The Growth Management Act, Vision 2020 and related policies have ushered in a wide range of new planning options, challenges and opportunities. Like other jurisdictions throughout the region, Mercer Island is about to embark on a comprehensive review of its policies and their relationship to state and regional planning mandates. Participating in this process will provide the opportunity to identify and reaffirm the community's long held values. It will also offer a forum for policies to be updated and assimilated to function as a whole.
A Vision Statement is an essential ingredient in successful comprehensive community policy planning. Essentially, the statement should reaffirm time-tested policies or values that are generally held as positive "community trademarks" and identify others deemed relevant. Moreover, a Vision Statement should be a reflection of community aspirations. Through periodic review and refinement it should help to set parameters for future community activities.
The following Vision Statement is essentially the compilation of several long standing policies embodied in several existing planning documents including the Land Use Plan, CBD Plan and Park and Open Space Plan. Reexamining these policies implies a reexamination of the City's overall policy base.
City Boards, Commissions and staff will use the Council's explicit guidance in determining the priority and degree of evaluation of existing elements in the City's Growth Management Act Policy & Planning Work Plan.
City employees will be guided in the provision of quality municipal services.
Most importantly, the Council, its advisory bodies and the community-as-a-whole will proceed with a common understanding of the quality of life values or themes that will shape our community for years to come.
"Islands can seem rather special, but then so can islanders, most people who remove themselves to islands regard themselves as having entered paradise. Classically, a person goes to an island in much the same spirit as a person heads into exile - seeking simplicity, glorying in a world that is still incomplete and therefore full of possibilities." - Paul Theroux
Mercer Island is not an island unto itself. The community is part of a regional complex that affords housing, human services, jobs, transportation, cultural and recreational opportunities. As a partner in the ever changing world of environment, economics and politics, Mercer Island has and will continue to be an active player in regional issues. However, within this framework, Mercer Island's long held value of maintaining and enhancing local control for all of its significant policy issues is essential. Likewise, active community participation and leadership are fundamental for protecting and enhancing the values and characteristics that have shaped the quality of life and livability of Mercer Island.
In relative terms, Mercer Island is a young community. Its passion to shape its own future as well as participate as a regional partner has been guided by the City's adherence to a collection of intrinsic values. While values are not necessarily meant to remain static, they do provide the basic foundation for a host of community actions. Some values are more significant than others. However, once made explicit, this body of values generally reflects the "heart and soul" of the community. The values listed below are among the community's most important and therefore deserve special attention.