Re: Retrofit in Toronto
From: Julie Busch (
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 16:12:23 -0500
THANK YOU Kevin, for your thoughts and reports. It is great to know
there is a place to ask questions and have immediately relevant answers! 

It will help me clarify -as one of the members of the working group for
"buying groups"- how to word my questions clearly and still guide the
whole group thru the maze of intricacies woven in these issues and
decisions! We, and the finances working group, are developing a
questionnaire to get as much info as possible apriori about people's
preferences and thoughts about community growth patterns and match the
buyers and renters well. 

The "subsidies" remark came, I believe, from a concern, or lack of
information, about somehow having to rent to tenants in a "new and
different" type of landlord/tenant relationship; and how that would pan
out in a community setting. 
I would like to achieve an option for conversion of sweat equity to $
equity for renters who wished to, kind of like a "rent to own" option,
so we could match them up with buyers who would like the upgrades done
on the property that they might not be able to afford as cash costs or
could not do themselves. I certainy think there may be situations where
a community member or wannabe should have a way to invest in the equity
of the community for their own sake and THE WHOLE GROUP'S sake, since we
will all presumably benefit. 

I would like to ask for more details on the community holding leases
(under willing signers). 
> If we were to do this over again, I would have the community own the leases
> for each of the homes that are rented and then sub-lease to the occupants.
> Thus the community would have more control and there would be less risk
> that a house could become controlled by someone who shouldn't.  The problem
> is that landlords often don't want to rent to a group because who is liable
> if things fall apart.

WE have not yet carved out how we wish to operate as a formal
"community". We had an adhoc visionning session, that needs updating,
but we simply carried on, not making formal-on paper-decisions about
cooperative ownership of community space, etc.. Partly because this core
group does seem to work so smoothly together, and because we were so
wrapped up in process!!

HOw could the community cover you? Did you have a pool/fund of $ that is 
added to? DOes this come out of membership monthly fees? How do you
collect? Are fees absolute requirement (another glitch of "subsidy"!!) 
I agree about the community control over new renters. 
For the moment, WE are trying to address *ONLY* the issue of SETTING UP
or matching POTENTIAL buyers and POTENTIAL renters for those first
purchases. IOW, we have a group but no housing! We want to be as fair as
possible about how we decide who gets into those first few units, since
there is more renters than buyers, and more members than we think it
will be possible to accomodate on a 2 or 3 property purchase (trying to
find 4 or 5 properties adjoining and for sale within 2-3 months may be
asking the universe for too much!!. Any thoughts? Seniority is a very
difficult one as everyone is pretty much equal at this point in meetings
attended, and work already "donated" to the cause. 

I have thought to suggest patience, but am having a hard enough time
being so myself> It is quite exciting to feel the potential benefits we
are able to imagine - and have been fuelled by the coho stories. There
ceratinly is a craving for community that seems to be building rapidly.
We have developers in TOronto who are marketing "community" as part of
their hook - so far it is not explicitly based on "pattern language" or
coho ideas of green space. We thought our community, when achieved would
be a good example!! There are definite small projects going here though 
within the ethnic communities that bring their cultural slant to
retrofitting city neighbourhoods to village-like ideals. One was a city
park/community center that now has a weekly gathering around the huge
adobe brick baking oven. It has totally chnegd the feel and safety of
the park. There are community gardens on out of the way green spaces

Bye for now, off to have a much needed fun night...
There's a 26-venue, way more than that bands, alternative music festival
on this weekend.

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