Re: Carports
From: Juniperjojo (
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 03:18:48 -0800 (PST)

At Great Oak Cohousing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we initially planned to have 
one covered parking space (in our case, a garage) for every household. 
Ultimately, however, we did *not* build one garage per unit. This was driven 
by the cost of the garages, which would have been borne (one way or the other) 
by individuals. (There was also an ancillary issue with a single attached 
garage that had been architected for the needs of a specific individual, who 
later withdrew from the community. This led to changes later in the design for 
household who later purchased that individual's house, and did *not* want an 
attached garage. Ultimately, that bank of five garages did not get built at 

As we were concerned about keeping all of our prospective members during 
development, the prospect of losing people due to unit pricing was real. 
households opted out of garages for reasons having to do (primarily) with cost.

In my opinion, this was a mistake. It will be logistically difficult to build 
more garages in the future. Site drawings will need to get approval through 
the township, which costs money. This necessitates  that all additional garages 
be built at once, or those costs would be borne by a single owner, which 
would make the cost of the single garage prohibitive for most people. Further, 
uncovered parking spaces would be reduced, which will reduce our already modest 
available surface parking. (One garage space = 1.5 surface parking spaces.)

However, to answer your question, we *did* opt to build 4 of 5 planned garage 
buildings, even though there was not a household for every garage built. 
Then, at the time of move-in, some households did "purchase" (yes, Sharon, ours 
are built on limited common elements) additional garages. Some households use 
both garages for their own vehicles; others rent one of their garages to other 

There are still other households who now would like a garage, but cannot get 
one because of the above challenges. I think that if we were to put this to 
the consensus process now, in hindsight, we would have built one covered garage 
per unit, and found a creative way to deal with folks who couldn't afford to 
purchase a garage for themselves at the time of move-in.

Hope that helps.

Jenny Cook
Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, Michigan

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