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Values often are characterized by specific actions or combinations of actions. Over time these actions become local community trademarks that have a profound influence in shaping a wide range of private and public decisions. Specific actions that will continue to exemplify Mercer Island’s values include:

Regional Role

Quality Services



The community clearly links its interests in regional matters through involvement in transportation, education, human services, domestic water, air traffic noise, marine patrol, public health and safety, and pollution abatement. Participation will continue through individual citizens, interest groups and elected officials.

Community Leadership


Strong Leadership

Citizen Involvement

Mercer Island is committed to representing its citizens through its elected and appointed officials. A longtime producer of resourceful and professional leaders, Mercer Islanders will continue to exert strong and active leadership in local and regional affairs.

Active participation by the Island’s citizens in civic events and issues is essential to representative self-government. As one of its “trademarks”, the community continues to place a high value on the opportunity to participate at all levels of decision-making.




“Green Equity”

Destiny Control

Citizen Involvement

The City is committed to implementing policies aimed at preserving and enhancing the Island’s physical characteristics. Regulatory tools such as the Zoning Code, Subdivision Ordinance, Critical Lands Regulations, Shoreline Master Program, Tree Ordinance and Design Standards continue to serve as the underpinning for protection of environmental values.

The preservation of open space (trees and green spaces) continues to be a primary means to attain the community’s quality-of-life vision. The implementation of low impact development techniques also preserves the natural environment. City leaders will continue to search for effective new methods and standards to protect and enhance the environment.

Town Center

Community Scale



Quality Service

The Town Center will continue to be located within its current boundaries and will be bordered by residential uses. Mixed-use development that includes residential units shall be encouraged within this zone. Businesses should continue to develop at a scale compatible with other community values and should provide a range of retail, office and residential opportunities. The community-scaled business district will primarily cater to the needs and desires of Island residents and employees.

Ongoing attention to urban design principles, pedestrian needs, traffic considerations and green spaces is essential.

Community Services

Pride & Spirit

Excellence in

Recreational & Cultural

Mercer Island will continue to provide a wide range of education, cultural and municipal services for the community’s varied population. Balanced and flexible programs will be necessary to meet the community’s evolving needs in education, recreation and cultural enjoyment. The community will maintain its broad range of quality basic services, including public safety, human services, physical development and utilities. At the same time, community leaders recognize that delivery of these services will take place in an arena of limited resources and heightened competition for tax revenues.

Residential Land Use






Mercer Island is principally a low density, single-family residential community. The community will continue to seek ways to enhance its image as Puget Sound’s “most livable residential community.” Supporting these efforts, City leaders will maintain the integrity of existing approved land use policies.

The community, through its ongoing consideration of public and private projects, will continue to seek ways of enhancing the Island’s quality of life through open space preservation, pedestrian trails and well-designed and functional public and semi-public facilities.

As a single-family residential community with a high percentage of developed land, it is not necessarily appropriate that the community provide all types of lands uses. Certain activities will be viewed as incompatible with prevalent land uses and environmental values. Examples include certain recreational uses, cemeteries, zoos, airports, landfills and correctional facilities.

Civic, recreation, education and religious organizations are important and integral elements of the community character and fabric. Their contribution and importance to the established community character should be reflected and respected in land use permit processes.



Pride & Spirit


Housing Opportunities

The single-family character of the community will continue to generate the need for a variety of housing. A mix of residential housing opportunities in and around the Town Center and other existing multi-family areas will be an important element in maintaining the diversity of the Island’s population.

To understand and preserve the quality and diversity of the Island’s housing stock, periodic reviews of housing policies will be undertaken. With that end in mind, methods will be sought to encourage diversity and reinvestment in existing neighborhoods and homes.






The geography, employment and lifestyle characteristics of Mercer Island demands good permanent access to and from Interstate 90. This will require continued participation in regional transportation matters.

Local land use policies will be coordinated with transportation plans in order to provide safe, functional surfaces for vehicles, bikes and pedestrians while avoiding local “gridlock.” Local transportation planning will continue to emphasize a semi-rural setting for various arterial and collector streets. Pedestrian walks linking activities will continue to be a high community priority.


Pride & Spirit

Excellence in


Recreational &

As with virtually all facets of the community fabric, population changes will occur. Mercer Islanders can expect to see their population grow from 23,310 in 2014 to an estimated (PSRC, approximate) 25,243 persons by 2030.

Within that population base, the Island will see changes in age profiles, along with their respective needs and expectations for municipal services. The provision of human services and facilities must be updated from time to time to address changes in the community’s racial, age, income and lifestyle make-up. This diversification will continue to be encouraged. The standard for providing excellent services for the Island’s youth will be applied to all public services and across all ages.