RE: Renters
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 08:43:39 -0600
One of the "hot" issues at Sharingwood revolved around renters and "mother in 
law apartments. Since Sharingwood is a lot development model, people can 
design their own home, with guidance from the archetectural review process we 
have created.  Many folks it seems want to build a mother in law apartment in 
addition to their home. For some folks, having the income from an apartment 
means the difference between being able to build a home at all. Some other 
folks use their rental income as their retirement.

So the issue arose how many apartments do we want?  If every home built an 
apartment, there would be 60 units at Sharingwood, much much larger than we 
all agreed we wanted. Even if we had 20 apartments, that would still make us 
the largest cohousing group in America. Nobody seemed really comfortable with 
such a large number of units, However, the wicket got very sticky when 
"limits" to rentals were proposed, because peoples incomes,or potential 
incomes were at stake. Rentals bring in $350-800 per month and some folks who 
are already landlords were not interested in any sorts of limits, 
particularily if those limits might apply to them. The old red flag of self 
interest got hoisted pretty fast.

Those who were not landlords, and who did not want to be landlords became 
alarmed that there were too many potential units, and that owners may be 
outnumbered by renters someday. Some folks very definately did NOT want 
Sharingwood to be a huge community of 100 or more people. Others very much 
wanted a large community.  The commonhouse dining space was designed for 70 

Another problem is that currently we are 14 out of 29 homes built, with 5 
rental apartments. Total of 30 adults, and 18 kids, So we are hardly over 
populated, in fact, we are kind of underpopulated for the amount of things we 
want to accomplish as a group. The resolution was that we would re-evaluate 
limits to rental spaces once 20 homes were built, or 10 rental apartments, 
which ever came first. This pushed the issue comfortably into the distant 
future, and by the time we get there, I doubt anyone will remember what the 
issues were. (particularily since the two loudest voices on either side have 
both moved away) But then again, maybe there will be new issues to wrestle 

The big problems we had  were trying to deal with projecting numbers of 
people. There are a number of three bedroom homes with one person living in 
them. This of course, will change over time, but in which direction? Also, 
since most Sharwoodians have never experienced any other community other than 
their own, they have NO experience with say, 70 person dinners.  

By deferring the decision until we had some real world experience, I think we 
did the right thing. By the time we get twenty homes built, we will know what 
a more populated community is like, and then we can make a decision based on 
reality, not conjecture.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood (Where we have 6 new kids)

  • Re: Renters, (continued)

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