Re: "Gawkers" at cohousing communities (FWD)
From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 13:50 CST
As a resident of an existing cohousing community I would like to reply 
to David G. Adams comment:

> but I normally have no qualms about walking on private streets
>here in Arlington, and I think it is unhealthy to be so insular that anyone
>caught walking around your village "has to be taught to be polite", or "is
>like walking in my yard".  It's not yours.  That's why its called a Commons.

The Commons aspect of cohousing is very analogous to the commons 
concept of a condominium.  It is not common to everyone, only common to 
the homeowners.  If you are not a homeowner then the commons does not 
apply. It is private property held by a group ownership rather than a 
single owner. Group ownership does not imply nor should be considered 
by others to be public ownership.  A street is implied to be public 
ownership.  The walkway of the interior of a condominium is considered 
private ownership.  The example you give of visiting Winslow is a good 
one in that their interior walkway is not in any way a public road and 
that is very obvious from the layout.

As a stranger I would think you have no more welcome to walk around in 
a private condominium walkway, inside of a condominium development, 
than you have in a cohousing development.  The gated aspect of some 
condominium developments is in response to unwelcome, uninvited people 
walking around on private property.

One way to look at this is that Cohousing is private property 
development done cooperatively by a group of people.  It is not a 
public project in the sense of a city park. The public  is welcome in 
some cohousing groups by invitation only.  If you don't have an invite, 
you are trespassing on private property.  I think it would be 
irresponsible and rude to ignore this just because  you are involved in 
a cohousing group.  That does not give you right of trespass.  If a 
cohousing group wants visitors by invitation only, and you disrespect 
that, then you run the risk of getting asked to leave.    The only way 
you will know how a group feels about uninvited visitors is to call 
them and ask.  The phone numbers of contact people in existing groups 
can be found in the cohousing journal and can be reproduced on this 
forum if anyone asks.

As the person who does extensive networking for cohousing in my area I 
have organized gatherings at Winslow, eaten dinner there, and know 
people in that community.  I would not walk around in their development 
without having called first so it is hard for me to imagine someone who 
is a total stranger feeling it would be OK to walk around without an invite.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood

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