Re: Controversy over attached garages
From: Dan Ardoin (
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 94 19:24 CDT
Reply to  Nancy E Wight

I'm not sure if you are interested in just the issue of attached 
garages or the process of conflict resolution so I'll write a bit about both.

One of the basic core values of the Grell group is a pedestrian 
community.  The site plans considered so far have a road on two sides 
of the property and only on the periphery.  The idea of garages at all 
let alone attached garages had not even been broached until recently.  
The group is defining the site plan for submittal to the county and 
when the plan is submitted the size of the lots are locked, they cannot 
be changed, shrunk or enlarged.  The plan is to have 14  two story 
duplexes surrounding the common house.

The issue of attached garages arouse out the needs of two families with 
two very different needs.  One is from a senior who needs to have 
parking and a garage right at the home.  The other is of resale value.  
The attached garage would necessitate a larger lot size than that of 
the rest of the community.  This brings up a fairness issue.  The 
larger lot size would result in a higher resale value therefore a 
larger portion of the common costs should go along with that.  This was 
resolved by accepting a common area cost per square foot of lot size.  
However the group could not consense on allowing attached garages.

The process that the group went through to resolve the conflict was 
very interesting.  It was guided by the group's mentors, a couple that 
have been non-profit management consultants for 35 years.  They led the 
group through the process.  This is how it went:
The group physically divided itself into two groups, those that wanted 
attached garages and those that didn't.  Then each group chose a person 
to speak for their point of view.  The spokespersons sat in the middle 
of the room and had to present their view to the other.  As one person 
presented, the other had to repeat what s/he heard the other say (in 
that way the person knows that the other person really was hearing 
them).  After the two opposing views were presented the group was asked 
to stand next to the person who they agreed with.

Each position was asked to seek a compromise or possible solution that 
would satisfy everyone.  The process went through several variations 
and the final solution was that the group should make a gift of an 
attached garage to the one senior person and that would be the only one 
in the community.  Unfortunately there were several people that could 
not agree with this.  So the one person whose bottom line was to have 
an attached garage saw that the best way was for them to step back from 
the group so that the site plan development could proceed.

I hope this is helpful.  Please ask more questions if you want.  
Understand that this is a sensitive issue for some.  The Grell group is 
exploring more of the needs of seniors and how to accomodate that 
without giving up too many of the core values of their idea of 
cohousing, after all, everyone is eventually going to have the same or 
similar needs as we all grow older.

One alternative to the access problem is that there will be homes 
located on or very near the roads (which can accomodate pull outs for 
temporary parking) and others near the main parking lot.  Garages or 
carports will only be located in the main parking area if at all, 
definitely not attached to the homes.

Oceano, CA

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