|I somehow got unsubscribed...||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Nancy Wight (wighthpwarr.wal.hp.com)|
|Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 10:48 CDT|
Yesterday I tried to send two messages to COHOUSING-L, and neither of them got there (from what I can tell, anyway). Here's one of them (apologies if some of you actually received this already!). Hi fellow cohousers, Fred suggested that it might be a good idea for us to introduce ourselves. So, here we are. In September of 1989, a group people who had read the Cohousing book started meeting and formed an organization that came to be known as CCGB (Cohousing Clearinghouse of Greater Boston). After a few meetings, it became apparent that there were so many different ideas of cohousing, and so many different needs - some people wanted to be in the city, some in suburbia, and some in Vermont. My husband, Pablo, and I sought out the people in the group whose ideas most closely resembled ours, and who we felt we could work with initially, and then 7 of us formed a "core group". We later named ourselves "New View Neighborhood Development Corp.", which we intended to change once we got a site (although we still haven't come up with a new name). The first thing we did was write a charter, which is included at the end of this memo. This was to become one of the most important documents for the group to fall back on when decisions got tough (we make all of our decisions by consensus). After expanding the group to 11, we began looking for land. During the two and a half years of land searching, we spent a lot of time doing research about how to pull this off. We formed committes, hired lawyers, architects and a project manager, and did a lot of work on our group process. After looking at more than 40 sites we finally settled on a site in Acton, MA, a relatively small town about 22 miles west of Boston. It was very difficult to find a suitable site because of the cost of land in this part of the country. At this point, we have purchased 22 acres (3 different land parcels) in West Acton. There is an existing 6000+ sq ft house on the property that will be made into 4 units (it wasn't structurally suitable for the common house). The rest of the site will have either detached single family houses, side-by-side attached duplexes, or semi-detached duplexes (attached only at the roof line). We have 22 full member households: 39 adults and 24 children under 18. We don't know exactly how many households we will be yet - but it will be between 25 and 29. We have a list of 15 supporting member households, some of whom will join us as space becomes available. We have had a relatively low turnover rate (3 households have left the group since its inception - 1 of them after the first few meetings), due in part to our commitment to group process and our unambiguous membership commitment (e.g. financial contributions up front and clear distinction between members and non-members). We are currently finishing up our building permits application, and if all goes well, we expect to begin construction either in the very late fall of '93 or spring of '94. On a personal note, I have found this process to be both extremely rewarding and extremely time-consuming. During the most hectic times, some of us are attending 3 evening meetings per week. I didn't quite realize how much it had taken over my life until I saw a pre-programming survey on which we were asked the following question, "How many times per week do you have people over to your house for dinner?". "How many times per WEEK??!," I shrieked, "you've got to be kidding!". I had the question changed to "Before you became involved in cohousing, how many..." . For us, it has taken an enormous amount of commitment, trust, and willingness to take on financial risk to get where we are, and I am grateful to our members for hanging in there. I only hope that this process gets easier for future groups. - Nancy
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