From: Casey Morrigan (
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 09:39:51 -0700 (PDT)
I too live in Two Acre Wood, along with Louise who responded to the 
self-development question.

My husband and I came in later to the process than Louise. We were able to 
join because five families out of a 14-unit development decided to leave, 
creating openings for new families to join. So the turnover that happened 
allowed us to join - something that I am grateful for - yet I realize the 
turnover was tough on the group.

I have a different point of view than Louise about self-development. I 
think it damaged relationships deeply among residents - damage still not 
healed. Or did it just reveal the relationships rather than damage them? 
Hmm. Anyway, we had chronically poor communication among community members, 
general contractor, architect, and subcontractors during the process. One 
community member who was a knowledgeable builder served as a volunteer 
project manager but got really beat up and burnt out. We then hired a 
project manager who knew nothing about cohousing but at least could be a 
central manager of decisions for the group and for the contractor. He was 
often undermined from all sides and ended the project with a bad taste in 
his mouth.

We finished late and over budget. Lots of things were left unfinished. We 
still have unresolved issues whether something that needs to be done on 
site is an item left undone since construction that is the community's 
moral responsibility, or is now owned by the homeowner and needs to be paid 
for by them - this is five years after move in. We are starting to get 
better at it, which is progress.

I am a fan of hiring a cohouising professional to help with development, 
having watched and participated in what looked a lot like the 30-years' war 
while our project developed. Here in California, high land prices add a 
great deal of pressure to any development- they keep going up while groups 
take time to consense about stuff.  I would much rather have had someone 
help us define our decisions more carefully, someone who knew not only 
about cohousing and construction but who respects consensus and can tell 
you when to use it and when to streamline cuz development decisions can't 
wait. I've talked to people from other cohousings who have accessed 
development professionals and their processes have seemed so much smoother, 
though again a pro is no guarantee of on time and on budget. Yet going it 
alone seems most certainly to be a guarantee of late and over.

Two Acre Wood

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Linda Gluck/Treehouse [mailto:treehouse [at]]
> Sent: Friday, July 23, 2004 6:40 PM
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Hi
> Just had a long talk with a coho developer about the pitfalls of
> self-development of a coho community. She recommended that I
> ask you all if
> you know of cohos which were self-developed (without a
> developer) and which
> came in time and on budget.
> Linda Gluck
> Ulster County Cohousing
> _________________________________________________________________
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