Workshop/studio design and use issues
From: Dahako (
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 15:35:03 -0500
Hey y'all -

I've looked through the archives on this and can't find a discussion exactly
on point. Answers can be emailed, or, if you will be at the conference, you
can relay your reply via Sherri Zann Rosenthal.  

Background: Eno Commons is set up as a planned unit development subdivision
(not condo or coop). We have space in our site plan designated to be a
workshop (to be built after move-in). 

Round One: One of our current prospects raised the issue of using her own
money to build a painting studio adjacent to the workshop - triggering a
major discussion about private use of the public space.  Under her proposal,
she would pay to build the studio, use it, then give the space to the
Homeowners Asc when she moves or dies. She is not comfortable sharing her art
space with others - partly because she likes to leave her stuff out and
partly because she has some specific health issues with off-gassing from
certain solvents and paints. We weren't considering art space before her
proposal, though one other member also paints regularly.The discussion has
since branched out to cover use of the workshop, as well.  With the workshop,
we have two or three extremely dedicated wood/craft workers with lots of
tools, about as many regular dabblers, and then the great unwashed masses.

1A) How has your group dealt with private construction/uses in common space?
B) How has your group dealt physically and financially with sharing workshop,
art, home office, or dance spaces?
C) Does anyone have a neat workshop or studio design we can look over for

Round 2: One alternate proposal, that the studio be built on the house lot,
connected to the house by a breezeway and using up most of the buildable
space on the lot, has triggered even more passionate discussion about
build-out on lots. Some strongly oppose "proliferation of structures" on
environmental and aesthetic grounds; others feel they ought to be able to do
whatever they want on their lots - without a lot of group backchat.
(Remember, in our ownership model (subdivision), people own their lots
conventionally, fee simple.)  Much of the discussion centers on the question,
"What can people do on their own property and when/how should the greater
group get involved?"  In its larger manifestation, this discussion expands to
include fences and other outbuildings, and goes right to the critical balance
point of privacy with community.

2A) How has your group dealt with use of/construction on private property?
 How have you determined whether the positive/negative impacts of such use or
construction warrant neighborhood/group involvement? (I know the legal
implications of this vary with the ownership structure - I'm looking for
B) If it was possible in your neighborhood, how have you evaluated custom
home designs, especially those approaching the buildable maximum size?  (We
have two standard home designs, which almost everyone is using - but custom
homes are quite possible.) 

Thanks for any constructive thoughts you may have on this. Even just
reframing the questions might help.  One of the wonderful things we're
learning through this discussion is how committed each of our members are to
this process.  After particularly difficult sessions, my husband mutters
darkly about just giving up this aggravation and buying a nice simple house
in a regular neighborhood - then the next day he's back working things

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eno Commons Cohousing
Durham, NC
Infrastructure in; many trees still standing; looking for a few more good

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