From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 08:51:13 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 21, 2004, at 10:32 AM, Linda Gluck/Treehouse wrote:

Hi all,
Our community-in-formation is struggling to draft our membership structure. The question of whether only Equity Partners should participate in decision
rounds has inspired strong controversy.

It is a real problem to have it either way. We designed one unit -- and extreme example -- with no balcony and no outside entrance because it was for a family in which one parent was terrified of living in cities. They then left the community when it was too late to redesign. Thus we have an awkward unit designed for a family that had no investment and thus did not have to stay or suffer from their decision. It was the last unit sold and at some point we will have the expense of adding a balcony and changing the entrance so they can have a dog (it down opens into the commonhouse where dogs are not allowed).

On the other hand, the equity partners need the other members very much. They cannot go it alone. They are only putting up a very small part of the funds and would be in a real mess if they could not sell the units.

One thing you might do is make two classes of decisions -- one reserved for the equity partners and one for the whole group (including the equity partners). We have Class 1 and Class 2 decisions. Class 1 decisions are those that commit owners to financial obligations and require a quorum based on owners. Class 2 decisions cover all other decisions and includes all members (essentially active residents of 6 months or more). Ironically since this group is much larger, it is becoming harder to get a quorum based on it!

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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