Re: noise, pets CommonHouse event use
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 05:21:13 -0700 (PDT)
After more than 10 years of no pet policy except no animals in the common 
house, we broke through by (1) following the law, and (2) grandfathering in 
current outdoor cats.

An argument had been that our property was ours, like a private home. Animal 
control says no. If we have rules, like dogs off leashes, the board (meaning 
us) will be liable for any harm the dog causes. Almost no one wanted 
responsibility for anyone else’s dog.

The people with outdoor cats had moved in with them and were not told that it 
was an issue. Cats do die, and outdoor cats die faster, so grandfathering them 
in allowed us to set a new policy and eventually we won’t have any outdoor 
cats. (I personally insisted that the names of the cats grandfathered in be 
listed so there is no argument about whether this cat was an outdoor cat 
already or was let out later, or when this cat or that moved in.)

We also struggled with a noise policy and finally looked at our own bylaws:

> 9.3 Noise. Unit Owners, residents, and lessees shall exercise extreme care to 
> avoid unnecessary noise or the use of musical instruments, radios, 
> televisions, and amplifiers that may disturb other Unit Owners.

That seemed enough.

The loudest complaint about noise has come from people who sleep past 7:00 
(imagine that!) and were awakened  every morning by parents yelling at kids to 
get in the car or they will be late for school.

A few have put in “party walls” to prevent sound transmission from music and in 
one case the sound of a coffee grinder at 6:00 every morning from a resident 
who makes her coffee in her bedroom.

No smoking is allowed in the CH and discouraged outdoors. Some have asked for a 
ban on smoking outdoors so if anyone does smoke they go to the parking lot. (I 
don’t recall a smoking visitor with the exception of European visitors.)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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