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City Council - Minutes     
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Call To Order:


Mayor Jim Pearman called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.



Roll Call:


Councilmembers Bruce Bassett, Mike Cero, Mike Grady Dan Grausz, Steve Litzow, Deputy Mayor El Jahncke and Mayor Jim Pearman were present



Special Business:


Veterans and Human Services Levy Presentation


Sadikifu Akina-James, King County Veterans & Human Services Levy Manager and James Estey, King County Veterans Program Manager presented information to the Council regarding the Veterans and Human Service Levy that was approved by King County voters in November 2005.  The Levy provides over $13 million each year through 2011 to help people in need around the county.  It serves four different groups of people:

·         Veterans, military personnel and their families

·         Individuals and families who have experienced long-term homelessness

·         Individuals who have recently been released from prison or jail

·         Families and young children who are at risk

Half of the Levy revenue is dedicated to veterans, military personnel, and their families (Veterans Levy Fund) and the other half is for the other individuals and families in need (Human Services Levy).  To best serve these groups, funds from the Levy have been allocated to five different strategy areas:

1.     Enhancing services and access to veterans, military personnel, and their families

2.     Ending homelessness through outreach, prevention, permanent supportive housing and employment

3.     Increasing access to behavioral health services

4.     Strengthening families at risk

5.     Increasing the effectiveness of Levy resource management and evaluation





Lucia Pirzio-Biroli (4212 West Mercer Way), Steve Bryan (2426 70th Ave SE), Fred Glick (7644 SE 41st St), Bert Loosmore (4639 Forest Ave SE), and Peter Donaldson (3635 88th Ave SE) spoke about a letter they (and other citizens) sent to the City Council regarding comprehensive long-range multi-modal transportation visioning and master planning process that utilizes sustainability strategies and builds on the many resources Mercer Islander’s already embrace as a community.  They encouraged the Council to look ahead 50-100 years and envision how to meet Mercer Island’s transportation needs in light of current energy, environmental and economic issues. They offered that IslandVision, with support from the City in publicizing and provision of venue, would sponsor, over the next six months, several evening public forums aimed at educating the community about all the issues surrounding multi-modal transportation planning.


Gail Stagman, 7401 92nd Place SE, spoke about parking restrictions in the area around the park-and-ride.  She believes that the parking strips in front of the homes around the park-and-ride are public property and should be available for residents to park there when the park-and-ride is full.


Ron Moattar, 4645 88th Ave SE, is encouraged that the Council and the City is working toward improving transportation on Mercer Island.  He believes there are a lot of possibilities for improvements.


Selena Carsiodis, 7420 SE 27th St, expressed concern about recent graffiti in the parks and the cost to remove it. 





(1)        It was moved by Councilmember Grady; seconded by Councilmember Bassett to:

Adopt the REVISED Special Meeting Minutes of December 7, 2009 and the Regular Meeting Minutes of January 4, 2010 as written.

Motion passed 7-0.



Consent Calendar:


(2)        Payables:   $1,255,573.15 (01/07/10) & 497,483.92 (01/13/10)

            Payroll:       $4,142.06 (12/31/09) & $693,152.25 (01/15/10)


It was moved by Councilmember Litzow; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 7-0.



Regular Business:


(3)        AB 4500            Interlocal Agreement with City of Bellevue for Marine Patrol Services


Police Chief Ed Holmes presented an interlocal agreement with the City of Bellevue for an exchange of services.  As part of the agreement, Bellevue  will receive services from Mercer Island’s Marine Patrol and Dive Team on Lake Washington and Mercer Island will received services from Bellevue’s SWAT team, specialized forensics, K-9, major investigations and the use of Bellevue’s firing range.


It was moved by Councilmember Grady; seconded by Councilmember Cero to:

Authorize the City Manager to sign the Interlocal Agreement between the City of Mercer Island and the City of Bellevue relating to Marine Patrol and other services.


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Litzow to:

Amend Section 1.4 as follows:

1.4     At the specific request of Bellevue, and at times when its workload priorities permit, provide patrol services and/or respond to emergencies at times other than those of the daily boating season shift and outside the boating season.

And amend Section 2.2 as follows:

2.2     At times where its workload priorities permit and in consideration for the marine patrol services provided by Mercer Island, Bellevue shall make available, at no charge, to Mercer Island upon request and with adequate notice specialized Bellevue police services consisting of  K-9, forensics, firing range, major investigations, SWAT, and such other services as Bellevue may in the future permit.

Motion passed 7-0.


Main motion as amended passed 7-0.



(4)        AB 4492            Open Record Hearing/Public Meeting: Temporary Encampments Ordinance (1st Reading)


Deputy City Manager James Mason provided a history of the City’s experience with Tent City 4 in the summer of 2008 as well as the public process the City Council directed staff to conduct to enact legislation for the permitting of temporary encampments on Mercer Island.  He detailed the timeline of events for the public process and the methods staff used to integrate the comments received regarding regulations for temporary encampment permits. 


Planning Commission Chair Adam Cooper stated that he was impressed with the quality and quantity of the public involvement. He also praised staff for their work in disseminating the public input.  He spoke about the Planning Commission’s process of presenting a recommendation to the Council for temporary encampment regulations.  He noted that the Planning Commission changed staff’s recommendation regarding “verifiable identification” to “government-issues identification” as they felt it was not strong enough.  The Planning Commission also recommended that the element that prevents another temporary encampment from returning to the same place of worship within 12 months and 1 mile of a previous encampment to 18 months and ˝ mile.  Chair Cooper stated that they did not want to see the one community have encampments more frequently than others.


The Mayor opened the Open Record Hearing/Public Meeting at 8:25 pm.


Steve Oaks, 2423 71st Ave SE, thanked the staff and Council for the work done to get the ordinance to Council for consideration. He spoke about his three main areas of focus: 1) process, 2) safety and distribution of impact. He detailed elements he would like changed or clarified in the ordinance regarding: when will the camp show up after the community meeting, require current and prospective members to have government issued ID, how will Police Chief verify there was a valid ID shown.


Susie Redifer, 2440 62nd Ave SE, believes that residents do have a voice about TC4 as evidenced by the ordinance process.  She does not agree with some of TC4’s philosophies and practices and believes the Council must take action to protect citizens and residents. She is glad to have Police Dept conduct random background checks. She believes it is imperative that TC4 be rotated fairly among all religious organizations on Island and they should not be forced upon just the north-end Neighborhood.


Kristin Jamerson, 2706 60th Ave SE, representative of Mercer Island Clergy Association, stated that the cost to sponsor Tent City 4 is high and the host church bears that burden. The MI Clergy Association has combined funds to support Tent City, but they encouraged the Council to consider a low fee for temporary encampments on Mercer Island.


Steve Bryan, 2426 70th Ave SE, believes that the process has gone well and public has been educated. He spoke about the element regarding fencing.  He is worried about prohibit "tarps" as they can be a good material for fencing. He also believes there may be a slippery slope in requiring background checks. He also stated that real estate disclosure requirements to not require disclosure about temporary encampments.


Jayne Judd, 2511 71st Ave SE, is a realtor and has checked on issue of disclosing temporary encampments on Form 17. She believes it does not have to be disclosed unless the encampment continues to come back to the same location. She also spoke about homes in the neighborhood where TC4 was in 2008.that were not selling.


Nancy Gilchrest, 114 157th Ave, Bellevue, is directly adjacent to TC4 when they are at Temple B'Nai Torah. She spoke about photos she provided of showing the fence of the TC4 encampment in Woodinville. She is concerned that the ordinance does address the fence being a security feature only for visual screening. She also suggested having only one point of ingress and egress from the encampment for security.


Tara Johnson, 2438 62nd Ave SE, thanked the City Staff for time and efforts that went into drafting the ordinance and for the public process to get to this point.  She believes that the same level of public safety concern given to the Island Crest Way and Merrimount intersection should be given to this ordinance.  She detailed elements that citizen Steve Oaks would like changed or clarified in the ordinance regarding: what proof will there be that the background and sex offender checks have been completed, why can’t the Police Department request ID’s and run the checks, what will happen if there is a outstanding warrant or is a sex offender, should be 24 months instead of 18 months.  She also spoke about another temporary encampment that was closed by the church Seattle because a level 3 sex offender was living in the encampment. She asked the Council to require the Police to do background and warrant checks on all temporary encampment residents.


Leslie Ann, 6616 SE 24th Street, spoke as a representative of the Mercer Island Clergy Association and the pastor of the Mercer Island United Methodist Church. She thanked the Council and staff for the care that has been taken during the public process. She stated that the City government should to hold a light hand on the reigns and be responsible for health, safety and welfare of the citizens, but not comfort and preferences. She expressed concern that the ordinance is more stringent than it needs to be.  Congregations will work with the neighborhoods as the temporary encampment is in the hands of the congregation that is sponsoring. The City’s duty to does not out way an individual congregation’s right to act as sanctuary for those who are in need. She also encouraged a timely process for the permitting process.


Bruce Thomas, Camp Advisor and resident of Tent City 4, is concerned with the proposed ordinance. He believes that the City cannot limit a church’s right to practice its religion because they are close to a church that already practiced that religion.


Deborah, TC4 resident, addressed element of ordinance that temporary encampments are allowed only if the guidelines listed are listed. She believes that the City is not allowed require a church to get a permit to practice their religion.


Robert, TC4 resident, asked the Council to consider revising the 90 day requirement to allow the encampment to move on a Saturday.


Patrick Schultz, TC4 resident, expressed concern with the requirement that the encampment must leave the occupied space free of debris.  He asked if normal wear and tear is allowed.


Shy, TC4 resident, stated that the element requiring a complete application 90 days in advance of arriving is way too long.


Lorrie Clark, TC4 resident, expressed concern with the element of having a maximum of 100 people in the camp.  He stated that the point of non-profit is to help those in need and turning people away is against the goal.


Eric Viafore, 2250 70th Avenue SE, lived adjacent to TC4 on north end. He asked that a regulation for establishing a smoking area for the encampment be included as he had passive smoke in his house during TC4’s stay.  He also thanked the City for the work they have done.


Jack, TC4 resident, asked that the element prohibiting children in an encampment.  They would like to be able to house a child if they come with a parent at night and find other housing in the morning.


Vaughn Seneca, TC4 resident, #would like to see the element requiring perspective members to have valid government issued ID changed as not everyone has government issued ID.


James Hill, TC4 resident, spoke about Tent City already conducting warrant and sex offender checks of all members of the camp as they are concerned about their safety.  He does not believe the City needs to regulate and require these checks to be done.


Jonathan Dye, TC4 resident, believes that there could be other organizations within City of Mercer Island that could host TC4 not just places of worship.


Karen Morris, 15788 NE 4th Street, Bellevue, spoke about elements of the proposed ordinance she feels need to be strengthened.  She stated that she has had tent city residents and former residents approach her to tell things that go on in TC4 that are hidden from public view.  She spoke about the information she received from current and former residents such as that the log is not accurate and the Code of Conduct is not strictly enforced.


The Mayor closed the Open Record Hearing/Public Meeting at 9:03 pm.


The Council asked questions of staff regarding the proposed elements of the ordinance.  Following deliberation, Council directed staff to prepare language for review at the upcoming 2010 City Council Planning Session (January 22-23, 2010) regarding the following:

·         Add homeless statistics language to the “Whereas” section

·         Clarify “Place of Worship”

·         Remove unnecessary language regarding the Parks Department

·         Add flexibility regarding the maximum stay being 90 days

·         Reduce the minimum time for submitting a complete application prior to opening a Temporary Encampment due to moving up the Informal Meeting

·         Provide additional examples of fence materials that are acceptable and not acceptable

·         Require the Managing Organization to sign the hold harmless agreement 

·         Further discuss requiring “government issued” identification

·         Prohibit sex offenders as a portion of the Code of Conduct

·         Provide less restrictive language regarding warrant checks

·         Add a requirement and criteria for siting smoking areas

·         Detail what is done with the information from the informal public meeting 

·         Require informal public meeting before permit application is submitted

·         Detail items to be discussed at the informal public meeting





Councilmember Absences:

Councilmember Bassett will be absent from the February 16th meeting.


Planning Schedule:

There were no changes.


Board Appointments:

It was moved by Councilmember Litzow; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Appoint Cristina Scalzo to a youth position (expiring May 31, 2011) on the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Advisory Board.

Motion passed 7-0.


Councilmember Reports:

Councilmember Grausz spoke about the Design Commission approving the application from BRE Properties for the old Safeway site to extend the project by an additional year.



Adjournment:          11:36 pm

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