Keep up to date on what's happening on the land. The upcoming events, how you can help, and our future plans.
Some background: In May of 2018, the Zen Center purchased a ~7-acre parcel of land just North of The Harbor School at 15816 Vashon Highway SW. We continue to hold most of our services at the Havurat Ee Shalom, 15401 Westside Highway, and look forward to developing this land in the future.
Some words from Koshin our Abbot on the land purchase:
Buying land separately from a building allows us to proceed more quietly and steadily, and to fundraise over a period of years.
In the pause between buying the land and building a zendo, we can cultivate the land, build trails, plant a garden, have picnics and moonlight sits. It is my hope that we will be able to continue to use the beautiful practice space of the Havurah, generously rented to us by the island’s Jewish community, as our Zen Center’s home for a number of years to come.
I am under no illusions about the work it will take to build on this island. The work may indeed take many years. When, some years from now, it’s time to build, we will need to have a big capital campaign. We’ll ask for the sangha’s help in many ways. It will be hard work.
On the other hand, we will be doing this hard work together as a sangha. I take great satisfaction in working together on projects with sangha members and feel that this hard work will strengthen us as a sangha, as well as challenge us.
When we build our own Zen Center, we build an opportunity for Zen practice to continue on Vashon long after we’re gone. We build a place where people we haven’t met yet; who might not even have been born yet; can come to discover the beauty and quiet of this ancient tradition.
I’m excited about the possibility of these next few years of dreaming, working, practicing, and building together.
March 2019 Property Committee News:
The snowstorm that struck Vashon the first week of February 2019 collapsed the Zen Center’s white tent which was constructed back in October 2018. A work party is planned for Sunday, March 3, 2019 to remove (and salvage, if possible) its sad remains.
The Property Committee is in communication with King County regarding a citation we have received for clearing the land. The land was cleared prior its purchase by the Zen Center. However we did till the land in preparation for grass seed application in the spring. We have since been informed that the tilling required a permit. A meeting with the county is being scheduled to bring us into compliance and to pay any outstanding permit fees.
We also learned that, due to the residential zoning of the land, the Zen Center cannot hold more than two events on the land unless and until we obtain a conditional use permit from King County. Eventually we will seek this permit but we need to do more research, planning and fundraising before this is feasible. Folks are still welcome to sit on the land and to walk the trail on an individual basis.
The state granted us a 5/7 property tax waiver as a religious institution.