Re: Development Financial Structure
From: Jeff Coffin (
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 12:49:01 -0700 (MST)
Elizabeth Stevenson <tamgoddess [at]> writes:

> I'm sorry I offended you. But I am entitled to my opinion, and
> that's all it is. I do feel that you didn't bother to read my reply
> to Rob Sandelin, or you could have saved yourself some righteous
> indignation.

Fair enough.  I did read it, after I sent my mail, and what I see you
describe as your solution to this problem of financing early
develpment isn't all that different from what we're actually doing.

The primary differece as far as I can tell is that y'all had more time
to form the group before you needed money and were able to explicitily
help those without access to their projected share of the capital
commitment.  Your tiered investment / membership plan could be
characterized as allowing the wealthier members of the group to profit
off the lack of funding of the other members while at the same time
committing them to more debt when the 2nd mortage comes due.  One
could also characterize it as the best way you could come up with
support your whole community when it came time to spend money.  We
would like adopt similar approaches as a few of us are having problems
and we too do not want to exclude people based on only on money

I take issue with the way you misrepresented our project, financing
and community to make a point about financial structures.  Strawmen
can be so much fun to beat on, but are rarely accurate.

> I never said you could build it without money.  I just said there
> are other ways to go about getting it.  There WILL be less diversity
> of income if everyone has to have the same amount of money when they
> commit - only three meetings into the process.

Which would be a valid point, if it were true for our group.  We're
working on ways to make our project accessible to those who would have
trouble coming up with the money and your specific solutions are

> And you're setting up a two tiered social system if you only let the
> people with less income in AFTER you have made all the decisions
> about the community and how it will be first.

If by "you have made all the decisions" you mean the site, common
house and unit planning, then yeah, that's what we're setting up.  I
do not expect that we'll make all the decisions "about the community
and how it will be" before we move in.  I fully expect to tune and
tweak ad nauseum over time; with more members being added as soon as
we start getting the palns in front of the city.

> And I stand by what I said about community. Let's assume the project
> moves quickly. You-all are going to have a lot of work to do after
> move-in. It will be great! It will be a wonderful learning
> experience, and many of you will still be there after the dust
> settles and you'll have a community.

No what you _said_ was: " This is insane. Let's assume they accomplish
their goal of getting this built quickly with this strategy. What will
they have? Very nice houses in a "good" neighborhood. That is all. And
homogeneous? You bet."

If you want to rail against a fictitious development that requires
$5000 after 3 meeting, setup your argument as such.  Don't
misrepresent a group working hard towards building a community as some
eliteist development.

> But not without losing a substantial number of people who rushed
> into cohousing and didn't know what they were getting into, or
> people who committed money and then had to leave.

Does that not happen in many developemnts anyhow?

> We'll see. Remember, it's just an opinion. I don't mean to offend
> you, but it would be silly for me to try to help anyone on this list
> without speaking up when I think there's a problem.

Agreed, I think your _points_ are valid, but your example isn't and
may not exist at all.

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