“Greenway”, GTi’s first project, was successful in several important ways and not so successful in others. GTi conceived an innovative community of 28 affordable townhouses sharing a duck pond and forested wetlands preserve and successfully challenged and improved Snohomish County’s conflicted site development standards to permit the realization of Snohomish County’s first “Low-Impact Development”. Most importantly for Rinpoche, Greenway’s ~$70,000 profit helped restore Tibetan monasteries destroyed during the Chinese Communists’ violent political and cultural revolutions. Regrettably, only a few meritorious jobs were created for local Dharma students and the financial investments an embarrassed Migyur Rinpoche expected at least one of his top three Taiwanese benefactors to make in GTi’s first project never materialized. As a result, GTi was compelled to sell the project before it could realize its plan to design and build Greenway’s more advanced architecture. Greenway’s architecture could have generated even more profit and demonstrated to the nation’s more conventional builders and bankers how much more appealing their homes could really be. Given this mixed verdict, Migyur Rinpoche and Phillip Lehn were both eager to initiate another project and when Lehn inherited ~ $250,000, they decided to create what became known as “Greenness”, GTi’s second project.
Greenness’ original two lots were discovered in late 1994 and purchased soon after. They included a larger (1.25 acres) flag lot stretching from the street to the protected native growth area along the bluff with an existing, 3 bedroom Early Northwest Modernist house built originally in 1962 for the Lehns’ growing family, and a smaller (0.5 acre) undeveloped lot on the ridge along the street. Both lots enjoyed expansive, unobstructed views of northern Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, National Park and Forests, and Peninsula, Whidbey Island, and Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound’s gateway to the Pacific and Asia. Soon after Migyur Rinpoche and the Lehns purchased both lots, the Lehns met individually and collectively with the thirteen other property owners sharing the street to present and discuss GTi's plans to improve the street and subdivide their two lots into four. The City of Edmonds required a widening of the street to increase the number of lots served by it and due to steep slopes on both sides, strict compliance with the City's street standards was not always possible. A previous developer had tried to subdivide the upper half acre lot but failed to win the neighborhood's critical support. After multiple meetings with his neighbors listening to their concerns and ideas and getting a better sense of what could and should be proposed, Lehn designed an alternative street improvement plan that his neighbors supported unanimously.
Soon after the neighbors' vote, GTi and the Lehns formally contested the City's street standards in a well-attended public hearing and won a variance permitting the neighborhood’s alternative street improvement plan and the subdivision of GTi's and the Lehns’ two lots into four. The alternative plan widened the street to the extent that its steep slopes permitted. It also removed three ugly, view obstructing power poles and their heavy wires and undergrounded all four lots' utilities (power, gas, telephone, and high-speed cable); it directed storm drainage with new paving, thickened edges, three new catch basins and their connecting pipes, and it improved water and emergency fire service with a new 600-foot-long 8" (previously 4") round water pipe and hydrant.