Re: Developer Model of Co-housing
From: Kathryn McCamant (kmccamantCOHOUSING-SOLUTIONS.COM)
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2015 12:09:53 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Sue Ellen, 

Perhaps you are not aware of how many very successful communities have
started because one person or a single household took the initiative to
purchase or put under contract a piece of land that allowed a community to
organize themselves around it. Doyle Street Cohousing, Nevada City
Cohousing, Wolf Creek Lodge, and many many other fine cohousing
communities (Nashville, Stillwater, Anchorage, etc Š  came together
because someone took the initiative to tie up a specific property that
allowed the community to organize around it.

On the other hand, many communities meet and talk and meet and talk and
are never able to take that step toward making their community dream a
reality because finding and tying up a specific property is one of the
weaknesses in the community process. And when they do, they generally
loose many of the people who had been coming to meetings because taking
that next step means money and making it real (which is so imperfect when
compared to the our perfect visions). For instance the Pleasant Hill
community had a regular core of a dozen households meeting for two years
when they were looking for propertyŠwhen they put in an offer on a
property (that ultimately became their community), it immediately dropped
to only four households of the orginal group, and then regrew from there.
This is a common experience for communities when they tie up property.

Having worked with both communities that had a strong core that mostly
stuck together when they found land, and communities that started around a
specific siteŠ. Beyond the first months of regrouping around a specific
site, you wouldn¹t know the difference. In fact, it is very unusual for a
larger group to stick together when they find a property.

The key is that the organizers are looking for people to create community
with, not people to buy into their ³pre-designed and all worked out²
Community (a tendency of many architectsŠ.to work out their ³perfect²
community and then look for others that want that).

I believe that I am the development consultant for the community you are
talking about, and having worked with the purchasers of the property, I
have no concerns about their intentŠ.finding others ready to make it real!

If this is your only concern regarding this particular community, I would
urge you to attend the Novermber Getting it Built Workshop to see what it
can become. Its an opportunity looking for people to jump in and make it


Kathryn McCamant, President
CoHousing Solutions
241B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755

On 9/4/15, 10:30 AM, "Cohousing-L on behalf of Sue Ellen Hiers"
< [at] on
behalf of ncdl [at]> wrote:

>Just want to say that everyone involved is reputable including the co-ho
>consultant. I'm just not sure that it is possible for the co-ho
>consultant to represent clients on both sides of this transaction
>(property owner and non-owners). My expectations were forged from years
>of reading about co-ho as a gathering of a group of people who would then
>pool their money to buy property. This developer model throws in a power
>imbalance that is very confusing for me to know how to navigate.
>Regards, Sue Ellen
>      From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
> To: Sue Ellen Hiers <ncdl [at]>; cohousing-l [at] 
> Sent: Friday, September 4, 2015 11:47 AM
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Developer Model of Co-housing
>> On Sep 3, 2015, at 5:11 PM, Sue Ellen Hiers <ncdl [at]>
>> I would be much more comfortable if their consultant had come up with a
>>legal plan that protects all parties that we could read and digest
>>before asking for money. Unfortunately it feels like a high pressure
>>sales pitch that if you don't act now then you'll lose out on this or
>>that savings or options. Which again if these were not my friends I
>>would not give it a second thought.
>Exactly. I think that  the reasons cohousing had a problem working with
>professionals from traditional fields in the beginning is tripping over
>the expectations of their fields ‹ traditional real estate speculation.
>If you can¹t use a cohousing professional for one reason or another, at
>least contact one and offer then an hourly fee for answering questions on
>a Skype call (I prefer Zoom). Several people can be on the call‹always a
>good idea. I can¹t imagine that Chris-Scott Hansen, Ann Zabaldo, or Katie
>McCamant wouldn¹t agree to this. All participate in this list.
>On expectations of other fields ‹ years ago I published a newsletter on
>forensics for mystery writers. I would often receive a call for an
>emergency subscription. This was in the days when we still had paper
>checks sent in the mail. (If you don¹t remember those, I¹m sure Wikipedia
>has an entry on them.)
>When I received such a call they usually ordered all back issues and so
>the check would often be more than $100. I always sent the newsletters on
>faith that a check would arrive a week later. And they always did except
>when I got a call from a writer in Hollywood. No check. The expectations
>in Hollywood are just different.
>A group in Florida put an ad in a major alternative lifestyle magazine.
>They received something like a thousand requests for information. No
>takers. The expectation of those kinds of publications is to provide
>information to thousands of people who aren¹t prepared to actually do
>The same happened with a traditional real estate marketing firm. They do
>what they do and never measure results.
>This may seem far way from the person who wants money with no commitments
>but they are in their world, and it sound like they may not even be a
>reputable developers. Note my signature line.
>Sharon Villines, Washington, DC
>"Focus means saying no to the 100 good ideas out there. Innovation is
>saying no to 1,000 things." Steve Jobs
>Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.