|Retrofit Cohousing: How to begin||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kevin Wolf (kjwolfdcn.davis.ca.us)|
|Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 01:19:19 -0500|
At 11:23 PM 6/6/99 EDT, Nancy Chang wrote: Hi Nancy My answers are below. I am also cc:ing this to the co-housing L mailing list. Others there might have suggestions to add. >How do I judge if a block is good for retrofitting? 1. Lower income, primarily rental, lower priced homes, unless you want to have a more affluent membership. Also, you can often find larger yards in these neighborhoods, and over time, expand the size of these often smaller homes, even adding granny flats as is being done here. 2. As many houses as possible should have their public living quarters face the back yard. This is classic cohousing design. 3. A fairly safe neighborhood and good schools. (this often does not go with lower income/rentals). There are all kinds of other things one could add to this list but I can't think of any that might be deal breakers. Almost anything can be overcome or aren't so important. >And would a separate house have to be rented to serve as a common house? We were lucky in that one of the houses was larger and we could convert it to the common house and still rent out four rooms. The room rental paid most of the lease costs. In a beginning retrofit community in Ontario they plan on the basement of one of their brownstones being the common eating and meeting area. >Should I get interested parties together before starting this? Sure! Put the word out and have a first meeting. See who is interested. Do you have goals for what you want out of living in a community and principles that you want to guide you? Write those out and find out what other people's are? Can you live with theirs and they yours? It would be an interesting to know what areas of town might fit the above criteria of yards, renters etc and see what different people thought about living in that part of town. >what if the block we're interested in has only one vacancy? How many are rentals? How often do they come up for rent? How often do homes come up for sale? This will give you an idea of how long it would take to develop a critical core of homes and how long to incorporate the entire block. By the way, what do you mean by noncontiguous? You don't have to only buy or rent homes that are adjacent to one another so that the fences can be removed. Think long term. Buy and rent in that area. One day all the in between houses will likely be part of the community and the formerly noncontiguous house is now adjacent. You can even rent houses around the neighborhood as close as possible to the designated block so that you have more people being part of the community before homes on the block become available. I hope this helps. Kevin N Street Cohousing >Nancy Chang
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