Re: City and municipal zoning and laws.
From: Tom Smyth (
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:10:23 -0800 (PST)
Hear hear. Great points Brian. I look forward to this workshop and would
love to see this covered as well. And how about retro-fit cohousing? Do
local laws come into play there? I know little about it but it seems
crucial to scaling the movement...

On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 3:59 PM Brian Bartholomew via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> Dean,
> Please consider taking a wider view, and survey laws which affect
> approaches other than the usual dense suburban look for $400K/unit.
> For instance, will the local development-plan-approver allow less
> expensive developments which depress existing housing resale prices by
> creating competing alternatives?
> There are many approaches to construction which can build
> incrementally over 10-20 years with less loans:
>         State park-ish style with centralized bathroom, laundry,
>         kitchen.  Bare lots with electricity and telco but not fresh
>         water or sewer yet.
>         Trailer park style with yucky old trailers; with RVs; with
>         brand new LEED Katrina cottages.
>         Suburban neighborhood style with water and sewer buried under
>         road, but cheaper roads: dirt or limerock instead of pavement,
>         no storm drains, sidewalks, streetlights, curbs.
> These housing styles may not be your preference.  However, some people
> need a cheaper approach, as cost of living is being inflated from 7%
> to 13%.  These numbers are calculated from price tags of common items:
> > At the state or federal level, why not seek to have government loan
> > guarantees for cohousing?
> As we've seen with university tuition, if you make a broad government
> guarantee of loans then institutions will raise prices to consume
> those guarantee amounts.  The cost to the consumer will grow much
> faster than even the rest of the cost of living is being grown.  To
> really make it unaffordable, make the debts non-dischargable in
> bankruptcy like student loans are.  Then there's even less risk to the
> lenders, and the loans which are poorly justified by future earnings
> potential will be even bigger.
> Obviously, a government program which taxes money from an upper-middle
> class person and gives it back to them as a housing subsidy has
> produced no wealth.  Instead, it has consumed wealth to administrate
> that program.  A mechanism like Kickstarter is far more democratic, as
> the opinions about what results would be a net wealth increase are
> being made by every person who pays in, not just legislators.
> Brian
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Tom Smyth

Worker-Owner, Sassafras Tech Collective
Specializing in innovative, usable tech for social change · @sassafrastech

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