working and have not held them accountable. We can control our destiny if we and council have the political will to do so! (QED) (One person agreed with this – think QED were someones initials) residents are nervous about what is being shoved down their throats without any warning or say in the process. Serve and protect the interests of all Mercer Islanders, who do not want more of the ugly high density developments to further blight our island. Would like the Council to be more accountable to the community
Email Comments (with permission) In May of last year Benson Wong wrote in the MI Reporter that he was looking for input from the citizens on the development of downtown. I sent him an email with the attached letter. I never heard anything back from him, not even an acknowledgement of my email. I’m very suspicious of the city council. My wife was on a committee to provide public input to the intersection of Merrimount Dr. and Island Crest Way. The committee was loaded with members who wanted to do what the council wanted to do so the statistics on road diets and unsafe intersection design were ignored. They just did what they wanted to do. Based on my experience I think Ira was right commenting that, “the city council is not on your side.” On the other hand when the citizens voice is strong the city council adopts the voice like they did with !-90 tolling. Dan Grausz was definitely for it before he was against it.
Email feedback Keep the Density down so it won't deplete city services, schools, parking. Limit high density living. School population has exploded. King County committee determines density for communities; Mercer Island is not informed about these changes. Mercer Island Council promotes density for larger tax base. Transportation - NO major bus terminal on Mercer Island. Bellevue or Issaquah has the land for this type of development. Light Rail train station should be only for Mercer Island, Not Renton or Issaquah. Eliminate future traffic to the Island. People USE Mercer Island to park and commute to suburbs. Is this because Federal Funds were used to expand the parking garage and therefore anyone can drive here and park ??? LESS is BETTER. Downzone our areas. City Council Zoning has eliminated small homes on the Island.
Email Comment I recommend that the following steps be taken by the Council, to realign the Council’s perspective closer to what appears to be the majority of Islander views: Do NOT support any further zoning approval actions on the north end until and unless both MI zoning provisions are updated, and the Comprehensive Plan is updated, AND both are MI citizen publically vetted. Plan to update all other “non-north end” MI zoning to reflect current “As Built” densities, so as to preclude adverse density increases via developers using tricks such as accomplishing a “two lot” teardown to become a “three mega-house” monster. Immediately put the Council and City on record (to the entire region) as OPPOSING any Sound Transit Bus- Rail Transfer schema on Mercer Island for any commuter transfers other than those for specific MI resident transfers, or use by MI related businesses. Establish the “principal” now (before the coming light rail), that MI P&Rs are AT LEAST for 90% MI resident and business use only, with no more than 10% available for any other users. Implement an MI Permit system if needed. The essentially infinite demand of the eastside for P&R will otherwise overwhelm MI parking. Make the change NOW, before the train gets here and the situation becomes even more politically volatile. Council’s priorities should be on first assuring community safety, and adequate Infrastructure, WITHIN current tax revenues. Any future development on Mercer Island must now pay FULLY ALLOCATED COST, not just incremental cost. Otherwise taxpayers are being asked to unfairly subsidize development (e.g., via added school funding), and critical businesses on the Island, otherwise needed by Islanders, will never be able to afford to remain on the Island. Establish the principle of preserving “Intelligent Vehicle” “right-of-way” across I-90 for Mercer Island (i.e., for efficient environmental SOV/HOVs) for critical access for MI residents, to and from both the eastside and Seattle. Otherwise we risk not only further strangulation of our community, but will surely have people even die while trying to get to places like eastside or Seattle hospitals, in the middle of some Seahawk traffic jam or equivalent. We need to preserve or expand SOV/HOV access both directions for future “Intelligent Vehicles”, not be now giving it up to trains that will never work, let alone require massive subsidy.
Email Comment I think that a case study of the Coval Development is very revealing about how this City Council works. Originally plated for eighteen houses on a five acre parcel, after strong community protests, the Planning Committee rejected the plat and the City Council followed suit. The Developer then slightly amended the plat to conform to comments and threatened the City with a lawsuit. The City Council then approved the plat with sixteen houses, still way over developed for a five acre parcel. The only way to control development in the Town Center, or anywhere else on the Island, is by strict definitions in the building code. Lot coverage, total square footage as a percent of lot square footage, and total building heights should all be addressed. Nebulous terms, such as "Public Amenities", should be avoided at all costs. Developers are only interested in potential financial return and will only include amenities that contribute to that return.
Email feedback I would add to your list of "ideal" town center communities the Fairhaven district in Bellingham. I know it's not fair since it's a college town and there are lots of pretty old brick buildings, but still, the planning and use of open space is done so well. Maybe it is the way they use their alleyways. If you've ever been in the alley behind the Colophon café, overlooking a small grassy plaza, you'll know what I mean.
Comment from email I want to point something out about your email below, regarding the projected number of children in your statement in red. Your logic gives the appearance of double-dipping in a couple of ways. I suppose 575 children could result from 10% of your 5750 people having "a child," but only if they are all single parents. You might want to base your estimate on the number of households with a child, or on an average number of children per household. You might wind up with a similar number but more logically justified. Also, you get to 5750 by assuming 2.5 people per household. I assume that you are basing this on an average of 0.5 children per household? But then you can't count all 5750 people as a potential parent. On the other hand, if there were really an average of 0.5 children per household, this amounts to 1,150 new children in the district. I don't really care what your estimate is, because even half that number is too much, and although the schools are a huge issue, the buildings, the ugliness, the dismissiveness of the city government, and the extra people and cars are problem enough. I just wanted to point this out to you now, so that you don't get called out on this under hostile circumstances. :) Want everyone to see the feedback on my meeting notes related to density projections.
Community Feedback – Parking & Transit No New Park and Ride (on Mercer Island). Spend money on enlarging South Bellevue Park and Ride. (This) will open up parking in Mercer Island Park and Ride. No new Park and Ride. But we do need Downtown Walk off Parking. Restore North/South (island) bus service. MI Should not be a bus barn for Sound Transit. Keep Bellevue Park and Ride as the hub. Dr. Spektor’s comment about the transit project for MI Residents is right on (comment made at the meeting was in relationship to Sound Transit exploiting Mercer Island for off island residents and that Light Rail should only be like a bus stop for local island residents and not encourage others to drive further to park on the island) No! (deadheading buses on the island) No. Stupid to run buses onto island (and then turn them around)
Community Feedback – Parking and Transit No new Park and Ride. Spend money from government to buy back their original investment into existing park and ride and make it for Island Residents only. And/or charge a fee at the lot for off island residents – have heard Sound Transit is already looking to charge people for park and rides. Do we have any data that shows there is a problem on the island other than anecdotal comments? What are people doing today? We are surviving without additional park and ride so why build another one. Mayor Bassett and Dan Graustz over-generalize issues to serve their own purpose/agendas. Wish they’d be more concerned about the citizens of Mercer Island. Was also disappointed tonight with Benson Wong. He seems to have bought into the whole Transit oriented development model and we (Mercer Island) don’t need or want any more density or development even if we are on a rail line. No. There is already a traffic congestion problem on the northend. This (density/bus turnaround) will only get worse! Still don’t know what the problem is that we’re trying to fix. The real issue is we can’t get to the buses not that we need more parking. Bring back the 205 or create a shuttle service. Other option is to get the park and ride back for the community. Regardless of whether or not federal funds were use to create it, there has to be a leverage point. Agree with those who want better street design, accessibility, and parking downtown.
Parking/Transit As for the bus terminus, it is just going to be awful to have to look at 10 buses and what about the pollution? If they build any more parking lots, it will just make it feel like Mercer Island is just one big parking lot. This light rail, parking situation, bus terminus and all this development is just turning into one big fiasco. Nothing is working or enhancing the beauty of the island.
Community Feedback – Parking and Transit I am mixed on this issue. Definitely need better park and ride infrastructure if/when light rail comes through and our HOV lane disappears but when this happens it should be underground and reserved for those of us who need the bridge to get off the island. We (Mercer Island) need more parking capacity. Whether this is from a new P&R, expansion, or other means it has to be addressed. I can’t use the park and ride because it’s always full.Mass Transit into Seattle is important. Bike Traffic from southend to Park and Ride is dangerous down island. Parking in Park and Ride is always full (for island residents) No! Just because our island is in a central location does not mean we need to sell out to Sound Transit
Community Feedback – Parking/Transit No! (Park and Ride) And, not a regional transit center. I want to be able to take the bus easily to/from MI ( A 2 nd person agreed with this) And, support reasonable transit increase. Deadhead buses might be ok in a well-designed context (A 2 nd person disagreed with this) I want the 205 bus back (4 people agreed and one person disagreed) Underground! No buses. Use South Bellevue Site. No buses (deadheading on Mercer Island) * Six people added / agreed with this comment No. No bus storage at all. Ridiculous. Small island is becoming congested enough as it is.
Community Feedback – Parking/Transit What would be the point of storing buses during rush hour? They need to be sored during off-peaks. Limited bus storage in the context of a functional and well designed P&R and/or transit center might work. (This comment is in reference to a chart that was on the wall which was an idea that has been floated around that suggested the buses would only be stored during rush hours to handle peak traffic congestion)
Zoning Change the zoning/land use regulations to protect residential areas. (More Setbacks; decrease impervious surface limits; make it difficult to get deviations/variances) Increase zoned lot sizes to reflect existing lot boundaries to prevent future sub-division. (in 1 st hill neighborhood of 8,400 square foot zoning, average lot size is really over 10,000 square feet) No (density) – Down Zone. Down Zone (Density/Height in downtown) Increase lot size/zoning in northend neighborhoods It just feels like Mercer Island is losing its soul with all these soul- less buildings going up. Additionally, developers need to pay for both direct and indirect costs to infrastructure, fire, police and schools that result from development.
Zoning 2 story max. No new apartments without new schools! Our education will fall further than it already has, and for those who didn’t seem to care about that – our property values will go down. If we start needing to bus our kids off the island, no one will value this community and that comes back to lost $$$: revenues, property values, taxes! Downzone – 2 story maximum. No increased height. Need school mitigation $$$ (for variances that go above 2 stories and increase density) Need infrastructure mitigation $$$. “True” amenities for variances – need to be accessible. No more than 2 stories Storefront retail – small businesses with pedestrian friendly frontage; stepped back height design, sun access. Charm! (Somebody wrote after this comment the following; We need this but I am not willing to concede) on density without infrastructure support or anything higher than 2 stories.) Break up the top floors. Make the roofs and windows interesting. Downzone to a 2 story maximum. Given a plot of down-town structures and their heights, it is computationally easy to depict shadows. By daylight hour and season. Thus occluded sunlight can be plotted. Then a limit very close to current can be a growth goal.
Zoning There exists a lot of common ground that can be captured in a comprehensive vision for what our town square can be. That vision should reflect the best factual information and most informed input possible, including that of our community and business owners, expert urban designers, and other small cities that have successfully addressed similar challenges and opportunities. The code that governs what gets approved must be firmed up to give our council and commission more power over developments and the ability to more effectively drive mitigations that contribute to an improved community. Why isn’t the city council or the City Staff holding developers more accountable for executing Major Site Variances or Significant Public Amenities while the buildings are taxing our infrastructure and destroying our community? How much underground parking will be provided at the Legacy Project? Also, if the Legacy projects goes above 2 stories, what amenities are being provided to the city? I’m a little concerned after hearing the city wants to get rid of the triangle property and create open space – which under normal circumstances would be fine but Roberto’s and the small businesses on the strip need to ensure people have parking and easy access to their businesses.
Density why are the developers (or whoever is responsible) not interested in renting out the retail spaces and why are they asking such high prices? There are retail spaces that have never even been rented out and apparently, this proposed development where the McDonalds is, supposedly, they don't expect to rent the retail space out for 10 years. Why are they bothering building the retail at all? This retail/rental doesn't appear to be working and at what point will someone put a stop to these kind of developments? We certainly don't need anymore buildings downtown. The downtown area can't handle more cars and the schools can't handle the extra students that come with building these new rentals and the rents that they are asking for is just having a knock-on affect on us and making the rest of the islanders' rents go up. If the rentals were reasonable, perhaps the teachers and other people who come to the island for work could afford to live and work on the island and reduce the amount of cars on the roads.