Re: parking and common house placement
From: Laura Fitch (
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 07:19:00 -0700 (MST)
I agree that it is very important to give folks choice about the distance
between their housing unit and parking, and to consider the issues of "aging
in place".  On most sites this can be done easily WITHOUT sacraficing
commitment to a pedestrian environment, accessibility, and encouraging
walking traffic near the common house and in front of porches.

I do not however agree that designing for resaleability should be a goal of
the same priority.  Rather, I would like communities to embrace the idea of
keeping an active waiting list and recruiting new members while they are
living in community.  If you have a good product, and you let the world see
it for what it is, people will want it.  We have always had a very long
waiting list at Pioneer Valley Cohousing despite some serious design flaws
around accessibility to homes in a cold winter climate.  Why?  Because we
have a fabulous community - and we sell it everyday by inviting in school
parties, political happening, family reunions, etc., etc.  Once folks
express interest, we have clear directions and expectations for folks
wanting to join the waiting list.

We have had to make expensive changes to allow aging members to stay with
us.  Yes, by all means avoid these mistakes in the beginning, but do not
short change your vision for resaleability.  Be clear on what you want.  The
world is changing anyway, and our children may be needing places to live
that are less car dependant, just as surely as we need places we can age or
become infirm in.

Laura Fitch
Kraus-Fitch Architects, Inc.
Pioneer Valley Cohousing
lfitch [at]

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rob Sandelin" <floriferous [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: [C-L]_ parking and common house placement

> If you are in the process of designing a housing development, it is wise
> consider the resaleablility of your project units to future owners that
> not have your same values and interests.  I once attended a design
> full of people in their 30's who were designing a community for themselves
> and they were quite sure that convienance of access did not matter.  It
> pointed out for them by the designer that there proposed deisgn would
> basically filter out the old, the infirm who would not be willing to make
> the enormous efforts the design would require of them.  This was good
> general advice for any project, pay attention to how hard or easy it is to
> get from car to home and back.  If  carrying a lamp, or groceries or
> whatever is really going to be difficult, you may be limiting your ability
> to find buyers for your homes, depending upon the market in your area for
> community housing.
> Rob Sandelin
> Sharingwood
> Snohomish County, WA
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