Council hears about farm’s affordable housing project

3 affordable housing structures would be built at city-owned Morales property

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

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

Local nonprofit Friends of the Farms submitted a proposal to the Bainbridge Island City Council Tuesday on providing farm intern affordable housing at the city-owned Morales Farm property.

The proposal includes building three permanent structures that would house up to two interns each. They would not be dwellings because they won’t have kitchens, said Matthew Coates of Coates Design, the architect of the project. Rather, they are referred to as “satellite bedrooms” in order to be permitted under city code. The property is located on Lovgreen Road just off of Highway 305.

Friends of the Farms is teaming with Clark Construction, local architect Coates Design and Housing Resources Bainbridge on the project. 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, Coates said. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates up to 600 million tons of construction waste is produced nationwide each year, which makes up 35 percent of Washington state’s landfill.

Program executive director Heather Burger noted that September 2020 data shows that the median price for a home on Bainbridge Island is over $1 million and the average monthly cost of rental housing is approaching $2,000.

“Our farmers – like our firemen, teachers, health care workers and people working in our local store – provide for us and create diversity in our community but they can’t afford to live here,” Burger said. “Already under stresses never before experienced due to COVID, our farmers face additional uncertainty in planning for the future because of a lack of affordable housing.”

“The reHOME team’s proposed project on Morales Farm presents us with an opportunity to break through affordable housing barriers to create a model that can be replicated and begin to address the island-wide housing crisis,” she continued.

Coates echoed that sentiment.

“This is the time for this to happen,” he said. “What I love about this project is it’s actually never been done before. It’s a tall order but we’re very determined and convinced that we can do it. There’s really a dire need for them to get new housing in place on that site to continue their program. It’s a win for the community, environment and affordable housing.”

The city documents say the proposal does not require the existing farmhouse to be renovated. Significant repairs are needed to the house’s interior and exterior before it can be used again. In the long-term, FOF would like to utilize the farmhouse as a common space for the interns. From 2012-19, FOF has provided housing for more than 60 interns.

In 2003, the city acquired the property from Teddy and Gloria Morales using open space bonds.

FOF and their project team have been working with city staff on zoning and building questions. The project requires no city funding. The target date for housing to be available is in the latter half of 2021.

“We’re not here tonight to ask you for money, and we’re not here to show you something that’s all buttoned up and done,” Burger said to the council. “We’re prepared to be flexible and adapt as needed as we move through the planning and permitting process.”

The council approved to move forward consideration of the proposal, which will be further discussed at a future meeting.

More in News

BI wants ferry service restored

Bainbridge Island wants its ferry system back. The city is sending a… Continue reading

The current skate park is for those with advanced abilities. File Photo
BI park prepares for major remodel

Also, COVID vax for all parks users?

.
2 more COVID-related deaths confirmed in Kitsap, 229 total

137 new cases confirmed over the weekend

The Bainbridge Island City Council will have a public meeting to decide on improvements on Eagle Harbor Drive. This idea was shot down because of how crowded it would be with cyclists and walkers on the same side going in different directions.
Environment not as important on this project

Safety concerns override that on Eagle Harbor plan

.
It’s a gamble not getting COVID vaccine

Many people still are not get vaccinated to protect themselves and others… Continue reading

Eldon Van Liere stands next to his late wife's painting of Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, where they often traveled together. Tyler Shuey/Bainbridge Island Review
BI artist’s work lives on after her passing

Bainbridge Island artist Elizabeth Van Liere passed away in 2020 and some… Continue reading

The author of this book will be in Bainbridge. Courtesy Photo
Bainbridge Island briefs

Protest exhibit The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum is opening a new exhibit… Continue reading

Roundabouts on Highway 305 divided the Bainbridge Island City Council candidates at a recent debate. Courtesy Illustration
LWV’s debate features rapid-fire answers

Compared with two earlier debates last week, Bainbridge Island City Council candidates… Continue reading

Most Read