Re: Hot Tub Policies in Cohousing
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 22:06:22 -0700 (MST)
We have a hot tub at Doyle Street.  We put it in after all the inspectors
had gone away.  We are not planning to put in a hot tub in Old Oakland,
although we've designated a place for it in the design of our garden. 

At Doyle Street at the beginning we had a policy of "public hours," 7-9 PM
daily if I remember correctly, during which suits were not optional.
During other evening hours it was suits optional unless a resident wanted
to reserve an hour (or two) during which he or she and guests could either
do suits or not. The whole system kind of fell apart--was honored in the
breach mostly--when the people who wanted to be sure there were no naked
people in the tub hardly (or never) used it.  The way it has worked, as far
as I know, for most of the seven years I've been here is that if anyone
approaches the tub and realizes that others are in there already, they will
ask if this is a private use, or if they are welcome to join in, and those
in the tub need to say whether or not they want company.  Our community is
small enough and few enough people use the tub, that there has, to my
knowledge been a problem sharing time in the tub.  One of our teenagers had
a few parties with her friends (from outside the community, and she
reserved the tub and all the kids wore suits.

In the last few years there has been much more daytime use by kids and
their parents.  And everyone seems to wear suits in the daytime. Remember
that we are in a very urban place; since the hot tub is upstairs,  anyone
walking to the tub (except one household whose front door is  just 6feet
from the gate!) can be seen by anyone who happens to be on the street up to
a block away. 

I know you at Harmony Village have been planning to put a hot tub on the
roof from the start.  And I assume your builder took that into account when
he or she designed that part of the roof.  Hot tubs are really heavy when
they are full (duh!) and leaks or overflows can comprise the waterproofness
of your roof.  You may also invalidate the insurance  policy which covers
your common structure by putting a hot tub on the roof.  Presumably you
have already checked this out.

Also when I visited you, I felt bad that people with disabilities that
prevent them from climbing the stairs would not be able to use your tub.
Our state law in California requires that all common amenities in a
condominium except storage be accessible to everyone.  Of course people do
all kinds of semi and illegal stuff after the inspectors go away, and after
all the official agencies have signed off on the project. It's just the
principle of the thing. 

Our hot tub cover was locked with a small combination lock attached to a
canvass strap.  If everyone were to forget the combo we could always
unscrew the bracket that held the lock or even cut the canvas strap.  It
was a system  devised to keep our younger kids from just casually opening
it, but was not a serious attempt to keep the tub "secure." And I think the
strap has been frayed and broken for som etime and no one has fixed it.
Kids understand that they are not to go in the tub without adult
supervision.  Because we are in such close quarters, we do have some
understandings about noise in the tub. I think that we allow no bubbles or
jets on after  10:00, and we  expect that people will keep their voices
down then as well.   We also like to remind people from time to time not to
take bottles or glasses into the hot-tub enclosure. 

Joani Blank
Old Oakland Cohousing--current final "take possession" date is February.
Then we have those pesky concrete floors to deal with before moving in. 

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