Re: Contentious issues?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 10:49:10 -0700 (PDT)
Rob Sandelin used to say parents, pets, poisons.

Poisons could be expanded to the more general topic of the environment but it 
doesn’t begin with a P.


> On Sep 16, 2020, at 12:38 PM, Mabel Liang <mabel [at]> wrote:
> 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
>> Pets
>> Participation
>> Parenting
>> Parking
>> 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
>> visit?
>> 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.
>> Liz
>> Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin, MA
>> On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 6:33 PM Chris Hansen <itschrishansen [at]>
>> wrote:
>> 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.
>> cheers
>> Chris
>> 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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>> -- Chris Hansen
>> 32 East Village Drive
>> Burlington
>> Vermont 05401
>> USA
>> Ph 603 3988730
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