|Retrofit in Toronto||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Julie Busch (jlynnbsympatico.ca)|
|Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 00:48:45 -0500|
Thanks all for your replies. Thanks Rob, I had already started searching/wading thru all relevant aspects of IC web page AND done searches under "retrofit" AND pored thru as much as my weary eyes could manage at two sittings, the Coho archives. I can appreciate everybody on this list is providing forums for info exchange and would prefer not to rehash stuff that is easily retrieved from archives...:) SO-o-oo...to clarify around a message Mykano sent me. > Julie, why don't you tell us more about the vision your community has: > > Are you hoping to acquire one house at a time like N Street or a place > where you can buy two or more? > > Have you chosen the neighborhood you want yet? > > What kinds of questions do you have that other pioneers might answer? You > mentioned financing options? > > Is your group mixed incomes or mostly low, middle or high? > > Do you plan to haveco-owned dwellings or mostly single family or...? > > Mykano Our group, at present, is an evolving core of approx. 20 adults, 6 kids: some singles, some couples, some families of one or two parents. WE are of mixed ages (life phases), mixed income (fixed, lower, middle to upper middle). We also have at present an uneven mix of owners (less) and renters (more). The plan is to group together into "buying groups" who pool downpayments and/or match owners with renters, to cover mortgages, then, much like N Street, to purchase each place separately; not as an equity co-op or condo style group. WE have financial and legal structuring information to find. We are exploring the concurrent first purchases of 2 or 3 adjoining properties, each with a house that could be divided up into 2-3 living spaces, thereby getting 4-6 units of people into one physical spot to seed further expansion around that area. Realty does turn over like that - It is not that unusual. We figure that will create a sufficient mass to catalyze further growth! (I am sorry to hear of fred h. olson's past struggles to get his other place sold - would you consider relocating here?). WE *plan/wish* to have a mix of single family dwellings and larger houses, divided into apartments or left as shared homes (2-? group together in undivided space), again like N Street. If it works out, maybe a larger multiunit building with apartments.The COMMON HOUSE then becomes the COMMON PARTS/SPACES each house could contribute to the community. With our two season long winters (I mean 3-5 months of indoors preferred weather), we envision possibly including things like a basement converted to kid's playspace, sauna, laundry, common home office, library, craftsroom, toolroom, mainfloor common meal space with adjoining living room/sunrroom. I guess it's apparent we're trying to create diversity for financial and living options, which with Ontario's ultraconservative "business first, slash the funding" government may be dreaming REAL BIG !! We do have the possibility, if affordable, of getting LARGE houses close to smaller 2-3 bedroom row houses, with pretty reasonable yardsizes. We have targetted complete blocks/portions of city blocks in the larger neighbourhood "Riverdale". We coded them by agreeing on a set of minimum features (brainstormed and consensed! eg; no alleys cutting the community in half, diversity of house size and price, greenspace, good schools, 10-15 minute walk from subway line) and then coded topographical maps of the neighbourhood by "green/yellow/red" aka good/iffy/discard. This map is our *CENTRAL GUIDE* to be a work in progress to get us to where we have identified some number of areas those first purchases could be made by our potential buying groups. Something along the lines of generating trust and agreement amongst the core members to where "If you go on holiday and come back and they've bought you would want to buy there too" Sounds reasonable? That part was easy ;) We believe Scott's assertions and our own various life experiences that show organic growth is just fine. We'll see how patience is tested as we then await those further purchases. :) I found the archived list notes about believing somehow retrofit is "easier" than "groundup". Our model certainly has one big difference in our eyes: How do you empower renters (who may be so by choice, not lack of $) and acknowledge that the people with the downpayment $ have power in legal and financial arenas? The ONLY difference between a buyer and renter may be that downpayment$ ! Yet consider the difference in their choices... WE have a case like this: A buyer who cannot afford a whole house alone, wishes to match up with suitable renter(s) so they can all be in nicer living quarters AND in cohousing. Both need each other to participate. We wish to *CAREFULLY* tease apart the difference between the legal/financial relationships amongst group members (basically the owner/renter issue) AND the social/cooperative relationships of a pool of peers coming together to share resources - material and otherwise - to build community that acknowledges and cherishes the uniqueness we all bring to it. Now comes our nitty gritty questions. As a RETROFIT, we won't have bathroomtile colour type questions to solve ;) more like does the bathroom work (chuckles). We are trying to decide: HOW to empower renters and clarify what factors buyers should have say over. Do buyers get a say over who rents from them? how much, under the different configurations that could take, including absentee owner? How are we constrained legally/financially on joint ownerships? How do we deal with existing tenants on multi unit purchases? Yes, I'm aware they may join in - how's that affect the renters in community already waiting to get in? Since each house could operate as a separate entity (like N Street), can we have owners and renters come up with working sideagreements on responsibility for maintenance. How does that impact common spaces? How do you account for sweat equity when $ equity is so variable? The renters could build sweat equity (on some agreeable terms), how can that be translated to $ equity in their living unit, so they have a chance to benefit $wise if they or the owner move on? Is that too much to ask? Why? As one member put it, rather bluntly, "Is one of the expectations of cohousing that I subsidize others?" I have no answers (yet?). There is this "entanglement" of everyone benefitting from the socioemotional community that ALL contribute to that is not present in other ownership/rental models. I see the renter/owner issue being integral to how our community will proceed and wonder how it will impact further visioning and the community building work. THese are all good people. I'd like to think we can find good answers. I'm looking to Edward de Bono's book -Conflict- on rethinking the argumentative us/them mentality of conflict resolution. He is persuasive about altering the paradigm. Quite inspiring. Oh, and Yes, I've found the conflict resolution/facilitation site! Anyways, my brain is toast, it's 1:30 a.m. and my typing fingers are stumbling. We'd appreciate any helpful input. Julie, trying to balance a desire to predict the future and a belief all will happen as it is meant to.
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