Re: Getting the work done
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 11:57:56 -0800 (PST)
On Nov 12, 2012, at 1:41 PM, Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah <welcome [at]> 

> Until a few years ago, we didn't hire any help. Now we have help with  
> cleaning the common house and with outdoor work. That affects  
> assessments. Perhaps that will add up to some message to those who  
> don't work.

The problem is that some people do continue to work so the raise in assessments 
isn't great enough for them to get the message.

One issue with work is the size of the CH. One reason for the workshare 
component is the extra amenities. We were told by one of our construction 
consultants that it would take 400 units to support the size of our common 
house and specialized facilities with condo fees alone. 

The size of the CH is about 3,500 SF. Amenities include 

1. An office with computer and 3in1 printer. Telephone.
2. Workshop with a thousands of dollars worth of tools of all kinds.
3. Game room with large screen TV (54"?). A wii and other games I don't know 
4. Professional sized kitchen with large stovetop and $5,000 dish sanitizer, 
pots, pans, dishes, silver, etc.
5. Laundry room with 2 washers and dryers.
6. Living room with large screen TV (54")
7. Kids Room (toys from thrift shop)
8. Two guest rooms.
9. Large dining room with tables and chairs plus two soft furniture seating 
areas. Gas fireplace.
10. Exercise room with a universal gym, treadmill, stair stepper, rowing 
machine, TV, bicycle.
11. Hot tub.

Other that the living room and dining room, each of those specialized rooms is 
very important to a few people but often those numbers are in the range of 5 
people.  A few others will use them occasionally. They are most often empty. 

Even the guest rooms are used often by some, occasionally by more, and rarely 
by some.

The kids room benefits the whole community because we have childcare there 
during meetings. The office is also used for storage of files, which are 
increasingly online, and storage of guest room supplies and movies (also 
increasingly online). The workshop is partly storage (lawn mowers, etc.) and is 
unheated. We have almost no outdoor storage and desperately need more bike and 
wheeled vehicle storage.

While each of the facilities is important to someone and may influence sales, 
how much? Balanced with increasing condo fees and the time necessary to 
maintain them, is the cost of heating and cooling and replacing furnishings and 
equipment worth it? 

Would we be just as happy with the kitchen, living room, kids room, laundry 
room, dining room, and perhaps the office? Use the workshop for some tools and 
for bike storage. 

I recently found some soft walls designed for turning gymnasiums into 
classrooms in schools. We could use those to make meeting spaces in the dining 

Do I want to be the one to float this in  my community? Not a chance. But new 
communities need to think about this. What people want goes on forever. What 
they want to pay for or do the work for, is limited. And they often don't use 
facilities that they desire.

And in some instances, like the exercise room. some people prefer a regular gym 
anyway. It has space for all those machines, plus other amenities including 
anonymity. Anonymity becomes precious sometimes.

The size of the CH is something to think about. You can let the grounds go to 
forests and xeriscape but you can't easily tear down a building. And it's 
impossible pretty much to take amenities away from people once they have them.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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