Frequently Asked Questions
Any materials provided by the Flower City Cohousing Community LLC are for informational purposes only and are not an offering. No offering is made except by a prospectus filed with or exemption granted by the Department of Law of the State of New York. No filing has been made to the Department of Law.
What do you hope to create?
We are committed to living in or near Rochester’s city limits, in approximately 20–30 housing units. While the vision of our community is still in development, we are exploring owner-occupied duplexes, town houses, condo apartments, and co-ops.
In a typical cohousing arrangement, units may be studios or 1–4 bedrooms in size, each with a full kitchen, bathroom(s) and living room. The Common House includes a large kitchen and multi-use room suitable for community dinners and meetings, as well as shared tools and equipment space, laundry room, guest rooms, rec room, library and more.
Where will it be located?
We are exploring sites within Rochester’s city limits, the Town of Brighton, and other nearby suburbs.
What are you doing currently?
Roughly 15 of us meet regularly as a whole group and in committees to develop our community. We also gather periodically for social events, and volunteer at a Highland Park garden. We are immersed in meetings with major local developers, architects, representatives of the City of Rochester and neighboring towns, and others to identify our site. Katie McCamant of Cohousing Solutions, our nation’s foremost expert who helped bring cohousing here to the US from Denmark and has aided in creating dozens of communities, serves as our development consultant. Moore CRE is helping us identify the best site. We orient newcomers, and conduct informational presentations to varied groups (churches, Rotaries, interest groups, and others). We welcome invitations to speak to groups of any size.
What will units cost?
Costs vary based upon community design, specific site, and choices of individual unit owners. Once we have selected our site and registered with the NYS Attorney General as a promoter group, we will be able to determine and provide estimates for our specific community.
Will there be monthly fees?
Monthly fees will cover maintenance (current needs as well as a fund for future needs) and other shared costs. Typical rates for cohousing range from $300 up, depending upon what the community itself chooses to include. The amount is set to minimize needs for unexpected emergency assessments.
What cost savings come with cohousing?
The sharing of resources in cohousing limits resource consumption and saves money. Here are some examples:
- The Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage (Belfast, ME) estimates that a family of four could save in excess of $100,000 over 20 years (http://www.cohousing.org/node/3281). Their net-zero architecture could save up to $50,000 in heating costs depending on the unit.
- Cohousing residents share lawnmowers, pick-up trucks, bikes, tools, and more.
- Residents may experience reduced costs related to transportation, house maintenance, childcare, and moving heavy items.
How will I buy into the community if I have not yet sold my present home?
Paying for a cohousing unit is just like looking for a house before you sell your existing house/condo/townhouse. You take the risk of selling your house too soon, but then you have the money. On the other hand, you might wait until your unit exists and then it might take too long to sell your house. This is the same as the general buying and selling of houses.
How will resale work?
Owners are responsible for identifying buyers for their units, and potential buyers are asked to become familiar with the community, including its operations and members. Ultimately, buyers must sign off on the operating agreement of the community and go through the community membership process. Often cohousing communities have waiting lists of people seeking to purchase a unit, and sellers can start with people on the list if they wish. Other members may refer friends as potential buyers, and the national Cohousing Association offers a place to list units for sale on its web site.
What about sweat equity?
How much participation is required?
In the typical cohousing community, at least one adult member of each household is actively involved attending committee and/or business meetings regularly, helping to create the community. Also, once the community is built and occupied, a work requirement exists for adult members—perhaps on the order of 4 hours of volunteer time per month. If health issues or other circumstances make it impossible for a member to participate, a waiver can be requested.
How is this different from a ’60s commune?
Most member households will each own fully independent and functional living quarters; you can have privacy as well as community. We operate by a consensus process that enables all to be heard but no single person or household dominates or permanently blocks important decisions. Members manage and are responsible for their own finances and financial obligations. We anticipate offering 2-3 community meals each week, and they are entirely voluntary. The community has no affiliation with any specific religious or political organization.
Consensus? What’s that all about?
FC3 uses a modified form of consensus decision making. This allows us to hear all views and achieve resolution efficiently. The use of committees to investigate, formulate and present proposals streamlines decision making. Major issues — site selection, for example — are brought to business meetings for thorough discussion and finally a decision. When this form of decision making works, the bonds in the community deepen, people listen better and respect for different options grows.
Click here to read our document on consensus decision-making.
What about pets?
FC3 makes decisions by a consensus process. Specifics about pets and many other issues will be decided using this process.