From: mrbouchez06 (
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2007 05:01:35 -0800 (PST)

Charles, I agree with much of the advice here - a quick question - what  sort 
of acreage are you planning to purchase and how many homes are you planning  
to place on the site?  many localities are very supportive of clustering  
homes and leaving more open space so that is one route. 
an excellent suggestion that was made  is gaining the ear of your  local 
planning department and find a visionary - planners generally are or  should be 
and there is a good chance one of them is aware of the concept of  co-housing.  
gaining a champion for the idea on your elected board is also  a suggestion.  
my thoughts are that before i would involve a developer as  my front 
man/woman, because "shelter providers" just aren't always loved in  the world,  
i would 
do some positive public relations work a la grassroots  within the community. 
 if you educate people on the idea and gain  multi-faceted support, there is 
less chance of any anti-development/nimbyism etc  occurring - 
co - housing has the ability to win a great many supporters from many  
perspectives - it's smart growth, community-building, ecologically-sound with  
impact development features and presents alternatives for a great many  
different peoples.  preaching to the choir here, but again, i'm a firm  
believer in 
utilizing the services of all your freebie (well, not so free as you  are 
paying taxes) sources first - let's call them your "pre-paid" services -  
support from the staff that will recommend or not recommend your concept  and 
support from the people that approve ordinances, the best of ideas can go  
this leans more to the concept of rezoning to some extent, however I'm also  
approaching this from a "building for future communities" concept - getting  
support/laws/ordinances etc in place from the get go will open the doors for  
those in the future in your community and in other communities as well - HINT - 
 every community/local government/elected official wants to be known as a  
visionary - give them the opportunity - i have written articles for innovative  
government publications and taint nothin' better than to see your county up  
there on the front page for all the other local governments to see :) - 
applause  applause , we all live for it 
In a message dated 11/9/2007 12:47:41 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
floriferous [at] writes:

You  would be well advised to go to the county records office and look  for
developments similar to what you want to do in your area. Before you  go,
make an appointment with one of your county or municipal  planners.  You can
ask a planner questions like, how many rezones have  been approved in the
past year, what is the rezone process.  If there  has not been a rezone in
that area for a long time, then you probably will  not be able to go that
route.  If there have been rezones and  developments similar to what you
envision, get the name of the developer  and see if there is somebody who
will talk with you about the  ropes....Offer to pay them, take them to
dinner, whatever works. The people  who develop land for a living know the
local processes best and they can  tell you all kinds of valuable, insider
info that it would take you years  to learn on your own.

For example, from a local developer I learned  that at the main office there
were a couple of people that were easier to  work with than others. So we
asked for them specifically. At one point we  had to go in to the office and
take a number, and so we took 5 numbers,  then let others go ahead of us,
until the person we wanted was free.   

I have seen planners  become very enthusiastic about cohousing  once they
learn about it, and they can help you a lot. They are public  employees, use
their knowledge.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood,  Snohomish County, WA

-----Original Message-----
From:  Oliveau [at] [mailto:Oliveau [at]] 
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007  11:33 AM
To: cohousing-l [at]

Hey Charles,
Our zoning was 3 acre  minimum.  But they has a  "Rural Hamlet" option
which allowed for  closer spacing of the houses in return  for a large area
of common  open space.  You should talk to the zoning  people and see if  they
have a clustering option of some sort.  
The  other thing to do is go for a zoning exception,  but this  involves
more legal time and money.
A third option is to  design the community with 5  acre lots, but layout 
the geometry so  that the houses are close together.   I've seen very  extreme

examples of this where the houses are all on tiny  "pipe  stems" which run
along a twisted path to large acreage far  away.

Hope that helps,
-Kevin Oliveau
Catoctin Creek  Village

In a message dated 11/8/2007 2:25:46 P.M. Eastern Standard  Time,
balaji [at] writes:

Dear  Group:

The  county where we likely will build has a 5 acre minimum for   residences.
They have no experience with cohousing.  Has anyone  out  there had
experience with this   problem?


Utah Valley Cohousing   Community

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