Re: How many meetings a month after move-in?
From: Lori A Llewelyn (
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 22:23:28 -0500
At Muir Commons we continued to have general meetings twice a month
(meetings are one hour and forty-five minutes long) for five years after
move-in.  For the last year or so, we've been having meetings once a
month (same length), and that seems to be working.  Our general meetings
are usually attended by at least one person from at least half of all
households; at the last meeting (where a revised decision-making process
was up for consensus), we had 18 out of 26  households represented in
person and two more represented by proxy.  (And we consensed the new
dec-making process!)

In my opinion, the keys to shorter, better meetings are 1) having a very
specific decision-making structure, with an alternative to consensus
available when needed, 2) offloading as much as possible to committees
(all interested members invited to committee meetings), 3) getting people
to plan and get organized as much as possible before bringing issues to
general meetings, and 4) good facilitation.  In my opinion, good
facilitation by itself is definitely not enough.

Believe me, there is no lack of issues to discuss after you move in.  If
you are like us, your decision-making process will be revised numerous
times (I do think it's improving over time).  We periodically "reprogram"
our Common House - review and sometimes change how the various rooms are
used; needs change as kids grow up,  new interests develop (business,
hobby, exercise, etc.), etc.  Distribution of work within the community
is another issue that comes and goes.  Kids' issues (rules, standards of
behavior, conflicts with adults and with each other, kids'
self-governance, community chores, noise level at meal times,  and more)
come up periodically.  The budget comes up at least once every year. 
Restructuring the dues structure, how to pay for things that some people
want and some don't ....  It took us five years, after move-in,  to
finish buiding our shop, two bike sheds, common house trellis, and hot
tub, and all those things involved planning decisions, and we spent a
fair amount of time on a use policy for the hot tub (when are suits
required, etc.)  We also try to have at least one meeting a year for a
community check-in, when we review what's going in our lives, what we
like and don't like about our community, ideas for making our community
even better.  And there're a lot of little questions, like... Shall we
plant some redwood trees at the edge of the common lawn?  Should we use
poisons to deal with ant invasions?  With regard to the care of our
landscaping, how good is good enough?  What kind of art work do we want
in the Common House?  Should we increase the washer/dryer use fees?  We
need more play equipment for the kids; where shall we put it?  The
sandbox has cat poop in it; how shall we deal with this?  I think you get
the picture.  

This is partly what living together is about.  At home, you have to work
these kinds of issues out with, at most, a spouse and/or kids or
housemates.  In community, we all work them out together.  Occassionally,
it's onerous, but most of the time it's a generally positive process that
allows you to get to know your neighbors better.  It's one of the things
that holds the community together and makes the fabric of the community
richly textured.

>Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 11:12:16 -0400 (EDT)
>From: MartyR707 [at]
>To: cohousing-l [at]
>Subject: Meetings after move-in
>Message-ID: <970612111156_1890919355 [at]>
>Some of our members are dismayed to hear that most groups continue to 
>twice a month after move-in.  (I'm not surprised myself)  Many had 
>that once we're in, life returns to normal and meetings won't be 
>(very many anyway).  We'd love to hear from those of you who are in, 
>what the
>topics for these meetings are;  what kinds of issues come up that 
>meetings, etc.  Do all members attend as a rule?
>Our Community Life Com. is gearing up to address "life after move-in" 
>this would be very helpful to us.
>Marty Roberts
>Two Acre Wood - where yet another delay has put our construction start 
>up in the air - AGAIN!!
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