Re: Use of science/facts in decision making was violent video games in CH
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2016 09:04:41 -0800 (PST)
> On Dec 30, 2016, at 12:12 PM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 
> wrote:
> Does your community use science and facts in your decision making? 

We do regularly. Also the law. Ignoring the facts, research results, or the law 
can make the community liable if permits the behavior. 

In a recent decision on solar panels, a working group did all the research 
about feasibility and best options. We have several people who work at the 
Department of Energy and two engineers so we fully trusted their 
recommendation. And we’ve wanted solar panels for years but research showed 
that they were not a good purchase before. The community decision was do we 
want to spend this much money? All the other questions had been answered. 

We had gone on and on for years over a pet policy. The main issues were dogs on 
leashes and outdoor cats. We finally grandfathered in the current outdoor cats 
with their owners responsible for any damage or irritating behavior. Prohibited 
future outdoor cats.

The dogs were harder. Based on previous experiences, we have several people who 
are violently afraid of dogs—large or small. The idea of running into one off 
leash with no owner in site was very upsetting. Some dog owners did not view 
this as reason for their “children” to be on leashes because of irrational 
feelings. (All our dogs were very tame.)

In our case we tend to give weight to the person a person is afraid to use the 
property because of a dog running loose. We do the same for allergies, etc. But 
in this case. the dog owners were not willing to give up their dog’s freedom.

Others said that the problem could come with a child hurting the dog and the 
dog defending themselves by biting the child leaving permanent damage. A child 
jumping on a dog that is sleeping on the green, for example. The owners 
considered this the problem of the parent who should be supervising their child.

The dog owners said the city laws against dogs off leashes except in private 
yards allowed us to leave them off leashes on our property.

The resolution came when someone talked to animal control. They said 
condominiums are treated like public areas. If we permitted dogs to be off 
leash, the whole Association would be liable for any injuries a dog caused for 
whatever reason. That closed the discussion.

> In a discussion about locking or not locking the common house include data on 
> crime or the likelihood of danger to children?

Yes, but some believe it is also possible for those parents who don’t want 
their children in the CH unless it is locked to accompany them or keep them 
home. Or to be sure that other adults are around.

We do have a locked CH (combination keypad) but we are in a city and have had 
experiences with people gaining access even with locks. It was never considered 
an option to have it unlocked. BUT one parent wanted all the small rooms locked 
as well because someone could hide themselves in a small room and attack 
children. That didn’t even get a discussed. It was so highly unlikely that it 
wasn’t considered worth considering.

> Also, if some *do* use this information, do other people find their minds 
> changed by the data/research?

Yes, but some feelings remain. “I don’t care if it is safe, I don’t want to 
walk into the CH and see war games being played. And I don’t want it set as an 
example for my 4-year-old.” An option, which we have, is a room where older 
children can play as they like. Parents set the rules.

We have small children on small bikes, going very slowly with both feet on the 
ground in an enclosed piazza. They are very unlikely to fall hard enough to 
hurt themselves but they wear bike helmets so they both set an example and 
develop the habit.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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