Bristol Village Cohousing Update

Hi Cohousers:

We’ve just completed a hectic but productive period and have a lot to report. So we’ll wish you all a happy Harvest Moon, and get right to it.

First up – a reminder that our next Member Meeting is set for Sunday, September 18 at 1 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 agenda so far:

·       Project details and updates

·       Further discussion of the Common House

·       Plan of action for permanently affordable homes

·       Creating a calendar for marketing this season

Looking forward to seeing you all at the member meeting! RSVP if you can, so we can anticipate numbers.  

Congratulations to us for a successful grant application!

Thanks to the efforts of Sam and Eli, we (along with Addison County Community Trust) have received a $3000 grant from the Walter Cerf Foundation to help us subsidize up to two permanently affordable housing units in our development.  This is a really important vote of confidence, and a good start to our campaign. We hope to leverage this with additional funds from our neighbors and supporters. If you are interested in making a donation (or know others we should approach), please contact Jim: If you or someone you know might be interested in purchasing such a unit, talk to Jim as well.

Ribbon cutting ceremony

Last Saturday, members of our community and our construction team gathered on site for a momentous occasion – our ribbon cutting! We stood on the porch of the Common House, and our youngest member – Simon Donnelly – cut the ribbon. Then we took the gold shovels provided by Stewart Construction and posed for pictures (see the attached photos).The excavation had already begun, but whatever. Who says we have to follow a traditional timetable? Abundant cookies and a tour for interested neighbors followed. And curious passersby admired the sign provided by Stewart construction, with our site plan and names of our construction team.  It is a helpful guide to seeing what will one day grace our site!

Construction has begun!

Stewart Construction has made an amazing amount of progress in the last month – kudos to Aaron Stewart and onsite supervisor (and neighbor) Moe Rochon. Since our last newsletter, Brown’s Tree service has removed the trees that were growing where the septic system or homes would be located. Our landscape architect, Katie Raycroft-Meyer, valiantly reworked our site plan to guarantee that we could save as many trees as possible, and is working with an arborist to make sure that the trees that remain will survive for years to come.

With obstacles cleared out of the way, Masterson Excavation, another local firm, went to work. As of last Wednesday, they have excavated the building sites for 14 North St, and the North and South Cottages. Footings for the foundations of the North Cottage and 14 North are now in place. Meanwhile, a team on site has been constructing the panels and framing for all of the buildings, so the new homes should be enclosed quite quickly once construction starts. It is amazing to see how efficiently our team is working.

Interior demolition has begun on 8 North Street – the outside walls have been stripped on the inside to the studs. We now know why the building was so cold in winter – in some places, the only exterior walls were the clapboards, and some of these walls have large gaps to the outside. The plan now is to insulate and seal the building, with the hopes of qualifying for Efficiency Vermont’s ZEN program. We are ordering Marvin triple glazed replacement windows, so that this federal-style house will retain its original appearance from the outside.

The next step will be shoring up the front wall of 12 North St, so that the rest of the building can be demolished in two weeks. It will then be entirely rebuilt to high performance standards, with a brand-new improved look.

The property is now surrounded by fencing, to minimize interference with construction workers. If you would like a tour or to visit the site, it’s best to contact Jim to make arrangements. 

We have closed on our construction loan!

We know this is like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – our process has been a bit backward, but hey, it’s all worked for us. Instead of starting with the construction loan closing, then the ground-breaking, then the construction – we just reversed the order. No harm, no foul.

So this past Wednesday, after much heavy lifting by our attorney Liam Murphy and creative problem-solving by our Northfield Savings Bank contact Wright Preston, we signed a three foot tall stack of papers, and closed the deal! This is a huge milestone – despite our aching signing hands, we have much cause for celebration. With funding secured, our construction team can now rest assured we can pay for this project. We think that makes their work days a little brighter. 

Permits and legal documents

We have received all of our local building permits for the cottages and 14 North St – all that was necessary. Thanks to Zoning Administrator Eric Forand for getting these to us despite the time pressure.

We have gotten the Department of Fire Safety permits for 12 and 14 North St, and expect the permit for 8 North St next week.  Our wonderful, flexible and creative architect Jean Terwilliger is putting the final touches on the DFS application for 16 North St. A tour by the fire marshal has helped us preserve the historical integrity of this building despite the change in use.

Our engineer Dean Grover has applied for the amended state permits for water and wastewater, and these are now on the reviewers’ desks, with action hopefully soon.

We have distributed copies of the purchase and sales agreements to those members who have reserved units, which they will review with their attorneys.  We are looking forward to receiving signed copies and additional deposits by October 1. If you are interested in purchasing one of the remaining units, please contact Jim for a tour and a list of available units.

That is all for now. Looking forward to seeing those who can be there on Sunday! 

Peg and Jim


Bristol Village Cohousing


 Our youngest BVCH member Simon cuts the ribbon flanked by other members and our support team.

Our youngest BVCH member Simon cuts the ribbon flanked by other members and our support team.