thought needed on zoning problem
From: Jill Robinson (
Date: Sat, 4 May 2002 20:59:06 -0600 (MDT)
The Greenfield, MA cohousing project was instigated in part to preserve
historic farm from commercial development.  There is a big movement
afoot in the town to rezone this farm from rural residential to
commercial in order to build an office park with some light industry.
Members of the
cohousing group find themselves in the position of arguing why an office

park, which would bring tax revenues to the town, is bad while a
cohousing community, which would drain fiscal resources from the town,
is good.

The argument being used against our proposal is that a 'subdivision' of
residential homes costs a town roughly three times more than it brings
in revenues.  The costs are primarily for schooling the children of the
community, but also include police & fire protection, snow plowing, etc.

Any thoughts or countervailing arguments that cohousers have to support
case would be appreciated.  What we've come up with so far are:
1)   Cohousing communities generally require much less in the way of
police intervention that the average neighborhood.
2)  Cohousing neighborhoods are designed to have a diverse mix of
residents' ages, from single young people through families to elders.
Because of this the number of children in the community is often less
that of an average subdivision.
3)  For cohousing communities here in the Pioneer Valley of Western
Massachusetts, 1/3 to 1/2 of the children attend private schools or are
home schooled.
4)  People who live in cohousing are generally very civic minded.  In
the Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst, MA, there are nine
adults presently serving on the elected Town Meeting, out of 36
households. Many others serve on boards of directors or volunteer in

We are giving a public presentation to the Greenfield Town Council on
Tuesday, May 7th.  Please send your comments to Tad Montgomery:
tad [at] or at work: (413) 774-7248.

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