Re: who owns the common house?
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Mon, 7 May 2018 20:43:36 -0700 (PDT)
Well.  This is one of the times I disagree w/ my neighbor, Sharon.  I don’t 
remember any voice of the members saying we wanted to use the CH for ourselves 

While it is true that little kids use the playroom during the day … our CH 
which is well used other times is mostly vacant.  Sometimes there are day time 
community meetings but not many. And sometimes a few people who work at home do 
use the CH.  But honestly, as for most cohousing, it’s an underutilized 

And, we are welcoming to our neighbors.   We DO open our CH to our larger 
neighborhood.  We’ve had many community meetings, law enforcement meetings, 
bike trail meetings, etc. etc. etc. in our CH.

I think strategic alliances with the larger community can reduce your operating 
expenses and can be done to accommodate the needs of the parties.  It’s really 
not rocket science to develop a schedule and policies or guidelines for use.

Anyway … best thing is to find communities who share their CH facility such as 
Nomad and ask how that’s working for them.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

As long as you have two or fewer … your ducks are always in a row.  The Covert 

> On May 7, 2018, at 11:29 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
>> On May 7, 2018, at 3:29 PM, Becca Brackett <ecbrackett [at]> 
>> wrote:
>> The added expense of the commonhouse beyond the cost of the housing units 
>> being built seems to be putting the cost of buying a unit much higher than 
>> comparable accommodations. I wondered if any community has built a common 
>> house that is  owned/financed  by a non-profit  organization, perhaps a 
>> daycare  center, a church,  a Senior daycare center, or a College that uses 
>> the facility by day making it available to the residents of the Cohousing at 
>> night and weekends.
> In addition to the problems Ann mentioned of different code requirements, we 
> found that after initially being very welcoming to outside groups we wanted 
> to use the space ourselves. There were too many conflicts not just in terms 
> of time but types of activities. 
> We have an open dining room and smaller  rooms lead off from it. Religious 
> groups had a different tone than other activities in the CH. Playing pingpong 
> while people are meditating or praying or whatever felt uncomfortable. 
> More and more people are working from home so not having the CH available 
> during the day would be a restriction they may not be comfortable with. We 
> often have 1-3 people with their laptops in different parts of the CH — 
> dining room, living room, office, etc.
> Caregivers bring children in to the kids room during the morning and late 
> afternoon.
> Snow days bring group activities in the CH. Plus no school days.
> The difference between cohousing communities and non-profit organizations is 
> that cohousing communities have a mission which is to develop their own 
> community. This doesn’t rule out activism, etc., to benefit other 
> communities, but cohousing is 24/7. People live there. 24/7. 
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Historic Takoma Park
> In Washington DC, Where all roads lead to Casablanca
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