Contractor Todd Armstrong is among the volunteer builders of the Pat’s Place tiny homes in Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Contractor Todd Armstrong is among the volunteer builders of the Pat’s Place tiny homes in Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Tiny-home village permit gets green light

Port Townsend approves housing option for 180 days

PORT TOWNSEND — After more than three months of controversy, the city of Port Townsend has approved a tiny-home village in the block bordered by 10th and Rosecrans streets.

The nonprofit Bayside Housing & Services, which already manages a similar village in Port Hadlock, applied for the land use permit last summer, unleashing a torrent of comments for and against the proposed site.

In the end, Bayside “met the criteria,” city Development Services Director Lance Bailey said Friday.

If all goes as hoped, 16 tiny homes — a dozen single units and four doubles — could be ready for occupancy in 45 to 60 days, added Gary Keister, Bayside’s executive director.

The village, made up of colorfully painted wooden, furnished, lockable shelters, is designed to house a maximum of 20 people. It has a 320-square-foot kitchen “commons,” a bathroom unit and a 14-stall off-street parking lot.

The permit, along with public comments submitted to the city — and Bayside’s responses — can be found on a webpage the city has created: https://cityofpt.us/development-services/page/lup21-051-bayside-housing-tent-encampment-decision.

A site map and the village’s code of conduct are part of the page’s Exhibit D Applicant Submittals.

This is a temporary use permit for 180 days with a possible 60-day extension — no more, Bailey said.

Volunteer Sandy Tweed, a fine artist in Port Townsend, finishes painting a door to the Pat’s Place bathroom unit on Friday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Volunteer Sandy Tweed, a fine artist in Port Townsend, finishes painting a door to the Pat’s Place bathroom unit on Friday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

The document calls the tiny-home village a “tent encampment,” he added, because that’s the terminology used in the municipal code. Changing such wording would require Port Townsend City Council approval.

The new village is to be called Pat’s Place, after a family member of property owner Randall Johnson of Port Angeles.

Bayside is leasing the land from Johnson with an option to buy, Keister said, adding the agency hopes to eventually use the property for longer-term housing.

For now, this village-to-be is neither tents nor an encampment. A large team of volunteers built the tiny homes, which will have beds, shelving, lighting, curtains and heaters. Bayside plans to install water and sewer connections at the site.

Keister said Friday his agency will explore its options for appealing the 180-day limit on the permit; the appeal period is open through Oct. 21.

These tiny homes are transitional housing, Keister has said. They are warm, safe places to be. A single man or woman, a couple, or a parent and child can stay at Pat’s Place while Bayside offers help in finding long-term housing elsewhere in the community.

Kellen Lynch of the Housing Solutions Network peers inside one of the Pat’s Place tiny homes in Port Townsend on Friday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Kellen Lynch of the Housing Solutions Network peers inside one of the Pat’s Place tiny homes in Port Townsend on Friday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

The people who live in the village — typically for a month or two — must undergo a background check and sign a 26-point code of conduct.

Among its rules:

• No alcohol, illegal drugs or guns are allowed on the premises.

• Face coverings are required outside the tiny homes, in accordance with county and state mandates.

• Quiet hours are in effect at all times, so no loud voices, music, computers, engines or other disturbances are allowed.

• No overnight guests are allowed.

• Visitors are limited to immediate family members and workers from support agencies.

• Residents must participate in weekly village self-governance meetings.

• Residents must keep common spaces and areas around their tiny homes orderly and clean.

• If a resident sees any kind of harassment of a neighbor, he or she will bring it to the attention of Bayside’s onsite facilitator or person on call.

• Residents will pay monthly rent: 20 percent of their incomes toward the sustainability of the village.

“This is not just for myself, but for other people who aspire to participate in this village,” the code of conduct notes.

“This tiny house village is a place where people value community and support each other.”

The city’s Development Services Department, in approving Bayside’s permit, added a few conditions: the words “No loitering in the surrounding neighborhood” must be added to the code of conduct; Bayside is required to erect a fence around the site’s perimeter and put in a bicycle rack for at least five bikes.

Keister, for his part, hopes the surrounding community can come together to support decent transitional housing. It’s been a long road to the Pat’s Place permit, he said, even as local leaders have called the housing situation an emergency.

“It’s disappointing that an emergency would take so long,” Keister said.

Back at the tiny-home building site off San Juan Avenue, volunteers continued to put the finishing touches on the structures. They include the bathroom unit, whose doors Sandy Tweed painted teal blue on Friday afternoon, and the kitchen unit.

It’s a “double double,” four times the size of a single tiny home, as volunteer Judy Alexander put it.

Contractor Todd Armstrong added it will be a common space where people can meet one another — “the heart of the village,” he said.

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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