Re: Neighbors who are gone a lot
From: fergyb2 (
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:18:15 -0700 (PDT)
    The only time I can remember it impacting decision making it wasn't a case 
of travel but hospitalization.  One of our animal loving residents was 
hospitalized for quite a while with a serious health problem during a difficult 
community decision making process about having the Racoon family that had taken 
up residence on our roof trapped and euthanized.  When the absent resident came 
home from the hospital and saw the raccoon in the trap in our garden and heard 
that the plan was to kill it, she freaked out and drove off with the raccoon 
and trap (which wasn't even ours, it was borrowed), causing much drama and a 
more prolonged decision making process.  We were able to convince her 
eventually that the remaining raccoon family members had to go and she returned 
the trap but it was a challenging situation for us.  
     The bottom line is that there are always challenges living in community 
and no amount of pre thinking or rule making can eliminate them all.  Having 
residents committed to making the effort and having clean, transparent, 
consensual decision making processes is about the best you can do.
                     Bonnie Fergusson
                     Swans Market Cohousing
                     Oakland, CA

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 26, 2016, at 12:39 PM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 

> How does it affect your decision making process? We’ve had at least one case 
> of a red card followed by a long trip (no snowbirds here). Obviously no one 
> does that on purpose, but it sure can snag a painful process.
> -Liz
> (The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
> 508-450-0431
>> On Sep 26, 2016, at 3:05 PM, Bonnie Ferguson via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l 
>> [at]> wrote:
>>    We have some neighbors who travel a lot but they all contribute to the 
>> Community when here so it doesn't feel burdensome.  Also sometimes absent 
>> neighbors allow residents' guests to use their homes/ parking places while 
>> they are gone so we get additional guest rooms out of the deal.  We 
>> consciously try to ensure that there is a lot of redundancy in who knows how 
>> to do what so we are not bereft of Community skills when folks are out of 
>> town.  And lastly we have a lockbox which contains keys to all our homes so 
>> any of us can get into an absent resident's place in case of need.  This is 
>> useful even for when folks are just at work, in case of plumbing disaster 
>> for instance which happened once.  
>>     I think the snowbird phenomena could work in cohousing with advanced 
>> thoughtful agreements about these issues.  It is very nice to feel secure 
>> when you are out of town about your neighbors looking out for your place, 
>> watering your plants, taking in your mail and feeding, and walking your 
>> pets.  And as long as it's an exchange of favors it works.
>>               Bonnie Fergusson
>>              Swans Market Cohousing
>>               Oakland, CA
>> Sent from my iPhone
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