Re: Seeking Examples of Cohousing Implementation Plans
From: Lynne Markell (
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2018 11:25:34 -0800 (PST)
This has been fascinating to read. I ask the same question - who is the 
cohousing group that is in charge? I presume that this is the group that will 
be the decision-making body re the managing the cohousing.
It should only consist of "owners" and can have consultants or part time staff 
to help with some aspects. It  sounds like you have a developer who can handle 
the design-construction aspects and that is good.

Our cohousing group has been very organized with 50 members in a nonprofit 
organization formed in 2016. We eventually created an equity membership (15 
households) to finance the project.  We take time to orient people and then 
they start coming to the membership meetings and working on committees. We keep 
a waiting list and only invite new members when we need more. We do not have a 
site or building yet, but are getting close.  Some of us have backgrounds in 
community development, co-operatives, and organizational management.

I urge you to get some help with the group building process as you "sell the 
units", so these new owners are learning how to work as a community. 
Forget about the concept of a "strategic plan", just use what is available in 
written form, talk to other groups who will tell you what went well and what 
didn't in this phase, and spend a little money on a cohousing consultant, if 
only to advise on the areas of work to be done.

We have a board, which has turned into a coordinating committee and then task 
groups for various aspects.  You could do the same re finance, governance, 
rules, communications, membership, liaison with developer, etc.  If you forget 
something, create a new committee or work group and have them do the research 
and report back to the whole group. The consensus decision-making process 
forces you to do a lot of preparation before meetings.

We do not have a cohousing consultant because they are not available here in 
Ontario, but we brought in a consultant from BC for two weekend workshops - one 
on aging well in community and another on consensus decision-making. Both we 
were full (25) and were financed by a small fee ($100 and 125). Don't be afraid 
to ask people for money to pay for outside help.

One final piece of advice: insist that new owners/community members come to 
meetings and work on at least one committee.  They are not condo owners, they 
are members of a cohousing community.  Together you are a creating a community 
that is of your making. Everyone needs to be in on the vision and how you will 
make that happen. Write it down, and create policies and the organization 
structure to enable it. This is as important as the foundation of your new 

Hope this is helpful, 

Lynne Markell, 
Lmarkell [at]
(613) 842-5222

> On Mar 10, 2018, at 1:07 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
>> On Mar 10, 2018, at 11:41 AM, Chris Terbrueggen <christopher402 [at] 
>>> wrote:
>> BAccipiter Properties are our partners in the redevelopment of 2048/2100
>> Winnebago Street. The developer retains ownership of Cohomadison until all
>> units are sold. The CohoMadison development team consists of project
>> manager, architect and an attorney. CohoMadison will be structured as a
>> condominium.  Each unit will be individually owned, with the common areas
>> jointly owned and collectively managed by the owners’ association. We have
>> 11 affordable units.
> This is the typical structure. Do you have a homeowners or future homeowners 
> members group? That group should begin taking the lead on the social and 
> governance design as well as the design of the facilities. 
> In addition to the books posted, there is a ton of information on the 
> website.
> I think the confusion is that you seem to have no experience with cohousing 
> or how groups form themselves. It’s hard to place your questions in context. 
> What is your role?
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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