Re: Elastic membership circles (was Through the looking glasses?)
From: PattyMara (
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 20:42:37 -0700 (MST)
In a message dated 1/30/00 2:18:21 AM !!!First Boot!!!, Zen [at] 

<< I'm happy to answer specific questions as this will help our own process
 of clarification.  Is this a discussion for this list?  Otherwise, send
 to me personally and I'll collate any relevant items and post to the
This is a fine topic for the list in my opinion.  At Tierra Nueva (central CA 
coast) we discussed this ad nauseam *before* move-in with no clarity 
whatsoever.  It is a dreadful time to consider non-member use of common 
facilities because most everyone is stinging from the rising costs, 
escalating tensions and general burn-out of development and construction.  
Best to wait, like Two Acre Wood did, until the reality settles in.  Here we 
had a full fledged member opt to buy a house that borders the site when it 
came up for sale, before construction even began here.  Then she enticed 
another member to share the mortgage, which for us meant the loss of two 
members, at a time when we needed all the committed members we could scrape 
up to make the project a go with the bank.  It was not a happy time, lots of 
stress and grumbling.  Then when the two ex-members wanted to discuss 
possible neighbor-membership to use the common house etc, it was difficult.  
We ended up not dealing with it at all.  The two ex-members, now neighbors, 
ended up splitting up their shared mortgage and one moved out.  The remaining 
neighbor has really hung in there with us, contributing time on committees, 
cooking, work days and recently donating a handsome sum to our pledge drive 
for building our workshop.  She has integrated very well into the community, 
much to many folks' surprise.  And she has been able to offer us very 
appreciated overflow parking on her land, when it gets tight here.  

I look forward to more interaction with our neighbors, at-distance friends 
and hopefully some house exchange possibilities in the future.  i suggest 
that the discussions be postponed until after move-in, based on our 
experience.  There are many many opportunities to deal with the reality of 
life in community that really can't be accurately sussed out before the fact. 

Patty Mara Gourley
Tierra Nueva Cohousing, central CA coast 

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