I somehow got unsubscribed...
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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