Posted on June 14, 2011 at 7:51 PM
Updated today at 7:58 PM
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- An aging Navy housing complex on Bainbridge Island will soon be torn down and replaced by 137 zero waste producing, bike sharing, flex car driving, organic food growing, solar powered homes.
"This isn't about requiring extra effort to live sustainably," said Marja Preston of Asani Development. "It's really making it easy to do all the things that we think we ought to do."
The development is call the Grow Community. It's built on the concept of "five-minute living." That means living within a five-minute walk of nearly everything you need.
Located just above the Bainbridge hub of Winslow, residents will have easy access via walking trails to shops, restaurants, farmer's markets and the ferry terminal. The idea is to make cars largely unneccessary and increase the sense of community.
"We're creating an option for living that doesn't exist right now," said Preston.
People are already looking to move in. The 130 student Madrona School is considering a location at Grow Community.
"If people are able to walk to their children's school, even live in the community where it's located, how beautiful is that?" said Madrona's Missy Goss.
Grow Community is based on The Vineyard, another sustainable living development on Bainbridge. The Vineyard has solar powered units, common gardens and green spaces instead of parking lots.
"It makes you feel like you're in the Northwest," said resident Philene Vaivods.
But Grow Community will be much larger and much greener. The goal is 100-percent solar power and zero waste for the 87 apartments and 50 single family homes. It is expected to be one of only a handful of communities in America endorsed by One Planet which certifies entire developments for their Earth friendliness.
But developers admit, green living is a tough sell to some. Cars will be allowed at Grow, but there will only be parking for one per family.
"If you have to have two or three cars, that's gonna be tough," said Asani consultant Kelly Muldrow. "You are closer to your neighbors so you have to be the sort of person who gets along with other people."
Developers plan to break ground on the project next year and build four homes to test the market. Single family homes are expected to run anywhere from $250,000 to $390,000.