06/19/2009: "Buck Annexation Approved"
The Buck project was approved Tuesday night for annexation into the Town of Friday Harbor.
The Town Council also amended the Comprehensive Plan map by adding the land to the official Town map and identifying zoning on the property. Land to be developed for permanently affordable homes was zoned Multi-Family while most of the land to be developed by Vincent Buck, Carolyn Buck Norman and Jai Boreen was zoned for Single Family residential development.
The annexation fulfills a three-year effort by the Bucks’ and the SJ Community Home Trust (Home Trust) to acquire one third of the property for development of permanently affordable homes.
The Town Council initially approved the annexation on March 19, along with the Development Agreement that lays out the conditions and limits of development on the property.
The next hurdle was obtaining site approval from the State Department of Health for an on-site sewage and wastewater treatment system. Because part of the site is a reclaimed gravel pit, test holes in the area revealed pure sand, or the ideal substrate for filtering stormwater and wastewater. Additionally, further plans are to utilize a second level of treatment, so water can be reclaimed and reused in toilets and irrigation, thereby reducing the quantity of potable water used by households by as much as 75%. The Department of Ecology is now reviewing this part of the application.
Since March, the Home Trust’s architects and engineers have been busy developing a site plan and house designs. The nonprofit organization expects to take ownership of the first parcel it will develop, 5.1 acres at the end of Grover Street, in mid-August. A community celebration is being planned on the site for early September, prior to groundbreaking.
Home Trust Board of Directors has chosen the name "Sun Rise" for the 5.1 acre parcel, due to its east-facing slope, as well as plans to utilize solar energy for hot water systems, at a minimum. Plans and financing are close to being completed for the first 14 units, with construction expected to begin this fall.
Home Trust Executive Director Nancy DeVaux said that the projected cost of developing infrastructure to serve up to 46 homes in Sun Rise and constructing the first 14 homes is $4.7 million. Of that, $4.3 million has been committed. Fundraising from foundations, individuals and corporations continues in order to close the gap.
Homes will be sold for approximately $140,000-$160,000, with sizes ranging from one to four bedrooms. A homeowner orientation meeting for potential homeowners is open to the public and planned for Saturday, July 11, at 10:00 am at the San Juan Island Public Library. House plans and homebuyer applications will be available.
While most of homes are reserved for income levels at or below 80% of Area Median Income, (adjusted for family size, so up to $53,450 for a family of 4, or $37,400 for a single person.) Two of the homes may be sold to households up to 120% AMI. ($58,950 for a family of four, $42,900 for one person.)
Approximately half of the 14 homes are said to be committed to qualified applicants currently on a waiting list, and half are still available.