land trust
From: Brian Lavendel (
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 12:45:05 -0500
We're a new retrofit cohousing community in Madison, WI working out a
financial and legal structure. (One advantage of having the buildings here
already is that we get to move in first and ask questions later!)

At present we are four families in two two-flat units and a vacant lot. The
properties are owned by two of us. (The other two families are legally
"renting" now.) We're exploring different options for putting our legal
structure in place and are not too eager to petition the city for a
"planned urban development" OR pay a lawyer lots of money to do that. One
option that we've recently learned about is working with an established
community land trust. Presumably, they would do something like buy the land
and lease the dwellings back to us. We would forego some of the
appreciation with an eye to maintaining affordability. My thought is it
might be a good way to share some of the burden of setting up a coho
structure and also get the backing of the land trust at the same time we
help them grow. You know, one of those "win-win" thingies.

I'm wondering if others out there have gone the land trust route and have
had positive results or tips to share or if some other (legally-minded)
cohousers have other ideas for a small (but hopefully growing) retrofit
coho community.

Brian Lavendel                          608/249-4178
3406 Dawes St                           fax   249-3379
Madison WI 53714-2217                   lavendel [at]

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