Re: Neighboring property value info needed ASAP
From: Loren Davidson (
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 11:56:18 -0500
At 10:22 PM 6/10/96 -0500, MartyR707 [at] wrote:
>We're going to the city planning commission tomorrow night to have our
>proerty rezoned and get a use permit - yikes!!

Best of luck to you...I know you've all been working really hard to make
this happen.
>The neighbors have 52 names on a petition opposing us.  One of their
>complaints is that we will lower their property values. 

Sorry I don't have the comps you need...but I have a couple of questions
that you might want to ask these people.

"Lower property values" is a scare phrase, but what does it mean?  Lower
whose property values?  Compared to when?  1995?  1990?  1978?  How long
have your neighbors owned their houses?  Everybody's property values got
lowered a few years ago during the recession; did anyone present a petition
against it?  If someone has owned their property since the late '70's, it's
probably worth several times what they paid for it.  A $30,000 house at that
time is now worth $150,000, perhaps.  Are people in that particular
situation going to really deny you a chance to create something beautiful
because they might have to settle for $145,000 in this case?  Some
perspective might help.

Another tack:  Why should the burden of proof be on you?  Can any of these
52 people show one documented case of a cohousing development which lowered
the surrounding property values?  Or are they operating on rumor and
hearsay?  What are your planning commission's rules regarding the burden of
proof in cases like this?  Who has to present the facts?

I've seen people on this list talk about the importance of involving the
neighbors early in the planning process, educating them about cohousing and
the values behind it -- returning to community, to a place where you can
truly know your neighbors and get to trust them.  Since this sort of
opposition is happening, is it possible that you somehow missed an important
part of this phase?  How can you correct that at this late date?

These neighbors -- and your planning commission -- need to hear how
cohousing can help families have more time to spend together, how it can
lower crime (people more aware of their neighbors and surroundings), how it
will attract people who care about their neighborhood and community, which
can have an effect on the surrounding neighborhood, etc.  Hopefully it isn't
too late to start educating people -- it's hard to get through someone's
fear.  Emphasize what you have in common with your neighbors, so that
perhaps they'll see you as "fellow human beings" rather than "commie
cultists" or whatever.

I realize these are debating points rather than competitive market values,
but in the absence of the latter, you might find some of this helpful.
Again, I really, really wish you good fortune in this.

Loren Davidson
loren [at]
The First Amendment went too far.  It should have said, "Congress shall 
make no law".

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