|Land Use on Coho Acreage||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Nessa Dertnig (nessamainecohousing.org)|
|Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 03:46:43 -0700 (PDT)|
Hi there, Here at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage we are in the process of thinking about how people are going to be able to use our undeveloped 35 acres. Some thinking by our group in the past has been that there will be some sort of proposal process and reviewing committee where people can propose to do individual projects (one family wants a big raspberry patch), small group projects (a couple people raising a milk cow together), or community projects (where everyone finances and helps out - like a community orchard), and the committee helps them along the process and coordinates the placement of the project on our land. The idea is to have an "inventory map" of our land, showing good agricultural soils, wet spots, etc., that will help guide project placement. Anyway, folks are moving in now and we're at the juncture where we really need to get some sort of working system in place. During our process, several questions have come up that I'd love some input on! 1) How have other communities dealt with the idea of income-producing projects on commonly owned land? In my opinion, the reality for our group at this time is that we're going to have a hard time "filling" those 35 acres -- and some of us would love to encourage a farmer/farmers to join us. Some folks, while wanting food grown on our land, are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of someone making money from that land we all own. Having done farming myself, I tend to think of farmers helping us qualify for a lower property tax rate as being compensation enough for the rest of the community, since farmers certainly will not be making loads of money, but I'd love to all the ways other communities are dealing with this. 2) Private projects in general: Should a family with a private raspberry patch have to remunerate the community in some way for the private use of that common land? Or should we be happy to encourage agricultural activities and let go of a feeling of control and ownership? 3) How have community projects worked for other communities? Does everyone really help out and contribute money? Does this become more likely over time as people get used to living in community? 4) Does any community out there have no structure at all -- no proposal process, no reviewing -- just a "get out there and grow" attitude -- and how has that worked? 5) Land use agreements -- apparently we can't actually "lease" land legally to people, but what has been done in terms of agreements between the community and a farmer for how long a farmer gets the use of the land? For some farming projects that involve lots of effort spent improving soil fertility, not to mention erecting hoop houses or planting fruit trees/bushes, it seems like something not much different than a lifetime lease might be required -- but will the group agree to this? What have others done? What about time agreements for community members doing private projects? I really appreciate anyone willing to take time to answer any of these questions, to explain how their systems work (or don't work), or to point me in the direction of certain folks or communities who might be able to help! Have a great weekend everyone! Nessa www.mainecohousing.org PS: We're having a festival and Open House this weekend if anyone is in the area and wants to check out our progress! Sunday from 12-4pm.
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