Re: Contentious issues?
From: Mabel Liang (
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 09:47:21 -0700 (PDT)
I think I heard a list from Jim Snyder-Grant of New View Cohousing (Acton , MA) that included more P's.

Progeny (= Parenting)

Pennies (= Money)

Puffing (= Smoking)

And yes, we have made it so someone has to go off of our tight urban site in order to smoke. None of our homes are single detached homes, and smoke spreads too easily.

-- Mabel :-)

 mabel [at]
 Mabel Liang
 Software Engineer turned Gardener

On 2020-09-15 19:02, Elizabeth Magill wrote:

The causes of conflict

Past Annoyances
Plus More....
and lately
Police (and signage about them)
Also, Nudity, Guns. Smoking.

Those are the topics with the most controversy.

Before you have all the members you need the most important controversial topics are the ones that will affect new buyers--the things that you want
later people to *know* and *accept* before they move-in.

For example, you can't have a policy that says "no guns in any situation"
if you want a police officer to be allowed to move in.
If you say "no public nudity" then no public nudists will move in.
If you say "no outdoor cats" ....
Are you going to restrict smoking that happens inside homes? In backyards?
Are you going to make it so people can't have family members that smoke

Each decision is easier in small group, and determines whether later people
will feel welcome....
Which is not to say that it is unwelcoming to state your values ... some, different people won't move into your community *unless* you say no public
nudity or no guns or no outdoor cats.

Other items are hard to know before you move-in. Somehow it never
occurred to us that our very young children would ever drive cars. So 2
parking places per home seemed totally logical. If we'd made a *policy*
about that before move-in we'd have to change it later. Because the fact is, lots of people aren't going to tell their teens they can't have a car
just because 12 years ago we made an agreement about it.

Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin, MA

On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 6:33 PM Chris Hansen <itschrishansen [at]>

Our recent memorable conflict was about putting political signs with
messages on them (rather than candidate signs) in front of the property. It was protracted and contentious and we eventually came to an agreement
where a person warns intent giving residents opportunity to object a
certain number of hours before it will be erected.

On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 1:11 PM fergyb2 via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

I agree with Muriel, ignoring never works, what does is careful and
respectful talking it through. Here at Swans Market we are a small urban cohousing Community 20 years after move in and we have never had to use the emergency voting option that was put into our bylaws so nervous banks would lend to us.

That's not to say we haven't had our share of contentious issues.
When we get into trouble it's usually through impatience and rushing to a
decision in spite of some folks reservations.  When you do that,
resentments build and it becomes harder to reach consensus on the next,
unrelated issue that comes up. We are so used to rushing to a decision in our culture it's hard for people to get used to the amount of time and effort required to reach a good decision that everyone understands and can live with. There is no substitute for talking it through and really
listening to each other.  We also have brought in outside Cohousing
professionals to facilitate meetings on occasion when we have gotten stuck. A useful strategy I recommend. And facilitator training on consensus
decision making BEFORE move in so you all start with some basic skills.

Good luck to you in this adventure we call cohousing.

Bonnie Fergusson

Swans Market Cohousing

Oakland, CA land of the many smokes currently

Sent from my iPad


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