Expert Advice [was Oakleigh Meadows Cohousing Resistance
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2018 09:05:43 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 1, 2018, at 9:58 PM, Thomas Lofft <tlofft [at]> wrote:
> As to the scenario as I understand it for Oakleigh or pothers facing a 
> similar issue, the trade off may be whether to reduce the number of homes and 
> members and therefore income from lot sales, vs. whether to contribute to 
> widening an existing roadway? First question might be whether the existing 
> right of way for the present road would even allow pavement widening; would 
> that also entail collateral drainage upgrades? If necessary, would any 
> neighbors along the existing right-of-way willingly dedicate enough frontage 
> to allow wdening or other necessities? Second Q: would the widening cost be 
> paid by the jurisdiction, or shared by all the beneficiaries (including every 
> property owner along the street) or be passed through in total to Oakleigh?; 
> Third Question, Would the jurisdiction form an improvement district to bond 
> the costs of road upgrades and assess it over 20 years to all property 
> owners, including the existing as well as future homes in Oakleigh to spread 
> the costs over as wide a list of beneficiaries as possible?

Tom also said Oakleigh Meadows was now approved, but I wanted to point out to 
readers that one of the most important benefits of this list is that experts 
like Tom weigh in with questions that the uninformed — the majority of 
idealistic cohousers — would not have thought of. Who knew expanding a road 
could be so complicated? 

It also reminds us that the objections of future neighbors are not only 
emotional reactions to fears, not reality, but (1) their demands are not 
necessarily even doable, and (2) groups should think like homeowners and 
consider long term effects of agreements. How does this affect the tax base and 
future city assessments.

When I think back on the self-developed communities of the 1980s and 90s and 
how they confronted all these issues themselves, often because no experts would 
work with them, I shudder. Browsing the archives from the first years of the 
list would be an eyeopener if you weren’t here then.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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