Re: Seeking Examples of Cohousing Implementation Plans
From: Katie Henry (
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2018 13:57:22 -0800 (PST)
Hi John,

I think it would help to separate your questions into two buckets. And I think 
you need help with this. It’s too much for one person to take on. The questions 
that you’re asking are things that entire communities spend years grappling 


In addition to the things I mentioned earlier, do you have an expert 
representing your interests during construction? Someone who can perform 
periodic inspections and then oversee the final inspections and help you work 
through move-in problems and negotiate punch-list items with the developer and 
the construction company? I strongly recommend this. You need to watch out for 
yourselves in a multi-million-dollar real estate transaction. Many condo 
projects end with lawsuits, and you can avoid this by getting involved early.

When construction starts, you need to be able to make decisions quickly. You 
should put together a small team with a person in charge who is the official 
contact of the construction company, and empower this team to make immediate 
decisions. You can’t hold up construction for a week or two while the entire 
membership ponders an issue. Start looking for members with technical/project 
management skills now.

Your development includes a component that is not part of the cohousing 
community. It's not too soon to figure out how the two entities will overlap 
and interact. Will the other group have a separate board? Will you have shared 
facilities, utilities, or other expenses? How will you divide responsibilities 
and costs?

Who will be selling the commercial units? The developer? If so, I would suggest 
trying to sell them yourselves. The more you can get friends of members in 
there, or at least people who are interested in cohousing, the better. Since 
your units are selling briskly, it shouldn’t be hard to find coho-friendly 
buyers and the developer can save on realtor fees.

Your project has balconies. In condo-speak, these are limited common elements, 
meaning that the HOA is responsible for maintaining them but they benefit only 
one household. Will owners of units with balconies pay higher HOA dues to 
account for future maintenace of the balconies? If not, then owners of units 
without a balcony will be subsidizing owners of “better” units.

I’m curious if you’ve selected your unit finishes yet. (Cabinets, flooring, 
appliances, etc.) 

I’d like to see the building floor plans, but the PDF on the web site is light 
and unreadable when enlarged. It’s fun to see the planned common spaces.


This is the stuff that differentiates a cohousing community from a regular 

I looked at your web site, but I can’t tell how much, if any, 
community-building you’ve done so far. The focus of the site is almost entirely 
on the building.

Are your current members meeting regularly? Do you have some policies in place, 
or have you even started discussing how you see yourselves living together in 
the future? I see that you’ve chosen sociocracy over consensus. Have you done 
much decision-making with either system?
Katie Henry

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