Re: Eugene Cohousing (Lynn Dixon)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2018 14:44:47 -0700 (PDT)
On Aug 6, 2018, at 2:59 PM, Kathryn McCamant <kmccamant [at]> wrote:
>  I work under the assumption that all new projects will have opposition. The 
> only time I haven't seen opposition is when the proposed project was being 
> built on a property that was a known drug den (Berkeley Cohousing). 

I agree with Katie and would add that even when a community is welcomed, there 
are still concerns about fitting in and how we will treat “them”. Our lot had 
been a used car lot and previous to that had been a dry cleaning plant. It was 
bare ground, unsightly, and ripe for a huge development of apartments. And 
attracted drugs and squatters. Since the surroundings are historic bungalows 
with big trees and a very residential feel, large apartment buildings were a 
grave concern. I think 2 projects had already been turned down. The neighbors 
were very happy to see us.

But still there were negotiations because the building had to fit into the 
residential and historic nature of the neighborhood. I wasn’t in DC then but 
was told that the Historic and Neighborhood Associations, as well as the city 
historic review board, were very involved in the design. So the buildings are 2 
stories by the street facing the houses, and arise to 4 stories to the back of 
the lot which is near the elevated train tracks and historic theater which are 
also high. 

There were also concerns about us becoming a gated community isolating 
ourselves from everyone else, so there is only a fence around the parking lot 
in back and a play area there beside a street. There were concerns about us 
voting as a block on neighborhood issues. With almost 60 adults moving in, that 
was realistic — since they didn’t know anything about cohousers.

We were able to work things out without much distress but some were irritated 
and found the demands unreasonable. It took time. We were able to assure 
everyone that their concerns were reasonable and we intended not to do the 
things they were afraid we would do.

There are no lingering bad feelings that affect how we function though at least 
one of our members remembers the irritation of arguing over windows and things. 
He is also not a fan of historic districts so it was predictable.

Just think how you would be affected where you live now if someone moved in a 
storage facility or an ice rink. Or a hip hop club. How irritating it is to 
live with construction for 2 years. We think we are wonderful and saving 
neighborhoods, but those who are enjoying their neighborhood just as it is, 
most often do not want saved. Or invaded.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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