Council authorizes Friends of the Farms to develop intern housing on Morales property

Project does not require city funding

The Morales farmhouse after it was remodeled by Friends of the Farms in 2012. Review file photo

The Bainbridge City Council recently authorized Friends of the Farms to develop intern housing on the city-owned Morales Property and to apply for First Federal funding related to the reHOME project.

FOF will build three satellite bedroom structures to house farm interns during the growing season, according to city documents. The interns will work on property sub-let from the city by experienced farmers. Three new permanent structures will house up to two interns each (not to exceed five unrelated adults living on-site), utilizing the Morales farmhouse for cooking and gathering facilities.

The project has been reviewed by the city’s Planning and Building Department and the Kitsap County Health Department and conforms to municipal code and health regulations, per documents. Earlier in February, FOF received a building permit from the city to oversee pro bono work by Clark Construction to do necessary repairs and maintenance to the existing Morales Farmhouse.

“Tremendous gratitude to all of you for your support of this,” FOF executive director Heather Burger told the council.

The project team is comprised of FOF, Clark Construction, local architect Coates Design and Housing Resources Bainbridge. Coates Design will be building structures called reHOME’s, designed to benefit the environment and make housing more affordable.

ReHome is a new construction that utilizes materials that are 100 percent reclaimed, repurposed, unwanted, abandoned, recycled, or otherwise headed for landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates up to 600 million tons of construction waste is produced nationwide each year, which makes up 35 percent of this state’s landfill.

The Morales house is approximately 1,400 square feet with three small bedrooms and one bathroom. The interior was built in the 1950s as a single-family residence and is not “ideally designed or constructed for living space by unrelated adults,” documents read.

“Prior to the city’s acquisition of the property, the farmhouse had fallen into disrepair,” a FOF memo reads. “In 2010, Friends of the Farms secured over $100,000 in cash and in-kind services and oversaw a complete renovation of the structure to LEED standards. Friends of the Farms began housing interns when the renovation was complete, and interns and new farmers have lived in Morales House every year from 2012 – 2019.”

The project does not request city funding support for construction. Going forward, the city and FOF will work to document an understanding of “management, maintenance, and repair obligations going forward,” documents read.

Mayor Rasham Nassar said, “It’s really nice to see just how much our community supports the efforts of Friends of the Farms…and support affordable housing for our farmers.”

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