|Re: will Time limit future of Cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: fmancino (fmancinocpcug.org)|
|Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 10:55:40 -0500|
> Rob asks for opinions and comments. He writes > >>I disagree that the group needs to be developers at all to form > community. I think that the best route to the future is to let > developers be developers and do that work, and have faciliated community > building happen amoung the residents, teach and learn group process and > decision making, do the design input work, but leave ALL the ugly legal, > permit, etc. details to other people and focus your group energy and learning > to be a group and building a sense of trust and community and friendship > amoung the group. Our group tried to interest developers in working on a cohousing development but was also unsuccessful; I talked to realtors/developers (guys that owned land, sold land, and developed some of them), and the first thing they said was, "but your problem is that your group does not have any money, you cannot be serious"; it was not enough to tell them about how much in lending power the group could afford, they wanted to see evidence of a commitment, real cash money (say 50 to 100K in working capital). This is very difficult for a group forming, to ask people to commit serious money to a project without knowing where it will be, what it will look like, and when it will be built, and for some people, 5-10K of available cash is just not possible. My perception is that location of a community does matter to people, and means different things to different people: school districts are very important to families with school-age kids, neighborhood security is very important to number of people, distance to likely employment centers is also important to many people. What that means is that in order for people to make a real commitment, they must have something real to relate to, a specific location, a design concept, a schedule and cost estimate. Most of these design professionals are better at doing than anyone but to have them takes money, and a site. Finding a developer with a site and interest in doing cohousing is more the exception than the rule, at least in this area. Big-time developers dont even return your calls or letters about your proposed development of 20-30 units, when they are working on plans for 400-2000 unit developments. Most small unit developers do not own land, and are in the same fix as you are, but at least they may have a line of credit at a bank; they mostly are trying to maximize the build out and profit on a property, which usually means single family homes on the typical 10,000 sf lot. Not many small developers build in any common space on those properties unless planning and zoning actions force them to dedicate the area as greenspace due to floodplains, wetlands, etc. It seems to me that finding the exceptional developer with the resources, land, and interest in cohousing would be wonderful but not something you can bank on should you want to live in cohousing anytime soon. What is worth doing is to delegate almost all development decisions to one or two people once a site is obtained, and a conceptual development plan is approved by the group, and then devote as much time as possible to community building activities. To me, the image of a group with wonderful process skills and no site and plan for development is not very appealing. But I am an impatient person, preferring more the action than the words; other temperaments may differ in their tolerance for things.
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