RE: Neighboring property value info needed ASAP
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 12:27:29 -0500
This has come up before and so I will not go into my usual details.
WHen dealing with neighbors, there are a number of good ideas. Here are
a few.

1. Find out who they are by having 2-3 events to bring them in.
Personally talk with them, Personally invite them to a get together,
have food, be pleasant and listen to what they say. If you do this
honestly, it can be transformational. If there is a neighborhood meeting
about your project, and you are not there, then your work is cut out for

2. Your best case is that you are not a for profit developer. You want
to be friendly neighbors and you plan to live there. Prove that to them
and explain the obvious advantage that has for them, (them being the
other non-cohousing neighbors)

3. People will be opposed to ANY development. This is normal. The key
points of why cohousing is better than for profit development:

*The developers are the future residents and they want to do the right
thing. They will honestly work with you to meet the needs of everybody.
Large, mega-corporate developers will not. That's who will develop the
property if the cohousers do not. The property will NOT be undeveloped,
so having cohousing is better than non-cohousing development.
*The future residents will know each other, be a well intregeted
neighborhood, and will be active in neighborhood improvements, including
block watches, schools, etc. This increases neighborhood security.
*The commonhouse could be used by other neighbors as well for block
party meetings, scouting activities, etc.  Many cohousing groups have
allowed and encouraged their neighbors to get to know one another better
by hosting events and being the catalyst for neighborhood involvement.
When neighbors know each other and work together, everybody benefits,
this is main point to cohousing in the first place. 

>Original Message-----
Sent:           Tuesday, June 11, 1996 9:56 AM
Subject:        Re: Neighboring property value info needed ASAP

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
against it?  If someone has owned their property since the late '70's,
probably worth several times what they paid for it.  A $30,000 house at
time is now worth $150,000, perhaps.  Are people in that particular
situation going to really deny you a chance to create something
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
52 people show one documented case of a cohousing development which
the surrounding property values?  Or are they operating on rumor and
hearsay?  What are your planning commission's rules regarding the burden
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
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
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
will attract people who care about their neighborhood and community,
can have an effect on the surrounding neighborhood, etc.  Hopefully it
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
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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