As a resident of Mercer Island and a friend of the Stroum Jewish Community Center, we’re asking you for your help today—to write a quick email, post, or letter to the City of Mercer Island that will help us make the SJCC an even more amazing facility and service provider. Here are the details.
We are in the very early stages of planning the redevelopment of the SJCC. We are fortunate that at this point, we believe we have sufficient land to achieve the SJCC’s goals. That said, like other similar organizations on Mercer Island, much of the SJCC’s land is currently zoned as residential property, as there is no appropriate zone designation for these types of organizations. So while this is actually quite common for facilities like ours on Mercer Island, it makes the redevelopment process more challenging, as it imposes design regulations consistent with single-family homes, not broad use community centers.
For this reason, we’ve submitted a request for the City of Mercer Island to do something called a Comprehensive Plan Amendment, which would add a new zone type to Mercer Island’s building code, and we need your support and that of the community to encourage the Planning Commission to recommend the new code designation to the City Council.
Here is more information on why we need support and then following that is an example of an email, post, or letter you could send to the Planning Commission and/or City Council by Tuesday, September 4, 2018.
Here’s a brief outline of the three-phased process. Phase I is the proposal for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment that establishes a City policy to establish a “Private Community Facilities” land use designation in the Comprehensive Plan. Phase I does not authorize any particular development. Phase II includes the adoption of the development regulations, and Phase III is then the application of those regulations to anything the SJCC (or any property) designs. We are at Phase I, simply requesting the City to establish a new zone called a “Private Community Facilities” zone. A description of this zone designation can be found on page 7 of the document posted here. The key reasons we’re seeking this new zone designation are the following:
- Community engagement in the design process—the process, by definition, would include community involvement throughout the process.
- The opportunity for Comprehensive Master Planning—as we look at our site, Herzl-Ner Tamid’s land and the property to our west, owned by the French American School of Puget Sound, we realize that all three sites need refurbishing, updating, and other site improvements soon. Our ability to plan together for traffic and pedestrian safety, efficiency, wise land use, shared parking, landscape design, etc. would help all of us.
- Residential land use codes, although they allow uses such as ours, do not provide the ability to develop our property in a way that best addresses our needs or those of the surrounding community. This new land use designation will allow much better design, coordination, and community participation in the process.
Now, here’s where you can help. Please do at least one of the following: WRITE/POST/EMAIL your support of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Here’s some language you can use and please personalize it as you see fit.
SUBJECT: Please support Comprehensive Plan Amendment 8
Hello, my name is ____________. I have lived on Mercer Island for [XX] years and am writing to request your support of Comprehensive Plan Amendment 8. I believe this Amendment will allow for wiser, more comprehensive design and development, helping the Stroum Jewish Community Center engage the community in its redesign and prioritize concerns related to traffic management, lighting, and landscape design to enhance the neighborhood. The SJCC is a long-standing community asset on Mercer Island and always works to serve the community’s best interest. Thank you for your consideration.
Please also post your note here.
Stay tuned for information on upcoming community meetings in September and October. Thank you for always supporting the Stroum Jewish Community Center and for helping us be great neighbors.
SJCC Board of Directors President
SJCC Chief Executive Officer