Re: Orientation/Owners manuals
From: Stefani Danes (
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2020 07:29:33 -0700 (PDT)
This request from Chris comes at the same time that our community, Rachel 
Carson EcoVillage in Pittsburgh, is just starting to gather resources and 
advice for drafting our own community life handbook.  We have found some 
information online, but we would also be most appreciative if any of you would 
be willing to share your handbook or rules or guide with us.  And just like 
Chris, we would only use it for reference, since we don’t yet have experience 
with inhabiting a cohousing community, and would abide by whatever terms you 

Thanks very much,

On Sep 15, 2020, at 7:59 AM, Chris Hansen <itschrishansen [at]> wrote:

Hi Vicki
Two things:
1. Yes, you're right in your assumption- I'm looking for the 'handbook' or
'orientation' or 'resident's manual' document.
Ours also was a mish-mash of short paragraphs created lovingly and
collectively by a large number of residents over the years. It was sort of
a 'crazy-quilt' written in wildly diverse styles with a lot of information
that over the 13 years we've been open has been changed.
So we've been updating it, and were curious as to:
- Format (.pdf? paper? online and interactive?)
- Topics covered (death?! Now I'm dying to know what that entry
- Structure
- Level of detail
The couple I've been sent so far have given me some ideas for topics we
might add. If you're willing to send us yours, I will not distribute or
plagiarize, and will permanently delete after perusal!
And it's affirming to hear that others, also, have a sort 'we built this
manual while we were building and learning to fly the plane' feel.
2. I think you might put your second question as a separate thread. It's an
intriguing question, and I, for one, would not consider a, HOA where
residents have to do nothing to support the community a 'CoHousing'. But
I'm also wary of being the 'CoHousing mafia', and am interested in other's
takes on this

On Mon, 14 Sep 2020 at 21:15, Vicki Rittner <vickirittner [at]> wrote:

> Chris-
> For clarification, you're not asking for legal documents (i.e. Occupancy
> Agreement, By-Laws, Declaration, etc.) but the OTHER document, which my
> community refers to as the "Handbook". In reality, it's a mish-mash of
> sentences and paragraphs arranged in A-Z order by Topic including my
> favorites, Common Courtesy, Common Areas, Death, Deliveries, and Electric
> Car Charging Station (we don't have one).
> Our legal documents include several/many references to "rules and
> policies", but I would argue that there is nothing that identifies the
> Handbook as a Rule Book. It truly is one of the most poorly crafted yet
> important documents a resident in a cooperative/co-housing community might
> need, but ours seems to be carved in stone.
> Chris, am I correctly understanding your request?
> As I thought about whether to respond, a question came to mind.
> Are there other members of this group who own and live in a unit in a
> market-rate, age-restricted residential cooperative? I began to investigate
> co-housing in early 2016, and a few months later discovered a "just
> announced" project of 52 apartment-style homes, in a 3-story building with
> underground climate-controlled parking. I signed up and purchased my
> "share" a year before ground-breaking, and the building opened in March
> 2019. Owners are not required to do anything to support the community, and
> we have an elected board of directors and a professional management
> company.
> Does that meet your definition or understanding of co-housing?
> Vicki
> Village Cooperative of Fort Collins (Colorado)
> On Mon, Sep 14, 2020 at 12:08 PM Chris Hansen <itschrishansen [at]>
> wrote:
>> Hi everyone!
>> After 12 years together, and a lot of learning and growing, we are
> updating
>> our orientation manual.
>> I'm wondering if you'd be willing to share yours with us- either
>> onlist (which I'm no doubt many would appreciate) or offlist if it
> contains
>> some rather sensitive info?
>> With thanks!
>> --
>> Chris Hansen
>> 32 East Village Drive
>> Burlington
>> Vermont 05401
>> USA
>> Ph 603 3988730
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Chris Hansen
32 East Village Drive
Vermont 05401

Ph 603 3988730
Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Stefani Danes AIA LEED-AP

Architect and Adjunct Professor

Research Fellow, Remaking Cities Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

T: 412-441-2948

E: sdanes [at]

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