Re: Carports in cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 09:08:17 -0800 (PST)
The most important thing is to be clear about obligations and permissions, and to be clear in writing. If you don't have this clarity, doing it in the midst of a change is the worst time to do it. Choose a time when there is nothing happening, and be willing to grandfather in past agreements on a time-limited, specifically stated basis.

Limited or common property? Who owns? Who maintains? How are they sold or "transferred" or assigned? Who has the right to tear them down? Can people erect more on spots that don't have them? What design and quality requirements govern maintenance, repair, replacement, and new structures?

In addition to asking other cohousing groups, ask the local condominium board members or managers how they handle this. Cohousing communities with a similar situation is a very small sample from which to glean ideas. More options might bring better solutions and more choices.

At Takoma Village, we have a gated lot with one parking spot assigned to each unit. This is very simple. Carports or garages are not part of the design and would be hard to add without adding a whole row of them to cover all the adjacent spots. They would also take up more room and reduce the number of spots available so they are unlikely on a limited urban plot.

There were initial discussions over having assigned spots or catch as catch can. The arguments that held sway were that some people came home late at night and it was safer to pull into a designated spot and head for the door, than to be searching for a spot and attract attention.

Assigned spots also allowed us to assign spots next to the entrances to those who needed short walking distances. These included those with children as well as mobility issues.

Even though our lot is gated and requires a code to get in, some people do give the code out and guests or workers will park where they shouldn't. Having assigned,, numbered spots reduces the tendency to do this and narrows the options when trying to determine which car of 43 doesn't belong there.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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