Re: Community meetings - frequency?
From: Tree Bressen (
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 00:01:20 -0700 (PDT)

My question is: Given the following information, what, in your experience, would be a 'next step' in terms of meeting frequency?

Right now we have 1 resident family and 5 families designing and building. All total, there will be 18 households. Each family bought a lot and is designing and "building" their own home. [The kind of 'building' that means hiring a builder : ) ]

There have been monthly,3 hour meetings. Given our legal structure, decisions are made by the LLC and Board of Directors. The agenda items for the community meetings are individual mailboxes, party planning, trash collection, and scheduling tractor use. We are to review our community mission statement and also discuss common land uses.

I'm not quite clear from this description whether there are other LLC or BoD meetings that happen beyond the 3 hours/month community meetings? The agenda items you listed (mailboxes, party planning, etc.) sound pretty light for a community meeting, if that's all there is to discuss then i can understand some people suggesting lower meeting frequency. Reviewing the mission statement and discussing common land uses sound more substantial to me.

Basically what i'd wonder is: what are the main areas of sharing in the community you are developing, and have those areas been worked out sufficiently? For example, with a lot development model, presumably you don't need to talk over individual unit design, but you might still need to discuss common house functions, food sharing, or pets. While some details may make more sense to work out once residents are on site together, other things can be really hard to put into place if you don't agree beforehand and start immediately upon move-in--for example, if your group wants every adult to help cook in common meals (as they do at Doyle St. in Emeryville), that's a hard agreement to create later.

Is your process clear, do you know how decisions will be made, and are you building skills for working out conflicts with each other?

>One person proposed 90 days between meetings and greater communication on email or bulletin board.

Email might work fine for scheduling tractor use and other purely logistical matters. I suggest avoiding it for topics that people have feelings about.

In addition to the great community-building ideas others sent in, i'd add having regular sharing circles where people can unburden their hearts about the challenges of the building and development process. This phase of creating community is hugely stressful and i think it helps to offer people social support to get through it.

At my home co-op (where we hold meetings weekly of our 9 residents), every 3rd meeting is what we call a "floofy" meeting. Floofy meetings are designed to either help us get to know each other better or work through a big issue that doesn't easily fit into regular meeting agenda time. The position of "floofymeister" rotates evenly through all members, and that person mostly determines what that particular floofy meeting will consist of. I see these meetings as very successful in helping create more positive energy in the group; recently i noticed a time when i was feeling rather ornery and disconnected from my housemates and then after the floofy meeting i felt much more content.




Tree Bressen
1680 Walnut St.
Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 484-1156
tree [at]

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