Re: Some advice for forming > communities
From: Mac & Sandy Thomson (
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 12:47:01 -0700 (MST)
We took the approach of creating philosophical policies while avoiding
creating specific rules around such issues as renters, pets, parenting,
on site employment, personal finances, general design, spiritual
expression, etc.  I think that helped people understand our general
values in those areas without getting into specific rule making which at
that pre-move-in stage can often be based on unrealistic fears.

Below is a sample of some of our agreements.  All of our agreements can
be found at:

- Mac


Self Selecting Membership
Anyone is welcome to join that meets membership requirements, which are
designed to fully introduce the prospective member to the community.

Keeping it Easy
While we recognize that living in community places some additional
demands on the members, we also recognize that we choose community
because of the benefits it offers. We strive to minimize the demands
placed on members, in terms of time, money, infringement on personal
freedoms, and otherwise.

Voluntary Participation
We create an environment giving all of us an abundance of opportunities
for group interaction and activities, but we allow participation in
those activities to be voluntary wherever possible.

Because of the trust we have for each other to act responsibly, we enact
minimal rules and instead rely upon open communication and the spirit of
cooperation to ensure that we treat each other and the community fairly
and respectfully.

Children's Representation
Although children may not have the same rights and responsibilities as
adults, as equally valued members of the community, their interests are
represented in all decision making.

On Site Employment
On site employment will be supported which has minimal adverse impact on
the community. Members will provide the community with fair compensation
for professional use of community resources.

Parents are free to raise their children as they see fit keeping in mind
that parents are responsible for their children's actions, health,
safety, and welfare. Any form of shared parenting is voluntary.

Financial Independence
Each household is a financially independent entity, responsible for
paying their own expenses and free from any obligation to pay others'.
Financial assistance given from one household to another is a private

Cost Allocation
Where practical, costs are equitably allocated based on who derives the
benefits from them, which may be on a per household, per person, or some
other basis.

Home Resale
Owners are free to sell their homes to whomever they wish so long as the
new home buyers are intent upon being active members of the community.
New home buyers must become members of the community by completing the
Membership Application process before moving in.

           Mac & Sandy Thomson           Heartwood Cohousing
           ganesh [at]                Durango, Colorado
        Web Site:

Everything in excess!!  To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites! 
Moderation is for monks.
           - Robert Heinlein
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