Re: Re: CC&Rs, bylaws, etc
From: OCCNG11 (
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 19:53:41 -0800 (PST)
I agree with you Lynn. Rob Sandelin often refers to House Rules, which are additional rules decided upon by the community that are in addition to the CC&R's and Bylaws. All of these should be in the disclosure documents presented to prospective buyers. However, if departure from the CC&R's occurs, legal procedures for documenting these departures need to be followed.

In our California community, there is frequent mention that we are a cohousing community and therefore different from an ordinary HOA. However, California does not recognize cohousing as being a separate category. As far as the state goes, we are a condominium with an HOA and we have agreed to follow the CC&R's as written.

There is occasional expression in our community of dissatisfaction with certain provisions of the CC&R's and in some cases, we already ignore them. But no official documentation has been recorded of our purposeful decision to ignore or change them. If any changes are made to the CC&R's, they have to be recorded in the County Recorder's Office and be approved by 75% of our members. Technicalities such as these are often regarded as unimportant nuisances and adherences to the "Chapter and Verse" of the CC&R's are considered optional. If departure from the CC&R's occurs and these are not communicated to all new members, we can be held liable for incomplete disclosure.

Norm Gauss
----- Original Message ----- From: "Lynn Nadeau" <welcome [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:55 PM
Subject: [C-L]_ Re: CC&Rs, bylaws, etc

"Most CC&R's ... In fact, much of what is in this document will have no
connection to your day to day life as a community, and this is OK. ..."
It's rare that I differ in opinion from Rob Sandelin, but here I do. In the case of RoseWind, for example, if someone resells without going through the community, as can happen, or if someone buys in without getting an adequate sense of the community, then the only thing we KNOW they have in hand is our legal documents which "run with the deed." We want there to be enough in our Bylaws and CC&Rs to aid at least somewhat in the self selection/deselection process. Our documents include matters that do affect how we deal with things, such as decision making, conflict resolution, quorum, use of commons, and such. I don't want documents that say we do majority voting, for example, if we don't. Or that our Board is a small group with lots of power, which it is not. Right now I'm helping to craft the Bylaws for the new EcoVillage here. It's a Cooperative. What HAS been useful is to take the documents of a group with the same legal structure, in our state, which document was worked out with professional legal advice, and use that as a template. Plus we've cut and pasted some from RoseWind's documents, for additional items. By doing a lot of our own "homework", we can use expensive lawyer time sparingly, asking questions like "Is it legal to say this?" "What's this piece of boilerplate mean and do we need it?" "Are we forgetting anything?" We did that successfully at RoseWind, and the same process seems on track for the EcoVillage. So, at least ask yourself if there would be any problems if some future member held you to the letter of your legal documents. Also, in hashing out what you want to regulate, and how, you are progressing in understanding what you do and do not have in common as values, which has to be useful, in the long run.
Lynn at RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA
ps Fine NICA gathering here today with a dozen intentional communities from around the region- many cohousers, but also reps from groups like the Emma Goldman Finishing School, and the International Puppies ! Great to see people dating back years, and meet the new folks.
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