Re: Lot development model
From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 11:16:30 -0700 (PDT)
Lot development model is what they call the arrangement used by RoseWind (here in Port Townsend WA) and Sharingwood (Snohomish, WA), among others. I can tell you about RoseWind, a long-built community that started 21 years ago.

We have 9 acres. Half of that is in individual home sites; half is commons. My original buy-in, on average $36,000, bought me (a) my individual lot, and (b) an "undivided share" of the common lands and common holdings. Membership in RoseWind, and regulation by its Bylaws, CC&Rs, etc, "runs with the deed."

In terms of expense, here roughly a third went into buying the whole land parcel, a third went into the City-required infrastructure installation, and a third went into the construction of the Common House (about a quarter-million dollars each third). Had there been all 24 households buying in at once, it would actually have been in those thirds. But the buy ins happened over time, so -- due to the constraints of our development process -- the first 8 buy ins had to be the money for the land, the next 8, the infrastructure, and the last 8, the common house.

Once I'd bought in, I owned a lot. What I built on it, and when, was up to me. Your project can impose whatever restrictions you choose on what people may build, if you wish a certain size or look.

Our land, inside the City limits, was previously platted in a rectangular grid. By doing a Planned Unit Development proposal and agreement, we erased all the platting and replaced it with our own site plan, giving legal reality to our home sites. My home site lot and what's built on it is my personal property and can be bought, sold, inherited, or won in a poker game. Anyone who owns this lot is a Member, with the rights and obligations of membership. It's not separable.

The Planned Unit Development agreement created not only our home sites, but areas designated as Commons. Such areas cannot be developed for housing without officially-sanctioned revisions of the PUD Agreement. Our site plan is now the legal reality.

This model was our solution to doing the project with no financing other than individual buy-in money. We didn't have to come up with money for the housing units. Our overall legal format is as a Washington State Miscellaneous Mutual Benefit Nonprofit Corporation (for reasons lost in history), with a Homeowners Association. But various overall formats can be used with lot development models: Sharingwood, for example, is based on a type of condo law.

Feel free to email me off list with further questions.

Maraiah Lynn Nadeau
Where the weather is mild, the garden is full of vegetables, does and fawns think my yard is their home, and we have both a small and a medium-size house up for resale.

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