Bristol Village Cohousing Update

Hi Cohousers:

We are delighted to be watching so many things coalesce for our community. Our future homes are going up, and members are setting the ground rules for our shared neighborhood. But before we get into details…

…a reminder that our next Member Meeting is set for Sunday, November 20 from 2 – 5 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:

·      Updates from policy committee and on construction

·      Landscape architect’s presentation

·      Decision making discussion

·      Plans for solar energy – need for decision

·      Fundraising for affordable units

·      Marketing plans

·      Membership categories

·      A few necessary fixture decisions 

Watching our community take shape

Once our site was cleared a few months ago, we had a better idea about the size and layout of our 2 ½ acre parcel. Yet we admit to being nervous about how expansive or cramped our community would feel. Now that the buildings have gone up, the scale of our new neighborhood has really come into focus. And it is both cozy and spacious at the same time.

There are four new buildings on site that now define the contours of our common green. Its dimensions are set by the North and South cottages on the one hand, and the East cottage and 14 North St on the other. There will be plenty of space for picnics, bocce, lawn chairs, and even a casual soccer game.

As work on the buildings progress, it is easier to envision the living areas in most of our future units. We have enjoyed our visits to the three existing cottages, where the rooms are framed, the windows are installed and some of the outside insulation already envelopes the structure. Unless you are intrepid, you may not get to experience the upstairs unit at 14 North St, with its cathedral ceiling – the ladder to the second floor is not for everyone. But the downstairs unit and the town house are both easy to view.

Finally, while less visible from the outside, work on 8 North St has been proceeding. The sparse insulation and wall-papered plaster has been removed from the outside walls. These walls are now framed to take roughly 8” of blown in cellulose, which will be installed next week. Drywall will go up the first week of December. New energy efficient windows and exterior doors have been installed. We took pains, so to speak, to match the 12 over 12 window design of the original house.

The giant crater that was formed when we demolished 12 North St has been filled as the cement slab is now defined.  The slab will be poured early next week, with framing to begin the week after Thanksgiving. Once this building goes up, the new face of North St will be established, with buildings designed to fit the scale and feeling of the original streetscape.

One unanticipated bonus of removing 12 North is the salvaging of several massive stones that formed a portion of the foundation. Some are large flagstones, which can be incorporated into a planned patio outside of 16 North St. Some will be used as steps leading into a few of our units. Others can be used to create benches along our green.

As the work goes forward, our site crews have been connecting us to Bristol town waterlines. The biggest part of this work has been completed – installing a larger waterline and hydrant along Mountain View. In order to assure minimal disruption to our neighbors, we accomplished this work with horizontal drilling, pulling the pipe under the road without disturbing the surface. Next week, the connection to the water line from North Street should be completed.

We will try to incorporate a site tour before 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.

Next steps

Next week, the building crew will start prepping the foundations for the two remaining East cottages. It’s too late for major modifications – the framing work for these buildings has already been done, ready for quick assembly when the time is right.

In the meanwhile, the underground utilities will be laid in – water and powerline connections to each of the new buildings. This should take about 2 weeks. Then the septic system will be installed. The plan is to have all of the sitework – except topsoil, plantings and seeding – completed before the new year.

Future residents of BVCH have made their commitments

The seven families who have signed the purchase and sales agreement and secured their units have all made their selections for lighting and plumbing fixtures, as well as flooring and finishes. Thanks are owed to Valerie Dearing, who made fixture and finish selections for the remaining units, and to Ba, who helped narrow down the overwhelming choices we offered to future homeowners.

Permanently Affordable units

Jim and Peg met with the Elise and Mary from Addison County Community Trust, to discuss various financing options and to tour the property. After seeing the units at 14 North St, Mary and Elise seemed more comfortable with the size of the two units we will be offering as permanently affordable homes – they are comparable to what is available through ACCT’s Vermod program.

We received a second foundation commitment of $15,000 – we’ve raised $18,000 all together. We are thus very close to our goal of raising $21,000 for one of the two bedroom units in 12 North St. We need to raise an additional $49,000 to reach our goal of offering two homes under this program.

Jim has been working on a solicitation letter for area businesses, neighbors, vendors and friends. If you or someone you know might be willing to contribute to this cause – or is interested in a permanently affordable, energy-efficient home in the village - please contact Jim. Please remind any interested purchaser that they would be eligible for a $44,000 grant towards the down payment on their unit, and would only need to finance the remaining $170,000 of the purchase price.

That’s it for now – see you at the member meeting on Sunday!

Peg and Jim


Bristol Village Cohousing