Greetings from Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community! Thank you for your interest in our community. We invite you to visit! When you come, we will be glad to give you a tour of the community, including our Common House and at least one of our individual homes. We have regular common meals on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and we can sign you in for dinner if we have at least 3 days notice.
One of the best ways to get to know us, and to understand the dynamics of cohousing, is to attend one of our meetings. Full Circle meetings happen about every four weeks, rotating among Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons and some weekday evenings.
We maintain a waiting list to purchase homes. There are a number of steps you must take to get on the list. We are always open to having new people on our waiting list, and people who are on it and are ready to buy often get a house, with a little patience. Our occasional rentals are arranged by individual home owners.
We are legally organized as a condominium association, but we make decisions through a form of governance known as Dynamic Governance. Decisions are made on the basis of consent, meaning no member has an objection to the proposal in question. Consent decision making is a variation of consensus: no member’s voice can be ignored.
We are 32 households, from single people to families of 7. As members, we number roughly 55 adults and 16 children. Associate members (nearby neighbors who are an active part of our neighborhood) also contribute greatly. We strive for diversity, and we have diversity in terms of age, sexual orientation, religious background, and, to some extent, class and race. We are hoping, always, for more diversity. The main floor of the Common House is wheelchair accessible, but otherwise we are not well designed for people with disabilities.
All the houses are owner occupied (there are occasional temporary exceptions to this), and some of us share our houses with partners, relatives and renters. We are located in a beautiful spot between a ski-able golf course/woods and a swimmable town pond, and near hiking trails. For many people, the reasons for living in Amherst are its high-quality public schools and the context created by having five well-known colleges in the area. The drawback is that competition for jobs is strong, and many are overqualified in the jobs they hold. We hope that this letter will tell you enough to make you want to know more. We would love to hear from you.
The book Cohousing: A contemporary approach to housing ourselves by Kathryn McCamant & Charles Durrett gives a real flavor of cohousing and its history.
The web site www.cohousing.org provides detailed information about the history of cohousing and about cohousing communities across the country.
We’ll be happy to tell you more and answer your questions when you email, call or visit.
* To inquire for information by email, or to schedule a visit, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approved: May 2020