July 23, 2018 In Pursuit of Cohousing: Brian PaStarr recounts his recent visit to Washington DC.
I made a trip to Washington D.C. and spent 4 days there, partly with friends who invited me, and partly to attend a conference on Non-Violent communication.
I visited two cohousing communities.
Blueberry Hill Cohousing is a Rural/suburban community built on 7 acres, and attached to a 20 acre farm – only the farm ownership by the parents of one of the members enabled them to acquire such a parcel in Fairfax county Virginia. They built 19 single family houses on the property as well as a common house of about 2000 square feet. Many of the original residents had children who grew up there and have now moved on. Now just 12 children live there, and common meals are held once a week.
Takoma Village Cohousing is an urban cohousing community on 1.4 acres with 43 units. It is a U shape building with 3 stories, some units are flats and some are two level town-homes. Paul Schwartz gave me a tour, and at the end of the U is an outdoor room ( Paul says they don’t like to call it a patio instead they call it the Piazza) It’s just outside the big windows of the common house- makes it easy to take your coffee or snack outside when the weather is good. Despite its urban location and its property backing up to the Metro train, the grounds feel rural with window boxes on the railings.
While I was visiting, Takoma was having a community work day. I was amazed at how much fun adults and children were having as they worked together cleaning and gardening, one of the people working was a prospective member and after the work participating in a community meal
Both of these communities were built around the year 2000. Takoma has had 8-10 new families with children move in in the last 5 years.
Here are some of us having a picnic on the grass at Milwaukee Ave in Minneapolis. Just like in cohousing we saw people walking their dogs, kids playing or being pushed on the swings by their parents. A group was nearby planning a peace pole to be installed. This Neighborhood has a walking street, and is very social, we can plan something like this - because the Builders are not doing this on spec. As a group we will make it happen!
If you have not been to Milwaukee Ave and want to know more- try this website:
Suzan, Brian, Fred, and Becca were there !
From the Cohousing Solutions webpage.
The web page for this article is http://cohousing-solutions.com/kids-in-cohousing/ comments by Katie McCamant
It expresses the free play we want kids to experience in nature and with other adults and children.
Feb 10 at the Minneapolis Convention center 9- 3 Bassett Creek Cohousing will be having a table to share our hopes for a new cohousing community in Harrison Neighborhood... Many civic groups are there and Planners from the City, other departments. Visit our booth, meet us. Fred and Becca and Brian will be on hand. I put in this photo, but it won't be outdoor dining just yet! Becca
.November 15 at our Potluck dinner Brian gives Suzan the "Joiners hat" for taking the first steps towards membership in Bassett Creek Cohousing!
We are Delighted!!!
Becca- I have just completed a 15 hour Course offered by the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Dept ( CPED). This is part of their B-TAP - Business Technical Assistance Program.
The first thing the Instructor told us is that success in the Real Estate Business is based on creating a network of contacts, people you can call on to do what you yourself might not be able to do- whether legal work, planning, designing, financing, advertising, or construction.
Hey, this is true of Cohousing as well, we're going to succeed with a little help from our friends!
The course is aimed at getting more small developers involved in building the "Missing Middle" of the housing market. There are a lot of single family home builders, and a lot of mega developers who build the big Luxury Condo or Apartment Buildings, but the medium density is missing.
I really enjoyed learning more about the "Game" of development played with the Minneapolis rules.
I hope it will help us get cohousing built.
The class included 30 people, and we were pretty diverse, in age, sex, race, and what type of business the person was pursuing. The instructors expected that a lot of those in the class would buy existing 4-plexes, 8 plexes and manage them, or build new ones. We looked at Site selection, Acquisition, Due Diligence and Entitlements. ( entitlements means city permission)
We were assigned to find out as much as we could about a specific property - with all the websites of the Local Governments for Taxes, Special Assessments, Zoning, Local Area Plans.
Then we had to figure out if we could build an apartment building there, how big, how many units ( and still follow code). Then we learned about Financial Feasibility - to create a Pro Forma - a financial spreadsheet document that helps you find out if you can build the project, rent the space and not lose money.
So now Becca's head is spinning, I am so glad that Bassett Creek Cohousing is working with Katie McCamant and John Kalmon, our coaches for the game ahead.
If you want to take the course:
October 11 the Bassett Creek group held a Potluck dinner. We met at Brian's house - He lives near Milwaukee Ave in South Minneapolis, a place with a narrow street converted to walking only - Hey its ALMOST Cohousing! Good food and talk was shared, we almost kept the youngest guest
(He's 18 month old) entertained all night. He enjoyed climbing the stairs.
I hope in the end my living Unit will not have stairs inside.
Sept 16, 2017 Sierra Club Bike ride stopped at the triangle.
116 people on bikes got to hear our description of Bassett Creek Cohousing. See Downtown in the background!
We held an Informational Meeting at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, on Sunday, September 24, 2017 We welcomed individuals who are new to our group, who first met us at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair Sept 9 and 10. Brian enthusiastically shared the vision of cohousing, and his experience in this neighborhood raising his daughters near the site. Coffee meetings and a potluck will follow in the weeks ahead.
http://www.firstunitarian.org posted by Becca
Members of Bassett Creek Cohousing will post here periodically. Thanks for checkin in!