seeking input on membership structure
From: Jonnie Pekelny (
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 01:50:40 -0700 (PDT)
Hello, everyone. I am on the membership committee of North Oakland Cohousing. 
Our group is still quite new, and on a fast track to build urban high-density 
cohousing in Oakland. We are currently working with a developer, have a parcel 
of land designated, and are working out the many and complex fine print on who 
will develop it and on whose penny.

At the same time we are trying to establish the membership structure and 
guidelines. Some weeks ago, another member of our group asked for tips on 
membership structure, but now, as time has passed and we've coalesced a bit, 
our questions are a bit more clear and specific, so I will ask again on our 
group's behalf.

I would very much like to hear feedback from communities in stages BEFORE 
move-in (and the formation of the HOA) about your membership structure. 
Especially the following information:

1) Do you have different levels of membership (e.g. full member and associate 
member)? If so, what are the different tiers and what 
privileges/limitations/implications do they involve?

2) Is membership, or the different levels of membership, linked to equity 
investment in the project? Or to the level at which people have committed 
themselves to the group? Or both? If both, how does that work? In our case, we 
are just forming our LLC, so most of the participants, even the most solid, are 
NOT equity members yet. Yet they pay dues... It's a bit confusing.

3) How is your dues / entry fee structure organized? In our group we ran into 
an issue with wanting to be as fair as possible to various family 
configurations and income levels, without bogging ourselves down in overly 
complex plutocracy. The main ideas seem to be to pay by household, or pay by 
adult member, or have some kind of sliding or varied scale, but a relatively 
simple one. How does your community do it? 

Thank you very much for all responses.

It would also help me to contextualize the answers if you tell me roughly what 
stage of formation/development your group is at.

Jonnie Pekelny
North Oakland Cohousing

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