Re: How important is including consensus in bylaws?
From: drmaryanngroups (
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 08:07:31 -0800 (PST)
Our community, Manzanita Village in Prescott AZ, is governed by three documents: HOA 
CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions), HOA By Laws, and our Villagers 
Guide (Policies and Procedures). The first two are traditional homeowner association 
documents while the third are our specialized (cohousing) document. There is little in 
the first two that sets us apart from other HOA-style communities except to note that 
the controlling documents for the community include all three (not just CC&R and By 
Laws). The first two were drafted for us by a lawyer specializing in this type of law 
and follow the requirements of the state.They can only be changed by a vote of the 

The Villagers Guide contains all the policies and procedures we've established 
including when and how we use consensus, how to deal with blocks, etc. It also 
includes all those little rules cohousing communities establish like 
vision/mission statement, description of our governance structure, community 
meals, pet policies, and the like. This document has been written by and for 
our community and can easily be updated, added to, deleted from by the 
community using the consensus process. We have found it very convenient to 
separate our legalistic HOA documents from our cohousing document.

So in answer to your question, we don't say anything in our CC&R or By Laws 
about consensus but have pages of description of the process in our Villager's Guide where 
we can easily revise and refine it as required.

Mary Ann
Manzanita Village where our garden is just coming out of its winter hibernation

PS If you're interested in getting a copy of our Villagers Guide there's a link 
on our website

The library is a large building filled with books and journals. It functions 
sort of like Google, but deeper.

Mary Ann Clark                                                  drmaryann49 

On Mar 02, 2013, at 07:34 PM, Willow Murphy <willowm7 [at]> wrote:

The question our community is dealing with: How important is it to include
your vision, values, and consensus process in your HOA bylaws? The only
thing we're sure about is that we need to indicate in our bylaws that
consensus is our primary form of decision making. Should we include a
process for back up voting procedures in the bylaws, as well?

Otherwise, we would include our consensus process, back up voting, and
vision and values in our policies and procedures manual. Thanks,
Sand River Co-Housing
Santa Fe, NM
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