For our next Discussion Group, we are beaming in Jerry Koch-Gonzalez. Jerry is a founding resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing, a 26 year old community in Amherst, MA that has been successfully using Dynamic Governance for the last few years. Jerry will tell us how this well-established community maintains their Common House, gardens, and grounds and the system they use to make decisions.
Jerry is a consultant and certified trainer in both Dynamic Governance/Sociocracy and Compassionate Communication (NVC), with a focus on governance, decision making, communication skills, and conflict resolution. He is the director for Sociocracy For All, a project of the Institute for Peaceable Communities and is the CEO of The Sociocracy Consulting Group, itself a sociocratic limited liability company run on cooperative principles. Several of us worked with him at the national Cohousing conference in Nashville last spring.
Several issues we will touch on (though we certainly won't hit them all!):
-Forming Task Circles: for Altair currently, it's site development, legal/financial, membership, outreach/PR, hospitality/childcare, healthy green living, sustainability, site maintenance, and steering (agenda for our member meetings).
-Developing the Home Owners Association: we told the Township we would maintain the site, share cars, educate the public, have integrative design workshops, have a community garden, have a long-term conservation plan, and report any demographic changes. We will need to start on the HOA documents earlier in the building/approval process than usual.
-Systems to get the "work" done: it really shouldn't be called "work," but shall we mandate a certain number of hours a family needs to put in, shall we record our hours, can we use Time Banking, how should we do Common House meals, what are the consequences if a family does not participate fully, and can families pay instead of do community tasks?
-What should be in the HOA dues?: taxes, utilities, maintenance, per cent for capital improvements, paid vs volunteer tasks, costs over and above the home and the percentage of the common buildings and grounds such as Storage, Offices, Shops.
We will gather at 3:30 pm. Please RSVP if you would like to see Altair's proposed site – we are offering a tour around 3:00 pm. Bring a potluck dish to share for a dinner around 5 or 5:30 pm. Park at the Kimberton Arts Building at Kimberton and Prizer Roads and walk up the hill four houses across the street.