Re: establishing a Common House only in our community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004 08:16:27 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 4, 2004, at 12:45 AM, Natural Beginnings wrote:

Any ideas on this or where I could look online for others who have done

I don't know a group that has done this but I think it is an excellent way to begin cohousing. We need solutions for starting cohousing communities other than the "build your own." It requires too much work real estate development and thus won't grow very fast.

A model for this does exist where houses are built in communities with homeowner associations and include a recreation center, pool, etc. You can use the same model. Private clubs are also a good model.

Form an association and charge a certain amount to join. You can begin by renting space and sharing the rent. Buy a house that is centrally located and convert it. Add members as space allows. The new members buy in. Members leaving sell their shares.

Get a lawyer to set this up for you. Look at your local statutes and see what legal forms will work best for you. You just want clear agreements and financial structures that make each member's investments clear.

One thing that makes a commonhouse work is geographic proximity. it is best if you can walk there. But if you can acquire a building, over time you can begin moving closer. A sort of in-fill. Or coalescence.

Beginning with a rental will help you get started and see what you need later.

Let us know how you move forward,

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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