Trying to get set up
From: Nicole Lorsong (
Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 02:36:03 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks to everyone that responded to my last question about the lot development 
method. It's a lot easier to search for information when you know the proper 
name! :)
In an effort to get our group off the ground in some way, I recently called a 
lawyer to go over our basic plan. He hadn't heard of cohousing before but gave 
me a short list of 'concerns', I guess you'd call them, and I wondered what the 
experienced cohousers thought of these and what advice or experiences you could 
-Zoning - How did zoning / these goverment type issues work for your community? 
Did you buy land in an area already 'properly zoned' for the number/density of 
houses you wanted, or did you need to rezone? 
For anyone that did rezoning - was it expensive? Difficult? I know this is 
largely area based, but I'm just looking for a vague idea to take back to my 
-Liability - The lawyer I spoke with was concerned about issues of shared 
liability. Fo r example, in cases where Household A has a guest that is injured 
on the property and the guest decides to sue- what keeps households B through J 
safe from litigation? Is homeowners insurance and a properly designed legal 
structure enough?
-People leaving the community - Obviously at some point someone will probably 
move out, and statistically someone will probably get divorced. When a member 
separates themselves from the community, are there difficulities here? I think 
the lawyer was especially concerned with shared items. Ex: If we share a 
tractor, and Household A gets divorced, can Ms Household A include the tractor 
as part of her assets to be split from Mr Household A, and affect the rest of 
the community negatively?
-Members that don't pay dues - I guess I'm a little confused on this point in 
the first place. So if the community's legal entity buys the land on which the 
houses are located, that land can be mortgaged, right? And the community dues 
essentially = an equal part of the mortgage + any extra community fees? If this 
is the case, then if one family doesn't or can't pay for a month (or more), 
then does everyone else pick up the slack or loose thier land/house, too?
I don't know if I'm making sense, here. I guess I just don't really understand 
the finer details of the legal and money aspects. 
In my mind it's simple - we buy some stuff and we share it. :P But I guess in 
the 'real world' it's a little more complex. :)
Lastly, if any one of the Maryland groups can recommend a good lawyer or any 
other good local contacts who might be able to help with basic set up, I'd 
appreciate it!
Thanks in advance!
"Freedonia Commons' - A [very] new group in central Maryland

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.