Small cohousing groups
From: Mike Malone (
Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 11:17:09 -0500
Monterey Cohousing Community (MoCoCo) is also a small group. We have 
15 units on 2.8 acres of land. Much of the land is unavailable for 
building due to a utility easement. I'm amazed at the similarities 
between MoCoCo and the Berkley group. We also bought land with a 
pre-existing building which we have partially rehab. Some of our 
members lived in the pre-existing building during development. MoCoCo 
is in an area of high density housing, although there is plenty of 
green space nearby. 
We acted as our own developer because we could not find a developer 
interested in such a small project or in cohousing.  The combination 
of a small group, no building industry experience in the group, 
limited financial resources, and doing the development work ourselves 
made for  exhausted group members. In addition, being amatuers we 
made expensive mistakes and ended with everyone assuming more debt 
than they desired or had planned for. Fortunately, we had an 
extremely helpful banker. There is a bank in Minneapolis that 
specializes in financing for high risk local ventures. They gave us 
much more than a loan and helped s avoid some mistakes we would have 
otherwise made.
 For most of us, particularly those with children, our lives and social 
activity became restricted 
to cohousing. Now, a year after we have all moved in, many are trying 
to recreating former social ties. Although I certainly know folks in the group 
better than I have 
previous neighbors, I don't feel close to anyone that I didn't know 
prior to joining the group.  I don't think that being small always 
means close-knit. 
Gee, this all sounds pretty grumpy. We have had many wonderful times, 
including a wedding on our front lawn, building a wonderful retaining 
wall that snakes up a slope, and several  spontaneous lawn suppers. 

Michael Malone
Cancer Control Section
Minnesota Department of Health
Internet address:  michael.malone [at]
Phone: (612)623-5670
Fax: (612)623-5520

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