Re: Required public use of common house
From: Kristin Wells (
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 23:48:28 -0700 (PDT)
I think this sounds like a lovely idea.

While we have no requirement like you are indicating, part of our vision is
to make our common house available to our neighborhood. Some events already
planned are a fundraiser for a local non-profit and the neighborhood
association's board holiday party as well as some secret cafe's of a co-op
that is starting up.

>From a planning perspective, we tried to encourage this through our site
design. We intentionally located it on the corner, most public portion of
our property so that it is easy to see and access without traipsing through
the entire community. We still located the entrance interior to the property
so that it is 'our common house' and encourages connection to the units and
safety to all of us, but it is still easy to access from the street. Our
property is 2/3 an acre and is a dense urban model to give some context to
the plan.

Good luck!

On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:07 PM, Katie Henry <katie-henry [at]> wrote:

> A beautiful old private clubhouse in northern NJ just came on the market.
> In
> addition to various meeting rooms and private quarters, it's got a large
> full
> kitchen and a ballroom with a stage that is available to the community for
> nonprofit functions and to the public for rental for weddings and similar
> events. Much of the clubhouse, including the kitchen and the
> ballroom/dining
> room, could be used as a common house pretty much unchanged. The dwelling
> units
> would be new construction on adjacent land.
> Most conventional development on this site would involve tearing down the
> existing building. I think the sellers would be more inclined to sell to a
> buyer
> who would commit to preserving the building and keeping the public spaces
> available to the local nonprofits who have always used the club. I also
> think
> the local municipality would look more favorably on requests for zoning
> variances (which would be necessary for a cohousing community, because now
> it's
> only zoned for about 15 units; need more like 22).
> So my question is ... How would people feel about joining a cohousing
> project
> that included a legal commitment to make parts of the common house (most
> likely
> the kitchen and ballroom/dining room) available to specified local groups
> at
> regular intervals? (Maybe once or twice a month max, although it might be
> mostly
> end-of-year holiday functions.) Cleaning concerns could be dealt with by
> charging a standard cleaning fee for each use and contracting with an
> outside
> cleaning service so it's not a burden on the community. I know that public
> use
> of the common house is a hot-button topic. Would this be completely
> unacceptable
> to anyone? A real deal-breaker?
> Katie Henry
> _________________________________________________________________
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Kristin Wells
Daybreak Cohousing, LLC
Kristin [at]

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