Re: Distance participation, (was prospective non-locals)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 13:17:00 -0600 (MDT)
On 5/05/2003 10:59 AM, "Gary Kent" <garykent [at]> wrote:

> Our group, Roberts Creek Cohousing, is facing the challenge of distant
> members.

A wonderfully explanatory post. You certainly do want to keep posting as
there are people who would like to move to BC and moving to a cohousing
community is the easiest way to move anywhere -- instant community!

One thing you might think about if you are able to build your commonhouse
before all the lots are sold is building in an apartment upstairs for those
who are relocating and still building their houses. That would help pay for
the commonhouse, give them a place to squat, and could later be converted to
guest rooms and what-not.

One point that came up for me when I was at a distance for a year and a half
(!) might be helpful for your group. I was comfortable with any decisions
the group made as long as I knew they had been made by consensus -- that
good process had been followed locally. A lot of our business was done on
email so I was able to follow the major decisions and to see what most
people were happy with and what was causing rumblings.

One issue that I happened to know a lot about I felt was not being taken
seriously by the group -- a decision was being accepted without the whole
group really paying any attention. They thought it was a trivial, reversible
decision but I felt it was a more permanent commitment that would affect the
image of the community as well as the finances. (I also thought it was an
ugly and pointless addition but that was easy to let go.) I persisted in
objecting on email until a well-attended meeting was held in which I was
assured that people really listened and affirmed their agreement.

I'm glad that meeting was held because almost everything I felt has turned
out to be true but there can be no rumbling about it because people did make
their decision fully with fair warning. Thus it has not been divisive,
although we will have to get rid of it eventually.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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