From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2007 21:47:15 -0800 (PST)
You would be well advised to go to the county records office and look for
developments similar to what you want to do in your area. Before you go,
make an appointment with one of your county or municipal planners.  You can
ask a planner questions like, how many rezones have been approved in the
past year, what is the rezone process.  If there has not been a rezone in
that area for a long time, then you probably will not be able to go that
route.  If there have been rezones and developments similar to what you
envision, get the name of the developer and see if there is somebody who
will talk with you about the ropes....Offer to pay them, take them to
dinner, whatever works. The people who develop land for a living know the
local processes best and they can tell you all kinds of valuable, insider
info that it would take you years to learn on your own.

For example, from a local developer I learned that at the main office there
were a couple of people that were easier to work with than others. So we
asked for them specifically. At one point we had to go in to the office and
take a number, and so we took 5 numbers, then let others go ahead of us,
until the person we wanted was free.  

I have seen planners  become very enthusiastic about cohousing once they
learn about it, and they can help you a lot. They are public employees, use
their knowledge.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood, Snohomish County, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: Oliveau [at] [mailto:Oliveau [at]] 
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 11:33 AM
To: cohousing-l [at]

Hey Charles,
    Our zoning was 3 acre minimum.  But they has a  "Rural Hamlet" option
which allowed for closer spacing of the houses in return  for a large area
of common open space.  You should talk to the zoning  people and see if they
have a clustering option of some sort.  
    The other thing to do is go for a zoning exception,  but this involves
more legal time and money.
    A third option is to design the community with 5  acre lots, but layout 
the geometry so that the houses are close together.   I've seen very extreme

examples of this where the houses are all on tiny  "pipe stems" which run
along a twisted path to large acreage far away.
Hope that helps,
-Kevin Oliveau
Catoctin Creek Village
In a message dated 11/8/2007 2:25:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
balaji [at] writes:

Dear  Group:

The county where we likely will build has a 5 acre minimum for  residences.
They have no experience with cohousing.  Has anyone out  there had
experience with this  problem?


Utah Valley Cohousing  Community


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