Re: Group Forming need advice
From: nathan schomber (
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 07:04:55 -0800 (PST)
Hi Catya and all,
  So does that mean that legally, in order to purchase a parcel in a condo 
assoc. one must agree to follow and be bound by the condo rules?
  Nathan & Sarah
  Asheville, NC

Catya Belfer-Shevett <catya [at]> wrote:
  Hi Nathan,

I think that if you do individual title your best bet is a condo 
association with some pretty strict condo rules that new people have to 
sign on to. It's still self-selection, but you can heavily influence 
who will self-select.

- catya

nathan schomber wrote:
> Thanks Catya, for your suggestion. I checked it out a little.
> At least on the surface, it doesn't seem that a coop would be what we're 
> looking for.
> Here are some quotes from the National Association of Housing Cooperatives 
> website.
> "The main distinction between a housing co-op and other forms of 
> homeownership is that in a housing co-op you don't directly own real estate. 
> But if you don't own real estate, what exactly are you buying? You are buying 
> shares or a membership in a cooperative housing corporation. The corporation 
> owns or leases all real estate."
> This wouldn't work for us as we want to own with title our individual 
> parcels. That's why we like about cohousing. Also from that website:
> "Are co-ops allowed to discriminate?
> Like any other form of housing, cooperatives may not discriminate based on 
> the protected classes listed in the Fair Housing Act, which includes race, 
> color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability. 
> Historically, the basic cooperative principles include both open membership 
> without restriction as provided by law and non-partisan in politics and 
> non-sectarian in religion." 
> Our group would never discriminate based on those factors. Indeed we welcome 
> diversity of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or 
> disability. What would be determining factors for membership would be shared 
> values and lifestyle implementation of those shared values. We want to be 
> surounded by folks who embrace caretaking of the Earth, low impact and 
> sustainable stewardship of the land. Dedication to living permaculture 
> principles. Folks endeavoring to produce more than they consume. Because 
> we'll be living and working together most of our time, we need to be able to 
> select members we feel fit with our goals and lifestyle. But, from the above 
> quote, I gather that co-ops are in the same boat as cohousers with regards to 
> not being able to select members. I don't see how a housing co-op would would 
> be the answer in that respect.
> Maybe there are co-op variations but it still seems that the cohousing model 
> might be the closest for our puroses. Peace to You- Nathan
> Catya Belfer-Shevett wrote:
> Sounds like you want a co-op; depending on what state you are in you 
> will have better or worse luck with financing.
> - catya
> nathan schomber wrote:
>> Thanks for the info so far!
>> I'm curious if anyone has experience or knowledge of different ways to set 
>> up a legal structure whereby a group still has full control over 
>> membership/"who buys in" while still qualifying for bank loans. Is 'first 
>> right of refusal" an option that actually works. Have groups successfully 
>> used it? If so what were the general circumstances. It seems that there are 
>> opposing views on this. Maybe there are other options?
>> If our group decided that we could forgo bank financing, would that give us 
>> the legal power to select our members? I'm wondering if it must be a choice 
>> of the two- either no banks and we can have control or involve banks and we 
>> lose control?
>> I've read a lot of posts about how many CH's are set up to self select and 
>> have read about how that seems to work pretty well. However, the majority of 
>> our group is really concerned about wanting to have full say over who joins; 
>> IE our group wants to have that control. This is because our group plans to 
>> be more closely associated with each other than most coho'ers. Our plan 
>> involves setting up a business(es) together so we don't have to work outside 
>> of the community although participation is optional(one can work where they 
>> choose). We are shooting for a closer group dynamic, probably more like some 
>> intentional communities than most cohousing groups. Since we already share a 
>> majority of our lifestyle/ cultural views and will be living and working 
>> together daily for a majority of our time, it is very important that we are 
>> able to choose carefully who joins us in the future.
>> For some more general info: Our system involves elements from several 
>> models- cohousing, intentional communities and ecovillages.
>> For example- from cohousing: the balance of privately owned parcels 
>> (individual homes) and communally shared space (community center/common 
>> house, school,workshop, etc.) 
>> From intentional communities: Sharing a livelihood-working together in 
>> (optional) communal business(es), also schooling our own children,etc. 
>> From ecovillages: We'll be rural. We desire to grow/raise as much of our own 
>> food and consumables. We will utilize solar, water, wind, biofuels to become 
>> as energy self-sufficient as possible.
>> I'm also wondering if there are any other groups out there like this.
>> Any feedback is greatly appreciated by our group! Thanks
>> Peace to You- Nathan
>> ---------------------------------
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