I have seen all the consultant proposed options for the golf course and read many of the public comments. While, according to the consultant, 74 percent of respondents to the survey supported …
I have seen all the consultant proposed options for the golf course and read many of the public comments. While, according to the consultant, 74 percent of respondents to the survey supported alternative or hybrid uses of the golf course, the lack of creativity and imagination in regard to those alternative uses is disappointing. These options are just rehashes of old ideas, nothing new, nothing directed toward solving our most pressing and urgent issue. An opportunity missed.
It is, as a friend recently said, “designed for the haves, not the have nots.”
It is clear to me that additional open space and parks are of small concern when weighed against the lack of housing in our city. One of the most cited reasons that people move here is the abundance of outdoor recreational activities and natural beauty.
Of all of the answers to your survey, the most telling are the responses from high school students.
The next generation of adults in our community want to see affordable housing on this land. That is their number-one choice for both the golf course and Mountain View. How can we ignore them? It is time to listen to the children. They are rightfully and urgently concerned about whether they will be able to live here. We have a responsibility to at least provide some opportunities. Our legacy so far is not very admirable.
The entire golf course needs to become a planned residential community, embracing a variety of housing styles and sizes, types and levels of affordability, multiple concepts in a park-like setting. Converting publicly owned property into housing can remove the cost of land from the equation while still preserving the opportunity for home ownership and affordable rentals.
There could be clusters of tiny homes adjacent to cooperatively owned and managed multifamily apartments located near community gardens and playgrounds; townhouses, duplexes, and cottage housing connected by walking trails; boarding houses with community kitchens could serve the needs of many single folks.
One avenue to accomplish this could be the creation of a Public Development Authority whose mission would be to develop housing consistent with a matrix of criteria. The authority could convene a design competition with a significant prize to create a model housing community with integrated health care, social services, child care and elder support. The development criteria that would need to be met are aesthetics, affordability, diversity of housing types and styes and being built as close to net zero as possible. Further criteria would relate to the selection of potential residents weighted in favor of such things as need, local residency, diversity and equity, local employment and ability to participate in construction and development.
It seems to me that within our great community we have many individuals with the talent and expertise to visualize and contribute to the development of a project of this nature. We need to mobilize this energy.
This, then, is not just a different kind of vision for the golf course, it is also a call to action.
While we do not doubt the great and good intentions of our elected government and their dedicated staff who are working toward solutions for our housing crisis, we the people need to be willing to stand up and assume our roles as leaders. We cannot accept limited options in the development of this resource. Thinking and acting “outside the box” is required.
It is time to recognize that the lack of housing is an existential crisis for the city of Port Townsend.
It is time to be bold and truly creative.
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