Re: Reality Questions for our new Common House!
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2009 08:26:29 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 17, 2009, at 9:41 AM, <maryvk [at]> <maryvk [at]> wrote:

Do you lock your Common House?  If so, describe the circumstances.
We are in a very rural, almost no crime area but some of our new neighbors and guests are city dwellers.

Very exciting to move into the CH. There is discussion in the archives on CH security. Essentially it depends on whether you are rural or not. We are urban in DC and are careful to lock the CH.

It's not that people would walk in and out all the time but at night there are regular patrols of thieves checking for anything loose or open. There are people who lose anything worth selling if left out at night. Furniture seems to be safe but bicycles go when left out only once.

Half our complex is behind a security barrier -- a key or code required to get into the CH and these units. The CH is our "lobby" as one nanny always calls it. "I'll be in the lobby."

We also 3 people who have been attacked or compromised in their homes so they are particularly fearful if the security barrier is breached by someone propping the door open. We have codes and different codes for USPS people and nannies that are changed often.

How do you hang coats and store wet and muddy boots?

Since you have separate homes spread out this is probably a bigger concern for you. We have a foyer for this but we rarely use it. If we have a meeting of non-residents, it does get used.

About half our residents live in the corridors above or surrounding the CH so we don't need coats or boots. Those on the green, most in townhouses, have paved walkways, some covered, so they don't have boots and most do not wear coats to walk the block-long distance.

We need to accommodate 50-70 people. We have a great mudroom foyer but decided not to develop built in's etc. until the construction company left the premise.

I doubt if you would ever have this many people in the CH. We have 85+ residents now and I can't remember when even 50 people have been in the CH at the same time.

Perhaps you would at your early meetings, but if you have already moved in and the CH is being completed later, people won't be showing up because that is the only way to get information. Perhaps to celebrate a first meal together.

Fairly quickly, I think, people sort themselves out to different interests and schedules. Although maybe this is different in rural areas.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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