press release KVCH--Maine
From: gkvontob (gkvontobCOLBY.EDU)
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 94 10:24 CDT
Kennebec Valley CoHousing (KVCH), a non-profit housing and community
development in Readfield, Maine, has received notice that a review of its
preapplication for a 515 Rural Cooperative Housing (RCH) loan to finance 16
cooperatives homes has been completed by the Washington, D.D. office of
Farmers Home Administration (FmHA).  Upon submission of a final application
and favorable review by FmHA, the KVCH cooperative will be the first RCH
loan in the U.S. made by FmHA since the 515 program regulations were
revised in 1991, and will receive a cooperative mortgate of $1,077,278 and
16 units of Rental Assistance.  The 16 subsidized homes will be clustered
in proximity to 8 market-rate homes and a shared community building or
Common House.  The mixed-income, collaborative community of 24 homes is
planned for a 200 acre tract of land in Readfield, Maine, overlooking the
Lake Maranacook basin.
        To qualify for membership in the FmHA coop, a household must meet
FmHA income eligibility guidelines.  For instance, a family of four that
has an annual income below $33,800 would be eligible for a 3-bedroom home
costing approximately $85,000.  With a 50 year mortgage at 1% interest, the
basic monthly housing costs would amount to $569 (including taxes,
insurance, utilities, and maintenance fees) but is adjusted to be no more
than 30% of household income!  Under the regulations of the 515 program,
prior home ownership is not an obstacle to eligibility.
        These are *affordable* cooperative homes in a *mixed-income*
community.  For example, those who are not eligible for a FmHA unit have
the opprotunity to purchase a single-family or duplex cooperative home
costing approximately $80-100,000 through a residential mortgage ("share
loan") from either Peoples Heritage Bank or Key Bank of Maine.
                On July 29, KVCH closed on a $62,000 pre-development loan
from the Maine Community Loan Fund (MCLF), a private, non-profit
organization that provides below-market interest loans to non-profit
organizations and cooperatives that are developing affordable housing and
sustainable community-based enterprises.  According to Peter Dunfey, MCLF
Fund Manager, the KVCH project is a perfect example of the type of project
the Loan Fund wishes to stimulate.  By creating permanently affordable
housing and renewing the tradition of farm and forestry uses of the land,
the project will clearly contribute to the economic development of the
Kennebec Valley.
        In June 1993, KVCH was awarded an Affordable Housing Program grant
of $144,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.  These funds are
targeted to the land acquisition and site development costs of the 16-home
FmHA cooperative.
        The home and site design includes state-of-the-art energy
conservation techniques and, wherever financially feasible,
environmentally-friendly building materials.  All homes are sited within 15
degrees of true south for passive solar orientation.  Life-cycle
affordability is insured through superinsulation (R26 walls and R50
ceilings), air-to-air heat exchangers, and in-slab hydronic radiant heating
systems.  At least 50% of all lighting fixtures will be high-intensity
florescents.  Although propane is the fuel source, all systems are designed
for easy conversion to active solar as photovoltaics become cost-effective.
 Estimated ANNUAL energy consumption of a typical 950 square foot,
3-bedroom home will be $116 for heat, $165 for hot water, $36 for cooking
and $528 for electricity or $854 per year ($71 per month). 
        With more than 30 acres of fields and orchards, KVCH anticipates
supporting a working farming operation on the grounds as well as
participating in a community-supported agriculture venture.  The Kennebec
Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on nearly 90% of the property.
 The easement will insure public access for recreation, limited future
development of no more than 6 additional homes and maintenance of open
space through sustainable silvacultural and agricultural land use
practices.  Financial diversity of all homes will be insured thorugh
perpetual affordability covenants with the Maine Homestead Land Trust
        KVCH submitted its final application to the Readfield Planning
Board.  After Board review and approval, KVCH expects to begin in October
the construction of Maine's first CoHousing community--a model for rural
re-development and land use; a national mocdel of people working together
to concretely address the loneliness of bedroom communities through
neighborliness, cooperation, mixed-income housing, environmental
stewardship and sustainable agriculture.

Pardon my wordiness/bragging--but you folks are the ones most able to
recognize our joy to be able to send out this press release.  I tried to
edit out the purely local trivia.  We look to begin a major push on
recruitment on the heels of these milestones.  Any CSA farmers, plumbers,
musicians, foresters, etc. looking for a home in Maine, post direct to me

Grace Von Tobel
Kennebec Valley CoHousing (KVCH)
Kennebec County, Maine
gkvontob [at]
Grace Von Tobel
Kennebec Valley CoHousing (KVCH)
Kennebec County, Maine
gkvontob [at]

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