A few weeks ago we opened Associate Membership in Heartwood's Phase 2 and the response has been great, overwhelming really. There are a lot of people out there looking for a better life in community, and more specifically, a life here at Heartwood. We now have 14 Associate Member households. Thank you everyone who signed up. You are critical to the success of Phase 2. In cohousing development, it's not, "Build it and they will come.", it's, "Find out if they will come and then build it." – much less risk for everyone involved.
If you missed the big Associate Membership rollout, don't despair. Once Full Membership opens up and the $12,000 non-refundable deposit is required, there will certainly be some turnover. If you are seriously interested, I'd strongly encourage you to get in the Phase 2 queue by becoming an Associate Member. Chances are there will be room for you. Click here for info on becoming an Associate Member.
As you know from my previous updates, collaborating with the County to obtain our necessary approvals is critical to the success of Phase 2. I've been meeting regularly with the La Plata County Planning Department and have completed their Feasibility Evaluation process. The results of that process look promising with seemingly no insurmountable obstacles in our path.
One of the obstacles that we do face, but which we should be able to overcome, is to increase the density allowed on our land. Currently only 12 more lots would be allowed, but we'd like to possibly create 14 Phase 2 lots plus lots to allow for possible future farm housing. To increase the density, we need to amend the district map, which means submitting our amendment application by the August 1 deadline to then be considered during an October hearing. It's a slow process, but the Planning Department staff has given me confidence that we will be able to successfully amend the map.
Simultaneous with amending the map, we will be applying for Conceptual Development Plan (CDP) approval with the County. I am currently working to prepare those two applications (map amendment and CDP).
A necessary part of those applications is to request a specific number of lots near our cohousing cluster (cluster lots), a specific number of farm housing lots, and also possibly a specific number of lots down in the pasture (pasture lots). The cluster lots would be very similar to our existing lots, would be part of the Heartwood Cohousing community, and would share all of our community land and amenities. The possible pasture lots would be 3 to 5 acres each and would not be part of the community nor share our land and amenities. They would simply be new neighbors. One of the advantages of selling pasture lots would be to reduce the amount of pasture acreage we are responsible for stewarding. We have found stewarding pastureland to be quite a lot of work and we are committed to doing it the right way through organic farming practices. The other advantage of pasture lots is that they could make the whole Phase 2 development more economically feasible and potentially reduce the number of new households that we would add to the community.
We have begun working within our community to decide how many households we may want to add to the community and whether we may want to develop pasture lots. As you can imagine, Phase 2 represents very big changes for us and those changes have come with some growing pains. We have grown to love our community as it is now, but we have also known all along that we need to develop Phase 2 in order to finally pay for all of our land. Additionally, we have come to appreciate the work and money needed to maintain our community and recognize that more hands will make for lighter work. And finally, our faith in cohousing's potential to affect positive change in a world which desperately needs more connection and community has only become stronger. Creating Phase 2 will allow more people to live in community and increase our impact in the world.
Besides government approvals, the other critical piece in the development of P2 is marketing. The success with P2 Associate Membership is the big news on that front, but we have also been busy getting our 4th Friday Potlucks rolling. You've probably seen the email invitations that I've sent. Although we hold happy hours and potlucks every Friday, we are dedicating the 4th Friday of every month to reaching out to the larger community to invite them over to share a meal and get a feel for what we are all about.
The Path Ahead
I will continue to focus primarily on County approval and marketing. Additionally, this week I will be jumping on a plane to go to Portland, Oregon for the National Cohousing Conference. I hope to learn about current best practices in both developing and living in cohousing and to spread the word about Heartwood Cohousing. If you will be there, please let me know and we can meet up.
I've had several people reply to these updates with questions. That's fantastic. I try to cover what I think is important, but obviously I can only share so much and often leave questions unanswered. Based on some of the questions I've received, I've created a Frequently Asked Questions section on the Phase 2 page on our website. If you have any questions, please check out that page and if you don't find your answer there, reply to this email and let me know. I'll get you an answer as soon as I get back from Portland.
Another big event in our future is our annual fall community campout to Canyonlands National Park. This year's campout is happening from October 17 - 20. One of the great things about living in Southwest Colorado is our proximity to the vast red rock canyon country of Southeast Utah. It is truly one of the natural wonders of the world. If you would like to join the campout to get to know Heartwood community members and have fun hiking and relaxing in the desert, please let me know and I'll reserve your spot. We share the camping fees, which usually work out to be about $12 per person for the weekend. (See photos below.)
Yours in Community,
Phase 2 Project Manager