Bristol Cohousing Update

Hi Cohousers and friends:

Yesterday, Bristol resident and UVM faculty member Kelly Hamshaw brought her 28 students in her housing and community development class to Bristol Cohousing to see what we were up to. We talked, of course, about the advantages of cohousing and energy-efficient homes, and showed them around several of our units. Best of all, two of the students had been to our site before – one a student who had come last May, when the project was just a glint in our eyes. The other was Katchen McElwain, who grew up in 16 North St, way back before it became our Common House. Both of them seemed pleased with the results they saw – our almost finished project. That was deeply satisfying!

On another, unrelated issue, take note that …

… our next Member Meeting will take place on Sunday, May 7 from 1 – 4 pm at 16 North Street (the future Common House). This time, we will be meeting in the kitchen to take advantage of the mountain views and abundant light. So please plan to enter through the side door off the porte-cochere.

Here is the agenda for Sunday’s meeting:

Public portion

·       Introductions

·       Accept minutes

·       Updates (members, construction)

·       Questions from guests

Owner-only portion

·       Storage in the 8 North basement

·       Plans for the barns

·       Questions about the closings

·       Condo declaration discussion

·       Rental of one of our units

·       Common House usage

·       Garden brainstorm

·       National co-housing meeting – what would we like to ask?

For those interested in a tour, please contact Jim at (802) 734-0798, or to give him a heads up. He stands ready to show you around at noon, before the meeting.

Selling like hot cakes?

We are delighted to welcome our two newest members, Don Miller and Penny Klein, now of Essex VT. They plan to purchase the first floor unit on the east side of 14 North St. As a woodworker (Don) and landscaper (Penny), they bring many useful skills to our community.  

We have one other family who has made a member deposit and another planning to sign the purchase and sales agreement next week (if all goes well). That would leave us with three unsold units, one of which is designated as permanently affordable.

Jim and Peg will be going to the National Cohousing Conference later this month, a good place to connect with fellow cohousing enthusiasts. If all of our units are not sold by that time, we imagine that we will encounter potential buyers at that forum.

So if you are interested in becoming a member of our community, please let us know or come tour our facility soon! The person to contact:  Jim. He’s available to discuss details and make arrangements for a tour.

A former flatlander reflects on Bristol

We often think about what Bristol must feel like for Maura and her 6 year old son Simon, who moved here in August from Brooklyn as our first cohousing residents. Because the changeover from winter to spring is such a heady experience (even for us jaded, long-time Vermonters), imagine how former city-slickers must experience the wonder! Here is a report from Maura about their first spring in their new home:

We have been to Watershed Park a few times, but not recently. It is lovely. Simon and I are planning on a hike of some kind this weekend. I am in love with the shading of the mountain these days.  I have had plenty of experiences with fall foliage, but the brown-yellow-bright green- dark green happening on the mountain right now is gorgeous and a whole new experience for me.  I love gazing at it in the mornings on the walk to school.

We’re looking forward to sharing the view of Bristol Cliffs and the surrounding mountains with the other cohousing families in a few weeks’ time! 

 What’s new?

We were amazed that upon visit yesterday to see drywall and exterior insulation going up in 12 North St, our last building to be completed. Some of the cottages have already had bathroom and kitchen fixtures installed. We have sinks with running water! Appliances will be coming on site beginning next week.

Meanwhile, a sprinkler system is being installed in 16 North St. This fire prevention measure will enable us to preserve some of the historic features in the building that would have had to be modified under current building codes.

Outside, the site work is beginning to take shape, as rough grading proceeds. Decks, screened porches and exterior railings have made the building exteriors “pop”. Solar panels are now on most of the roofs. Looking ahead, planting of the cedar hedge is due to start next week, and installation of the stone patios the week following.

We have begun to plan for the final punch-list walk-throughs, with state inspections for our certificates of occupancy scheduled for May 30. We are frantically gathering necessary paperwork for the closings, due to happen in early June!

With all this activity, we are looking forward to calmer days, sitting on our front porches after move in, staring out at the mountains and nearby village shops, awaiting the call to dinner in the Common House.

That’s it for now – hope to see you all on Sunday!

Peg and Jim