Cohousing Pioneers: Second Round
From: Fred-List manager (
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2013 05:39:30 -0800 (PST)
Gary Storm gary [at]
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
after reformatting the message.  It was posted in html only which
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--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

My name is Gary Storm. I am a retired university teacher/dean who has
spent the last 10 years trying to develop 72 acres of land at Lake of
the Ozarks in central Missouri as a green residential community
("The Woodland Community"--TWC) influenced greatly by the
cohousing model.

In 2010, I managed to get a planned unit development (PUD) approved by
the local Planning Commission. The PUD includes space for several
clusters of closely placed residential units (up to 109 total); a
greenhouse/community garden and seasonal farmers market complex; and a
mix of private, nonprofit and public facilities/programs dedicated to
environmental, horticultural, health-fitness, arts and educational
purposes--see website at  I have
always envisioned TWC including space within it for a smaller
cohousing community organized by a combination of permanent area
residents and commuters from the region with a goal of retiring to the
community but have not had time to actively pursue this goal.

Unfortunately, my timing for getting the PUD approved could not have
been worse given the plight of the economy at large and the real
estate market in particular. I am now struggling to get the
infrastructure for Phase One of a multi-phase plan (just 8 initial
residential units) implemented before a deadline of April 2014 at
which time I may lose approval of the PUD. I have spent all of my
discretionary personal resources to get the project to this point and
am now dependent on outside assistance to allow it to thrive.

With necessity being the mother of invention, I have come up with a
proposal to those of you who have  pioneered the cohousing movement
and now live, as retirees, in established communities: "Think
about selling your existing homes and using your accumulated
knowledge/skills  (and capital) to help build a new cohousing
community here at Lake of the Ozarks--or elsewhere!"  As
retired persons, you are no longer tied to a geographic area for
employment and could make invaluable contributions to continuing the
cohousing movement in new locations.

In today's economy, it is far easier to find individuals
willing to move into an existing cohousing community than it is to
find individuals willing to go through the effort required to develop
new communities. If, however, say, 10-15 experienced and now retired
cohousers sold their homes and invested their capital in starting a
new community, they could provide just the momentum required to get a
new community off the ground--at least here at Lake of the

There are many things I would like to discuss if this entry kicks off
a meaningful exchange of ideas, but let me raise just one of many
possible questions: "Is it feasible to develop a series of
cohousing communities in attractive retirement destinations where
there are not sufficient numbers of locally employed
individuals/families to develop such communities on their own?"
Using Lake of the Ozarks as an example, there is not a large enough
population of educated, professional people earning their livelihoods
in the region as full-time residents to support a viable cohousing
community. But if small numbers of retired cohousing residents from
around the county (if not the world) were, metaphorically speaking,
"transplanted in local soil", they might be joined by an
enthusiastic group of working people from the area (now full-time
residents scattered throughout the region) to grow into a viable new
cohousing community--especially if the community took steps to develop
affordable housing. Food for thought!  Let me know what you think.

Gary A. Storm
The Woodland Community
Sunrise Beach, MO
Gary [at]
+ 1 (217) 367-0879

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