legal and organizational docs
From: Jeff Fried (unifi!!jeffuunet.UU.NET)
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 93 10:30 CDT
(this is in response to Jim Rubarth-Lay of the Violet Crown cohousing society)
jim - 
I can respond a bit to your question about organizational
docs, and I am posting this to the bboard for others as well.
I am a member of a cohousing group in Boston called
New View Neighborhood Development (New View for short).
We've been going for about 4 years, and are now
in the design/permitting stage.  We do have
a variety of documents, which represent our stages in
development, sort of:

i) - a charter (basically a set of goals)
ii) - an "organizational charter" (describes early view of membership
      status and organizational structure, now obselete)
iii) - articles of incorporation (basically a standard
      incorporation of a "non-profit" company, with pieces
      from our charter woven in, for filing in Massachusetts
iv) - a set of bylaws (about 50 pages), describing membership,
      organizational structure, financial structure, etc.
v)  - a charter and agreement for a "land fund" we set up to
      raise money disproportinately within the group when we
      were securing land (roughly $400K in the fund).

The above are "official", we wrote i and ii in about 4 months as our
initial core group of 7 people (4 households) with everyone involved.
We did iii and iv over about 5 months when we were 15 households
(starting with a subcommittee of 4 folks and a hired lawyer, ending with
whole group consensus); it cost us ~$6500 to do this and incorporate).
It took about 2 months and $1800 to do v when we were 21 households
(with a subcommittee of 4 folks and a different hired lawyer).

There are also various "unofficial", "in-process", or "secret" documents, such
vi) - a draft of ideas about legal structure after move-in involving
   basically a standard condo with limitations like first
   right of refusal; there is a committee and yet a third lawyer
   working on this issue right now.
vii) - about 30 different budgets and proformas from different
   stages of development
viii) - an article about NewView and about 12 press releases,
     op eds, etc.
ix) - architectural programs for the site, the common house,
      and 3 "core designs" for individual houses
x) - the preliminary site plan as approved by the group
xi) - various contracts for land purchase of 3 different sites
xii) - various contracts for our contractors, e.g. architect, 
     project manager, etc.

The group has agreed to copy and distribute iv for the cost
of doing it ($10); contact Martha Rounds (617) 648-7858.
We have not really discussed giving out copies of other stuff,
but there's certainly a desire to share it, just issues of
logistics, keeping current, and propriety (e.g. probably wouldn't
give copies of things related to current permitting or
negotiations, since we've learned this can hurt even with
everyone well-meaning).

The "cohousing contact" for our group is Yvonne Bauer,
(617) 944-8145; she would be a good person to call
or write for paper copies of other stuff.
I have machine copies of some of these in a more or less
final state (i, ii, iv, v, vi, some of vii), but I want to
check before posting them, since the master copy is paper.

Feel free to send me e-mail (jeff [at] if you want more info, or
to request online stuff....which I hope to be able to
post soon.

-jeff fried

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