|Making the big decision||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David G Adams (dadamsworld.std.com)|
|Date: Fri, 12 May 95 12:18 CDT|
Hi all, After about 2 months off the list (I have scanned the gopher a bit) I got back on the list yesterday. I've come back partly because I finished reading the 150 message backlog, partlybecause I missed the daily discussions, and partly because I (selfishly?) want cohousing-l's feedback on a stressful situation. [Several Cornerstoners are on cohousing-l; I hope you don't think I'm unnecessarily "airing dirty laundry". I'd appreciate wisdom about process and similar experiences. This is the best place to get that] Here's the facts as I see 'em: Cornerstone (Arlington MA) has ended negotiations on the site we had been toying with for a year or so. The owner couldn't bring himself to actually sell the property. We have identified another site on the same major road in Arlington. It is a formerly industrial (no toxics) site zoned for apartments at a busy intersection near Arlington Center. It slightly _under_ 1 acre in size, surrounded by: * A street with a nice local Italian Restaurant and a convenience store across. * A street with a used car dealership across. * The Minuteman rail trail * 2 lit baseball fields with a playground. Our consultants / architects believe we need to put about 40 units on the site in order to make it meet the group's pricing requirements. This would make us the densest group in the country, I believe [double meaning intended], with approximately .01 acre / person. We have made an offer on this site and should hear from the owner any day now. We rushed through a consensus call at the end of a meeting that was 1/2 hour already past the scheduled end, which allowed our new Development Mgmt committee to prepare and submit the offer. The only other "vote" on the site had 5 households excited about the site, 8 with reservations, 8 with serious reservations, and 1 full member holding a red card [ I wasn't there; I think it was more of a "stand aside" than a "block consensus". The 2 full member households there, including mine, would have added "serious reservations" votes.] Here's my reactions: The group's process seems to be breaking down, with lots of private conversations, ad hoc committees forming and dissolving, people advocating more than listening (I will admit to being one such person), moving ahead on an offer without being anywhere near certain we want it, etc. Some people want to move on this site just to make sure the group doesn't fade away never deciding on a site. Others think we are dooming ourselves to burn out if we move now. Is Neil Young right? We've got some people suburb-oriented, some more urban focused. The new site's prices are projected to be comparable to the old site overall, but the low end prices are significantly higher (2 BR for $155K, for example) and some people would have to drop out for economic reasons. BTW, these prices are comparable to the local luxury condo apartment buildings. Oh, and a super grocery store is slated to be built 3 doors down the street in the coming year. Open land in Arlington is scarce and expensive. I don't think we will find a larger space available in this or any neighboring town (that we could come close to affording). I've put a tremendous amount of energy into Cornerstone, and gotten a tremendous amount out of the experience. I want something called "cornerstone: a cohousing community" to exist somewhere nearby within the next couple of years. But I have _no_ current plans to live in this proposed development. The group will lose somewhere between 2 and 10 of the 17 full members if we go ahead. If we don't go ahead (or the owner accepts a different offer; developers may be bidding on the site) we have no idea what we'll do next, and the group may or may not cut its losses and say goodnight. The questions: Any similar experiences? Wisdom about how consensus process ought to affect this decision? I realize that there is usually a shakeout when a project becomes real, but how much of a shakeout? The 17 full member households have spent $5000 each on the project to date, so it's not simply that we are metamorphosizing from a "discussion group" into a "cohousing group". Have groups ever split into 2 successful separate coho groups? Thanks, all Dave Adams _____________________________________________________________________ |\/\/\/| David G. Adams | Cornerstone Cohouser |____ | U4 Consulting | Homebrewer OO ) | Arlington, MA | ( | dadams [at] world.std.com | 1995 Boston -> New York | | CompuServe: 72630,1374 | AIDS Ride cyclist _____________________________________________________________________
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