Pea Patch Property
During the pandemic, OICF, OPAL Community Land Trust (OPAL) and Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC) worked together to provide a Shelter program, serving those community members who were unsheltered.
This experience increased our collective awareness of the challenges rural communities face addressing homelessness. We formed the Coalition for Housing on Orcas (COHO), to focus on finding housing solutions. We hired a local coordinator and secured a Rural Technical Assistance (RTA) grant from Washington State. This grant has provided a team of three experts with vast experience in housing and services in rural communities. This team has been facilitating the process to develop a Community Campus plan.
We became aware of the impending sale of an 11 acre property on the north side of Enchanted Forest Road, the last portion of what was the Lavender Family Farm in late 2022. The property is part of the estate of Lina and Dave McPeake, listed as “55 Pea Patch Lane.” The property borders the Funhouse Commons, Children’s House, Salmonberry School and the Senior Center.
In January, 2023, the group secured a contract to purchase, with OICF as the initial purchasing agent. As the process moved forward, the contract was assigned to OPAL Community Land Trust, as owning land for community benefit is the heart of their mission.
The Pea Patch property will become a Community Campus, providing permanent space for the Orcas Island Food Bank, the Orcas Community Resource Center and a neighborhood of affordable rental homes. Heather Stansbury, the current COHO coordinator, is acting as project manager. Environmental Works has been engaged to guide site and building design. They are the non-profit architectural firm that designed April’s Grove with OPAL.
The team spent seven months doing due diligence to ensure the property is a good fit for the plans and we believe it is. Working in concert with the neighboring nonprofits, the development plans aim to include sufficient buffers, potentially shared parking and pathways, and carefully sited housing providing much needed homes for individuals and families with lower incomes. There is good potential for alternative energy sources to be included in the design as well.
We anticipate closing on the property in early October 2023. We have successfully raised sufficient funds and have secured a long term loan for the housing portion. Thank you to all who have contributed so far.
Once the property is secured, the development timeline is long. It will likely take many years to finalize the design and raise the funds needed to fully complete the project. The goal is to work in phases. Please reach out to Hilary Canty, 360-376-6423, or Lisa Byers, 360-376-3191 if you would like additional information or a tour of the property.