RE: Neighborhood objections & concerns
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 95 18:10 CST
The best to find the information on property values you seek is local.  
Cohousing is really nothing different than any other condo or similar 
project in your area.  If you are doing townhouses or some other model 
in the midst of a single family detached area (and the zoning allows 
this) then I'll bet somewhere in Sabestapol there is a similar project.
Ditch the term "Cohousing" for a minute and just evaluate it as another 
development.  Your local planning dept. should have a clue about what 
sorts of developments are similar and looking over the last dozen 
multi-family projects done in your area should give you a clue.

My advice, based on what I have experienced is that what the neighbors 
think is up to you to define.  Have you had a block party yet and 
invited everyone to tea or ice cream, pizza  or whatever?  Have you had 
any direct personal contact with the people who are going to be your 
neighbors?  Its normal to be suspicious of strangers with strange new 
ideas.  Its harder when you have shaken their hand and had dinner with 
them.  When Sharingwood first was conceived, Shirley went door to door 
and in person explained to every neighbor what she was up to.  There 
was no opposition, and this from a somewhat rural conservative bunch 
who could have just as easily gotten up in arms over "Hippy commune, Condos".

If you do not explain what cohousing is to the neighbors, they will 
invent their own meanings which may not be anything close to what is 
really is.  If the first time the neighbors here about your project is 
when the development signs go up, you are, in my opinion, asking for 
big problems.  If there is a hearing involved you really need to 
communicate with your neighbors directly, in person, one on one to show 
them that you really are nice people, doing nice things.  If you have a 
hearing and peoples suspicions and fears are not dealt with, it may not 
go very well for you.

Rob Sandelin

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