Re: Consensus and voting bylaws
From: Michael Barrett (
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 07:13:23 -0800 (PST)
I don't know your jurisdiction either but here in Virginia only the CC&Rs 
(Covenants, Conditions and
Restrictions) need to be filed with the County. The Bylaws do not - and we have revised them twice (though with a final attorney review)

State HOA regulations frequently refer to HOA Boards. Cohousing communities tend to abhor Boards. Here at Shadowlake Village ( we do not have one. To align with VA State law (and with the attorney's advice) our bylaws state that:

The power and decision-making authority of the Board of Directors resides in 
and is exercised by the
plenary as described in these Bylaws.
where the plenary is defined as:   Members who are physically present at 
plenary meetings and who
will make community decisions at those meetings as described in the 
Decision-Making section of these

Michael at Shadowlake Village, Blackburg, VA - where at last the housing market 
has been picking up
with an influx of new young families.  Yippee!

----- Original Message ----- From: "R Philip Dowds" <rpdowds [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Cc: <cohousing-L [at]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 7:07 AM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Consensus and voting bylaws

Two comments:

I don't know your jurisdiction, but your state likely has enabling legislation 
for condos or HOAs,
and this legislation probably spells out strict notice and voting rules for 
certain decisions,
like Board elections or special assessments.  To stay legal, you should comply 
with BOTH state
regs AND your own consensus practices whenever you attempt a decision governed 
by state regs
(which may not be many decisions, just "big" ones about money).

Also, consider putting your consensus rules and methods into something like an 
"Appendix A /
Consensus Manual", and referencing that Manual in your Bylaws.  That way, when 
you re-think and
revise your consensus practices (and you will), you don't have to go to the 
Registry and re-file
the Bylaws.


Sent from my iPad

On Jan 9, 2013, at 12:29 AM, Willow Murphy <willowm7 [at]> wrote:

Question:  How have other cohousing communities dealt with the process of
reconciling voting bylaws and the primary commitment to use consensus,
based on trust and hearing every voice?   What has been your process?

Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.