Re: What SHOULD I be worried about?
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 05:50:57 -0700 (PDT)
Plan on delay.  Plan on surprising cost increases.  Plan on flogging your way 
past disappointments.  Your group may have to deal one or more of …

internal disagreements about location, design, pricing, membership, whatever;
complicated local or even State permitting, waivers and variances;
members that come and go, and come again;
litigation by your neighbors;
nervous bankers;
bad cost estimates;
incompetent or opportunistic professional services;
and other problems …

All of which can morph your three-year, $9mln project into a five-year, $12mln 
project.  You can, of course, succeed.  Many groups do.  Just be realistic, 
flexible, and go get expert input when you need it.  And armor up.

R Philip Dowds AIA
Cornerstone Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

On Jun 16, 2014, at 6:24 PM, Michelle Burce <michelleburce [at]> 

> Hi everyone!
> I'm part of a group working to build cohousing, and the resources available
> on this list and its archives have been AMAZINGLY helpful! Thank you all
> for sharing your wisdom over the years.
> So far, many of my fears have been allayed by this list, since so many of
> the responses to various problems seem to be "Communicate with your
> neighbors and it will all work out fine." Choosing who gets which lot? "We
> haven't had too many conflicts." Reserving the common house? "Usually not a
> problem." Worried about too little privacy? "Don't worry too much."
> So my question to you cohousing veterans is: What should we be worried
> about / work out in advance / get a good plan for NOW? What are the bumps
> in the road that actually take a solid process, or a professional, or a lot
> more money than we think? What one (or two or three) piece(s) of advice
> would you give some folks who have a group formed and meeting, have land
> and architects picked out, but have not yet dropped the huge sums of money
> to make this happen?
> I think we, as cohousing newbies, might be focusing our energies in
> worrying about those things that can get worked out, but are not seeing the
> things that can stymie a whole community.
> Thanks everyone!
> Michelle
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