Frequently Asked Questions about Putney Commons
We encourage people to familiarize themselves with the various models of cohousing in different parts of the United States. Approximately 200 cohousing communities are now in existence or in construction. A good book to begin with is Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett’s Creating Cohousing.
A visit in person gives you a chance to see the project we’ve begun and to talk with one or more of us about your own dreams for building/buying/sharing land and stewardship with others. We ask people whose interest develops further to come to our regular business meetings to get a feel for how we work with consensus and who we are. These happen eight to ten times a year. We also have social occasions or work parties which can include people interested in getting to know us.
We are looking for people of all ages interested in living in a friendly green neighborhood in the village of Putney. We collaborate as a group of owners in decision making. We invite people interested in or open to the consensus approach to come to our business meetings. This process involves no voting, but employs a thoughtful consideration of issues at hand and each person openly sharing his/her thoughts. Together
we move toward a direction which feels harmonious for all. In our experience, this builds a strong community and we are committed to it and to continuing to nourish our capacity to work collaboratively.
Who are you?
Our Book of Commons spells out our commonly held intentions in living together on this land. Residents share trash collection/compost/tools/newspapers/community garden/food/social opportunities/work parties on the land/trail maintenance/and the opportunity to share life in a beautiful meadow just off Main Street in Putney. The owners group has responsibility for stewardship of the land and the homes we have built on it as well as for decisions related to furthering the vision of our project. Decisions related to Putney Commons land and houses are made by the owners group; decisions related to social events often take place within the resident group, which includes both owners and tenants. We have potlucks with our surrounding neighbors, the Catalpa Neighborhood, whose members range in age from sixteen months to in the eighties.
Who we are continues to evolve, influenced by the people in residence and in the owners group.
Are there any homes currently for sale? for rent?
As of January, 2013, we have no homes for rent. One home is for sale; the owner will answer inquiries directly. Rental homes vary in size and detail; when available, they rent for $1100 to $1400 monthly.
It costs a total of $75,000 for your share of the land purchase and infrastructure. In preparation for building, we did site work, built a road and a drainage system, and cleared debris in the woods surrounding our central meadow. We cut down as few trees as possible and built in a manner which protects the wild edge of our property away from the town. This work involved hours of collaboration with surveyors, engineers, lawyers, architects, builders, carpenters, and neighbors.
The cost of the home you choose to construct is up to you. Infrastructure for sewer, electric, water, and propane are in the ground from Construction Phase I, completed in 2007-2008. We have up to three sites available in the northwestern part of the field, which could stand alone or use the same clustered approach we did. These are available for single story units up to 1500 sq. ft. One additional site next to the lower cluster garage, originally intended for a Common House, could be a two story, duplex or single home and garage. It also has utility hook ups in the ground from the previous construction phase.
We ask people interested in building to go through a process of getting to know us. We ask that people design in harmony with what currently exists and build green, energy efficient dwellings. The owners group will work with you and your builder, designating a team to meet with you both and review/approve your design.
What are the design options?
We can suggest a local architect and/or builder if you are interested. In addition to the type of homes we built, we are open to other methods of green, energy-efficient building. Ask us about the super-insulation green building practices we used and about our choices to install triple pane windows and live on one floor, with handicapped-accessibility features.
What does it cost to live at Putney Commons?
Our annual Homeowners Fee is $175/mo. This includes snow plowing, hay mowing, tree removal, road maintenance, publicity, insurance, trash, landscaping and vegetable gardening expenses, a reserve fund, and all external building maintenance needs. In addition, owners pay taxes set by the town of Putney, approximately $6,000/year. (Depending on your income, you might be eligible for a Vermont property tax adjustment.) The third ongoing expense is water/sewer, electricity, and propane. Four of the six homes have added solar panels on their roofs that are hooked into the grid, creating a surplus of electrical energy over a year’s time. Total costs vary depending on personal use and source of internal heating.
How can I arrange a visit to Putney Commons?
Elizabeth Christie via email for phone, 802 387 5464