If you are a prospective buyer or renter, the following information will help align your expectations with reality.
What is Cohousing?
Cohousing communities are a lifestyle choice that is growing in popularity among people who want to know their neighbors. There are over 100 cohousing communities in the U.S. characterized by:
1) Design and site planning decisions made by the future residents
2) Some facilities and resources owned in common
3) Decisions made by a consensus model
4) Management of the property is done by the community meeting, rather than a small Board of Directors
5) There is no shared community economy. (for further information, see www.cohousing.org)
What are co-housing benefits that people who live at Milagro enjoy?
Milagro was designed and planned by many people who live here today. Residents own their own homes and together we commonly own and manage the rest of the property. The property features a large Common House, with a swimming pool, laundry facility, organic garden, and children’s play spaces for use by residents and their guests. Our wetlands system processes all our waste water so we are saved rising sewage treatment fees. All property owners serve on the Board of Directors.
Who makes what kinds of decisions in Milagro and how?
Decisions that require legal action or sums of money beyond those held in the annual community budget or that make policy are made by homeowners who attend the community meetings. All other decisions (day-to-day operational decisions, approaches to solving common challenges, etc.) are decided by those attending the community or committee meeting, be they owners or renters. The annual Milagro Cohousing budget is developed by the Finance & Budget Committee with input from each committee, and discussed, modified and then adopted at a monthly community meeting. At this time, a quorum for a legally-binding decision is one-half of all households in Milagro, or 14 households.
What is the difference in use between commonly-owned areas and privately-held areas?
Commonly-owned areas include the driveways, parking lots and carports, pathways, space along the central pathway, common house and adjoining spaces such as patios, swimming pool and laundry facilities and the 33 acre Natural Undisturbed Open Space which includes the Camino de Oeste Wash. The care and use of these spaces is managed by residents working within a specific committee; we all assist in their maintenance at some level.
Privately-held areas include the parking garages, homes and front and back patios attached to those homes (see plot plans.) Although the areas are privately owned, any structure or addition that would alter the appearance or function (solar panels, solar tubes, water cisterns, etc.) needs the agreement of neighbors whose view would be altered by these items and a formal decision by the community.
What are the expectations of people living in cohousing?
Our monthly HOA dues are based on the square footage of the house and range from $221 to $290.
Since Milagro is an environmentally-designed community, our wetland and parking lot require certain behaviors from all residents. To maintain the health of the wetland, which processes all our sewage into useable underground effluent for our trees, we use certain detergents and cleaners and avoid any use of bleach or antibacterial cleaners.
The gravel pave surface of the parking lot has minimal environmental impact, and requires that we drive no more than the 8 MPH speed limit on this surface.
New residents can expect to be welcomed by their neighbors daily on the path, and at an “Aloha Party” where we celebrate their arrival. New residents learn more about how Milagro works through the support of a mentor.
We hope this condensed description will give you a good sense of whether Milagro Cohousing is a match for your residential style.
–Milagro Cohousing community, December, 2013