A Framework for Discussion
For the Proposal by Judy Brown
To Use the Brown Family Home
Permanent Location for Meeting for Worship
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
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.
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.
change from Seabold Hall?
attributes of Seabold Hall.
Seabold Hall is a 1000 square foot public space with entry, kitchen and
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.
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.
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.
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.
the proposal physically possible?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
fees and permits
||Total Initial Costs
* The volunteer effort
would consist of 6 to 12 all day work parties with 12 or more people.
|Lease of parking
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.
by: Gayle Henry, Eric Hoyte, Judy Brown, Norman Down.