A Framework for Discussion
For the Proposal by Judy Brown
To Use the Brown Family Home
for a
Permanent Location for Meeting for Worship

A summary of the proposal.

The Brown family home is in the care of the Brown Family Trust.  The Brown family has offered the permanent use of the home as a meeting house for the Agate Passage Preparative Meeting.  Judy would continue to live in the home and the living room area would become a relatively permanent meeting space.  First day classes could be held in the solarium and study areas occupied by Judy.  Parking would be provided on the one half acre parcel next to the street that is owned by Judy’s sister.  Because of the work entailed in making this happen, it is anticipated that this arrangement would last at least five years.  Beyond five years, the needs of the meeting and the Brown family may require some other approach. Potential parking for 28 cars would be created at the street

Considerations in the timing of a proposed move.

This proposal involves a generous offer by the Brown family and they deserve a timely response as to the sense of the meeting on this matter.  The needs of most families are constantly changing and it would be unfair to ask that the family put on hold for very long decisions about the use of the family home.

Agate Passage Preparative Meeting is becoming a Monthly Meeting.  There will be a lot of organizational growth required and members and attenders will have to tackle some weighty issues in the year ahead.  Some may feel that trying to address the physical space needs of the meeting should be put off until the meeting is comfortable with the work load of its new status as a Monthly Meeting. 

It is time consuming to develop any new physical space on Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo or in Kitsap County.  It takes most church groups 2 – 3 years of work after they raise the money before they can move into a new facility or into a converted existing facility.  Thus it is important to anticipate need for physical space well in advance.

Why change from Seabold Hall?

 Positive attributes of Seabold Hall. 

* Seabold Hall is a 1000 square foot public space with entry, kitchen and toilet spaces.

* It has easily identifiable places to park for 30+ automobiles. 

* It is convenient to the highway and centrally located between north Kitsap and the south end of Bainbridge.

* The main entrance is obvious and inviting. 

* The meeting space is simple and free of distractions. 

* The hall feels inviting for a meeting as small as five to ten people. 

* The hall can easily handle forty people and, with some planning, handle a lot more. 

* The fee for the use of the hall is extremely reasonable. 

* It has a meeting house feel both inside and out.

Negative attributes of Seabold Hall. 

* The hall is owned by others and is not identified within the community with the Agate Passage Preparative Meeting. 

* The physical space for the first day program is small and is not separated acoustically from the meeting for worship. 

* Agate Passage Meeting does not have exclusive use of the hall and uses the hall at the pleasure of the Seabold Community Club. 

* The meeting library must be set up and taken down each week.  Scheduling the use of the hall must be done far in advance. 

* Spontaneous mid-week meetings usually must take place elsewhere due to regular use of the hall by others. 

Positive attributes of the Brown proposal.  

* There is ample space for several first day classes both inside and out.

* With some scheduling, the space can be used for several events on Sunday as well as during the week.

* It is an inviting space within a peaceful natural environment.

* There is a history of Quaker meetings at the home. 

Negative attributes of the Brown proposal.

            * The size of the living room area may restrict the size of gatherings.

* There will be increased responsibility and work requirements to maintain the gardens, parking area and meeting space.

* There will be a significant amount of work to gain approval for this use from the city.

Is the proposal physically possible?

Meeting Space.  The combined area of the living room, the sitting nook and the dining room is 500 square feet.  By comparison, Seabold Hall is roughly twice this area.  Building code minimum square footage for open seating is 15 square feet per person.  (fixed seats in rows require less area.)  This means that the code maximum number of people allowed in this space is 33 people.  To seat this many people at once might require some minor remodeling to visually connect the dining area with the living room area.  The typical attendance at Seabold is 20 to 30 people and up to 40 people for special occasions.  The Brown home may accommodate our current membership but would be crowded for special occasions and would put a constraint on any increase in the numbers of people attending.

Parking.  Eric Hoyte and Norman Down completed an informal survey of the one half acre parcel next to the street.  There are a number of large mature trees on this parcel with a native vegetation under story.  Eric created a parking layout for 28 vehicles that would require minimal disruption to this forest and would leave unmolested all of the significant trees.  Judy’s sister is amenable to this use of her land but would like help with the payment of property taxes.

Is our use legally allowed at the new location?

Churches are allowed in any zoning on Bainbridge Island as a conditional use.  This means that this proposed use would have to be reviewed by planning staff and be subject to a public review of this new use by the Planning Commission and the City Council.  Typically, these groups are supportive of this kind of use but the attitudes of neighbors are given a very high priority in the decision process.  One or two neighbors who object can effectively kill the project.  Also, special attention is given to the traffic generated by the project and the existing driveway would not be wide enough.  If the parking is at the street, this is not an issue.  Sunrise Drive is an arterial road.  Some kind of pathway would be required from the parking area to the house.  The Americans with Disabilities Act would also be applied.  This would require wheel chair accessibility to the meeting area and to a bathroom.

To gain acceptance by the City, a well thought out campaign and presentation to the immediate neighbors will have to be devised.  Most neighbors in similar projects have voiced concern about noise levels, high traffic volumes, evening meetings, day time use such as daycare centers and the effect on property values.  The neighbors will have to be brought into the process at an early stage.  The least effective way to achieve approval is if the neighbors first hear of the project by receiving an official notice of a hearing from the City.

Is the proposal financially sustainable

Agate Passage pays about $1,000 annually for the rental of Seabold Hall.  This seemed like a lot when we initially contemplated using the hall, however, it has not been a hardship to raise this amount of money.  The use of the Brown family home would obligate Agate Passage as well. 

Initial Costs.  Some of the initial costs include paying for: minor remodel of living area, handicap accessible walkways and bathroom access, a path from the parking area, the development of driving lanes and parking stalls near the street, filing fees with the City of Bainbridge Island and possibly adding a skylight. 

On-going Expenses.  Ongoing expenses include: our share of the utility costs, assuming some or all of the property tax liability for the parking area, maintaining the parking area, assisting Judy with the care of the garden areas and general cleaning and maintenance expenses.  It is generally true that it is relatively easy to raise money and muster physical help for church construction projects.  It is less glamorous to raise the funds to cover the year to year maintenance costs of a structure. 

A very rough budget of these activities is as follows 

Estimated Initial Costs

 

Material 

Cost

Labor*

Parking                           Culvert    500  
                                Equipment  3,000  30 man/days
  Crushed rock  2,000  
Pathway                               Geo-tech cloth        500  
  Rolled crushed rock  1,000  25 man/days
Lighting      500  
City fees and permits      1,500  30 man/days
Minimal Remodel-Meeting space   2,000  20 man/days
Handicapped bath          2,000   15 man/days
  Total Initial Costs    $13,000  

* The volunteer effort would consist of 6 to 12 all day work parties with 12 or more people.

Estimated Ongoing Expenses

   

Cost

Labor

Lease of parking area    600  
Heat/Utilities       100  
Annual Parking Gravel    300  5 man/days
General Maintenance    200 2 man/days
Help with Gardening    ----     15 man/days
Insurance        300  
   Total Ongoing $1,500/Annum  

There will be a Meeting for Business at Judy Brown’s on February 21st at 6:00PM to discuss this matter.  A potluck dinner is planned with the meeting to follow.  Please bring this outline with you.

Respectfully submitted by: Gayle Henry, Eric Hoyte, Judy Brown, Norman Down.