Re: Consensus and voting bylaws (Willow Murphy)
From: drmaryanngroups (
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 07:04:05 -0800 (PST)
Several years ago (5+?) because of changes in state law we needed to re-write 
our CC&Rs and By-Laws at that time we re-defined our governing documents as a 
three-legged stool of those two documents plus our Policies and Procedures 
manual. The P&P is in non-legalese and can easily changed as our needs change. 
In it we have detailed procedures for gaining consensus, what to do in the case 
of unresolved blocks and when a decision is taken to a vote. (Copies available 
for purchase from our website

We also define three types of members: homeowners, renters, and affiliated 
members (who don't live on the property). In general, all three types of 
members have full rights and responsibilities including participating in the 
consensus process with four exceptions. Only homeowners (members of the 
official HOA) can vote on:

1) Revising the CC&Rs and By-Laws
2) Electing the HOA board of directors (required by state law but being 
"titular" in practice since except in very unusual cases they merely ratify 
decisions made by the community as a whole)
3) Levy special assessments
4) Raise the monthly dues

In general, even in these cases, the decision is hashed out in a plenary 
session before being brought to vote of the home owners.

Mary Ann
Manazanita Village, where we're having a beautiful but cold Arizona morning

On Jan 11, 2013, at 11:36 AM, Willow Murphy <willowm7 [at]> wrote:

> I like the simplicity and trust suggested by your bylaws structure.  I have
> a concern related to the primacy given or not given to consensus in our
> community:   Our proposed bylaws amendment defines which final decisions
> are made by voting: ie organizational or administrative structure,
> finances, choosing board of directors, property interests, legal concerns,
> etc.  Have any other communities defined "voting rights" in this way in
> their bylaws?  Comments?
> On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:03 AM, R.N. Johnson <cohoranda [at]> 
> wrote:
>> Our bylaws are structured such that our consensus process supersedes the
>> legally required majority voting process unless there is an urgent reason
>> to do so and we are unable to make a decision by consensus.
>> Randa Johnson
>> New Brighton Cohousing
>> Aptos, CA
>> _________________________________________________________________
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Mary Ann Clark                                                  drmaryann49 
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