Re: Shared Walls or Single Family Houses?
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 09:50:08 -0800 (PST)
What you do may be determined by the zoning. For example, in rural areas it
is sometimes not allowed to do zero lot line, shared wall development,
especially in areas where you have septic systems. 

Doing lot development allows for complete individuality in house design and
financing and also allows for staggered development rather than having to
plan and fund all at once.  So you can divide up the lots, and then people
can buy them and build on their timetable, in some cases building it
themselves, saving 40% of the cost. Not to mention individualizing materials
and other decisions. So you can have things like cob houses, and other
alternative construction and materials which are not allowed in a design and
build at once model.

More people can self finance as well, allowing for build it yourself,
mortgage free option. One of the disadvantages is that under this model
construction goes on for several building seasons and you add one house or a
couple at a time, and you need to add the cost of common elements to the lot
price, making them higher priced than the surrounding area.

Twenty years ago we started Sharingwood as a lot development model, and we
still have a couple of unbuilt lots. We added things a bit at a time as we
went along. We also were able to use our member talents and funding to build
our commonhouse ourselves, a source of pride for those involved.

I would say my experience is different than Joani in that I have visited
many cohousing groups which do have shared walls and had much less sense of
community than I experienced at home, but I do not think having shared walls
or not had anything to do with it.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Cohousing
Snohomish County, WA


Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.