Bristol Cohousing Update, Construction in Full Swing

Hi Cohousers:

We are watching the dream of Bristol Village Cohousing become a reality, with amazingprogress every week. But before we get into details…

…a reminder that our next Member Meeting is set for Monday, October 17 at 5:30 pm at 16 North Street (the future Common House). Let’s enter from the front porch so as not to unduly disturb the tenants. Our tentative agenda:

·       Financial and construction update

·       Agreements on member meeting format

·       Discussion of membership privileges and responsibilities

·       Affordable units – how to proceed

·       Marketing plans

This meeting will be a potluck, so we’re looking forward to our first true community meal. RSVP if you can, and let us know what you’ll be bringing. 

Welcome to two new households

Valerie Dearing, who now lives in Waitsfield, has reserved one of the units at 12 North Street, and Holly Alden has reserved one of the flats at 14 North Street. We are excited that they have joined our community! This brings us back up to 9 member families, with 5 units left.  

Construction is happening fast!

We have got to hand it to Moe Rochon and Aaron Stewart, our taskmasters from Stewart Construction. They are keeping things moving, always looking at the calendar to make sure we avoid delays that will push against immovable obstacles, principally winter weather conditions. Their goal is to have all of the buildings framed and enclosed before the snow flies. 

Work around the site is like a well- choreographed dance. The excavators dig the holes for the foundations and install crushed stone, and electricians and plumbers lay out the pipes and wiring. This is followed by the concrete crew, who pour the building slabs. Meanwhile, carpenters cut the wood for the framing and assemble the insulated panels for the walls. Once the foundation is ready, the framing goes up quickly, then the trusses are placed overhead for the roof. Next the panels are placed on the building exterior. Rooms are framed and defined. Every team works on a phase of the construction, followed by another team, performing the next steps. It takes an amazing amount of coordination and planning, and we’ve hired the guys that are up to the task.

There was lots of drama last week, as 12 North Street was demolished – a crowd assembled to witness, and some folks even brought folding chairs. We saved and removed the front façade – it was sitting on a rotting foundation, and will be put back up after the building is framed. Josh Masterson’s excavating machine took large chunks of the building down at a time, looking like a prehistoric monster devouring a city. Now there is a pit where the building once stood, and although the building held lots of history and memories, the street looks better in its absence.

Another miracle that took place in the last week was the rapid construction of the North Cottage. We left an early morning meeting admiring the foundation that had been laid for the house. Maura sent us a picture later that day of the first floor rising above the foundation. The following day, the second story had been erected, with the roof truss placed nearby. Yesterday, less than a week later, we took a tour of the building – rooms framed on the first floor, stairs connecting the two stories, roof overhead. And this morning, the windows were being installed. So we now have a model house to show, with just a bit of imagination required to visualize a cozy home.

The construction crew is working on the foundations of the South Cottage and one of the east cottages. Meanwhile, 14 North Street now sports a single story. And 8 North Street is getting readied for its new insulated walls.

You can check out this link to our blog: to see a photo gallery of BVCH to date, along with videos of rising of the front wall we are saving, and the demolition of the the building.

We will try to incorporate a site tour into our next member meeting. If you would like a tour or to visit the site at another time, it’s best to contact Jim (802-734-0798) to make arrangements.

 Permits and paperwork

We’ve finally received the amended water and wastewater permits from the state. That means that the bank can officially release the construction funds, creating a great sense of relief. The bank’s engineer will be meeting us on site next week for an inspection to make sure everything is going according to plan. 

We have gotten the Division of Fire Safety permit for 8 North St and have submitted the DFS application for 16 North St. We believe that is it for required permits – for now, anyway.

Next steps

We are now getting to the stage where folks who’ve reserved their units will need to enter the next stage of commitment. This is because our construction task-masters need us to make a few decisions. Those that are looming:

·       We need to choose the exterior colors of the cottages by Tuesday October 18

·       We will have to select the finishes and wall colors for the interiors of all units by October 31

·       Also by October 31, we will have to make choices as to plumbing and lighting fixtures

There is a display of the choices for flooring, wall color, cabinet designs and such in the front hall of 16 North Street, with a sheet (attached to a unit floorplan) for marking preferences. At the next member meeting, we hope to assemble a committee of members willing to go on a shopping expedition. Our adventure will include narrowing down the choices for plumbing and lighting fixtures and kitchen appliances. The goal will be to offer everyone 3 – 5 choices at different price points, and taking advantage of quantity discounts by purchasing from one supplier.

Folks who have signed the purchase and sales agreement and made the required down payment will be able to make the final selections for their unit. The design committee will make the choices for those units for which a final commitment has not been made.  This will ensure that unsold units will not be saddled with quirky color and finish choices. Please contact Peg ( if you have any questions about this process.

Peg and Jim