Re: Concerning Consensus and established CoHo communities
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 07:13:55 -0800 (PST)
From: normangauss [at] [mailto:normangauss [at]]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Concerning Consensus and established CoHo communities

I would guess that until we decide on some goals, we will not be able to
have a sociocracy.

Another lister called yours a very sad story. I would say "Great! You now have a lot to work with."

Everything you have mentioned as a problem -- people digging up common elements, fencing in common elements, etc. happens in all condos. Lack of agreements certainly happens in all cohousing communities. Do not despair.

When in doubt go back to square one. Everyone who moved in agreed to the statements in the condo docs and in the Bylaws. What do they say? Who is on your board? What does your lawyer say?

Some one has to take leadership. Two or three people working together would be good. I'm sure that many on the list would say that the three have to have the support of the community (permission) to do anything but if that were true we would all be living in caves.

"Leaders are people who have the power within themselves to recognize a need and apply imagination and intelligence to implement a solution. They develop whatever skills are necessary and work collectively with others to implement solutions."

This is a situation made for a leader! Nothing breeds success like success. Once you get forward movement, people will relax and you can begin building a consensus around some things. People will also relax if a leader steps forward and assures each person that they will work to satisfy as many of the personal needs as possible. One way or another it can be done. Many of these perceived needs will fall away in the process.

Remember the word "temporary" -- for now it sounds like you very much need a temporary dog run, a temporary garden, and a temporary playground. I would suggest setting these up asap and short of armed guards, insist that they stay put even if only one household is using them.

I think it is also typical that a year after move-in everyone is just exhausted and angry about something. No move every lives up its billing. No one can accomplish everything they want to accomplish. This is an inevitable let down. Just don't despair. It will pick up again.

Sharon Villines
Building Community: A Newsletter on Coops, Condos, Cohousing, and Other New Neighborhoods

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