Dec 27, 2020 community meeting
What we thought of the property
Freedom: I’m new, just seeing what’s going on so I don’t have much to say yet.
Alison recalled her time helping found Kripalu and the joys and chaos of community she experienced from that time.
Christiana: What a gorgeous piece of property! I was a part of a group in New Jersey that bought pieces of land like this to prevent developers from destroy rural areas. I’m completely excited and in support of the community doing this.
Judy Fox: I don’t have a reaction, I’m not in the property group at this point, but still very involved in the community.
Susan: A very beautiful property! Friends of mine live just up the road. We met with him to ease his mind. They’re “interested” in what’s going on 100 feet down the road from their house.
I have a friend who wonders if there’s a property that’s not as expensive, without houses. Because of the big renovation costs. She’s looking at properties that might be more suitable. I want to help as much as possible.
Rod answers: we researched a few pieces of property. Whatever we buy, we’re looking at a substantial price tag. We may need to section off a big piece into viable lots so more people could live on this piece of land.
Barney answers: There are currently under 10 properties with a lot of land...there’s almost nothing. We totally looked at raw land and (new-structure) building though we’ve always liked the idea of having some structures. To get this much land would cost $500,000. So our working assumption is the buildings are worth $300,000.
Uli answers: This is very early days, we’ve just made an offer. We always have feelers out; if you hear of anything, let us know. We’re not set on anything. Exploring all possibilities.
One reason we’re secure with this piece is we could sell enough of it, say six lots, to help with the financial burden if we end up needing it.
Rasmani: It’s quite lovely. It would take a lot to make the house and barn livable. It would be good to save it because of the history (as a dairy farm). I’d love to know more at some point about the consultants you’re talking with.
Because of my health crisis this year, I’m not sure when or if I could move.
Alison: It’s a beautiful property, I love the location. I perked up with news of Michael Johnson and his wife. They’re so far ahead of thinking in this (community) way.
First, thank you for forging ahead. Not a lot of people but that’s a lot of groundwork you’ve done. Questions: If you did do lots and I could join in, would you do individual wells or...?
Rod answers: it’s a bit early to answer that. But we are thinking in terms of clustering; keeping as much land open with a small, central community dwelling presence. Once we know we have a property, we’ll look for an architect.
Alison: I imagine there’s clean water there?
Barney answers: The current water source is a spring, that has to be part of our due diligence before we go to contract. There are rules for number of bedrooms that a well can be common for, then it becomes a municipal facility, which is another whole (regulatory) animal which we do not want. Same with septic; there are laws for all this, for example: 25 bedrooms/10 houses max on one septic system.
Tomma: I just want to say I’m really excited about the land. I love the location, quietness, its adjunct to pure nature forever as far as we know, that’s just incredible to me. And not far from G.B. is incredible. Whether we stay in our home here or move there, I’m super excited. It will be so gorgeous.
Jim: I love it. It’s good to see the process moving forward with a concrete piece of land to visualize living on. It will teach us a great deal, whether we buy it or something else down the road. I’m thinking about Yurt summer rentals on clearings up on the wooded hillside. Geodesic greenhouses to grow food year round. Exciting.
Cate Tower: Being a relatively new member myself, my reaction is a bit different: I’ve been in groups exploring community. The process of this property group following the sociocratic model is incredibly impressive. Whether this piece works out or not, the inclusivity and respectfulness you’ve shown is very reassuring. It’s the first time I’ve gotten to experience a concrete huge decision here. So many different ideas being shared, very rewarding to me.
All I can say is I stood in the middle of it and felt the possibilities. It’s amazing. It’s ancient Mohican land. The native energy is there. And there's state forest land all around. A fruit orchard. Trails. The possibilities are popping out of our ears! A tree house village! Or yurt village!
Susan: We brought Native Americans to this piece of land in 2006. It would be good to have it stay true to the natural environment.
Cate Wolff: I’m so impressed with the amount of work everybody has done. The land looks so beautiful. I noticed my heart leaping a little bit. It’s protected, so natural.
A question: re affordability, would it be possible to be part of a large community house and help take care of that space? Treehouses, yurts, tiny houses, the vision is incredible. I’m excited to even have a little involvement in this beautiful community.
Sarah: The land looks amazing. Having that much land is a tremendous resource. Also it’s close to GB and support things. One thing I wonder: it will require money for infrastructure, roads, water, wells, a long term big project to take on. It’s exciting. I have a background in architecture, city and site planning, I can see the beautiful possibilities there.
Aruni: I feel really blessed to just be here. I’m awed by the amounts of effort and work and the giant vision, and the willingness to make it real. It’s an inspiring conversation, I’m honored and privileged to be part of the work that will take. The land looks beautiful.
Judy G: I must say that just in this circling reaction round, I can feel the energy bulding. I love just seeing the property, started to get excited. A very beautiful property, beautiful people, it has a vibration to it. The energy of the land, and the sense of what may have happened in the past on that property. A vibration of excitement as each person speaks. A real lift this morning. This momentum of having a property to imagine with really means something. A shift in my consciousness, thank you all.
Eileen: I’m also a newbie, thrilled to be part of the conversation. Wow is all I gotta say. I think it’s brilliant there’s a building on the property. Thrilled to know about all the possibilities. We’re entering a whole new world and here we are talking about this amazing place.
Wren: Facilitating this morning is quite an experience. It’s a very scary thing to put in an offer. None of us are all that wealthy. It’s a leap, an act of faith, been trying not to let myself get too attached to this yet. It’s very moving to hear everyone’s responses.
So before we move on, do the members of the property group have anything to add?
Rod: Briefly, we have really considered the concept of creating a living space in the existing building. It’s great to hear from everybody, it gives us a boost.
Wren: I would like to see myself in the community house with other people. I don’t necessarily want to be in my own little house. I would prefer to be with other people.
Barney: That’s a good segue for understanding that there’s a variety of housing possible. There are equity members with a little bit of money to pull this off. Big houses too, rentals. There have to be variety of housing possibilities. How do we accommodate and develop these different needs and desires for living?
And a real world thing: we don’t even know if we’re under contact yet. There’s a three month due diligence period to know whether the town will let us do anything close to what we imagine.
There’s legal frontage for six lots: we decided on six dwellings with a rental are not enough. We will need many more people to make it financially feasible. So we’ll need to apply (to local government) for variances. That makes it more of a process, if not a crap shoot.
Wren: The area where the property is doesn’t have enough affordable housing. One of our consultants is an expert in that.
Uli: If the offer is accepted, the next three months will be very very busy. Anyone interested in helping us research, please let us know.
Christiana: I was part of a non-profit organiation in NJ that I founded, we were a group of women doing exactly that. I’m familiar with low income housing laws. I imagine you’d be offering low income housing to the town. That would help fend off any developers from breaking the zoning.
Developers are looking for places in this time of covid. People over 60 or 65 who want to share a house, that counts as six in an affordable housing unit: one house with 5 bedrooms. What I’m saying is: we have a very powerful bargaining chip. Zoning boards don’t want people to change the character of an area. You have a huge leverage point in your favor.
TOMMA’S GUIDED VISION MEDITATION
Cate Wolff: Thank you, that was really beautiful! It touched many places for me. I’ve been living alone for 11 years. In my deepest heart, I’ve always wanted to live in community.
This journey you took us on, I could feel myself as part of a large circle, looking around at a country table filled with food and goodies we all contributed to, feeling a part of something much larger than myself. Looking at my astrological chart lately, a theme comes up: preparing myself for being part of something larger.
I was awestruck, felt open and excited for the next steps, thank you so much.
Alison: I was moved to tears. I do the vulnerability part really well, I’m glad you spoke to truth. I have touched base with the community, wanted to be more a part of it, but had challenges in my own life, so I’m glad I came here today.
I’ve been invoking my tribe lately. Letting go of my blood family, feeling into the aloneness, facing it directly, not letting it be “lonely”. Feeling the power of being alone, facing it head on.
And I’ve been asking for a tribe I can resonate with well. What you guided us through Tomma, I really felt that sense here. As a group this feels like a tribe. I feel myself, trust myself to be truthful down to the core, to face my shadow, to be vulnerable.
Caring and compassion in feedback is important. Losing the fear of loss, that spoke to me.
I love my little house, my neighbors, there’s a great connection there. But I’m missing community together. I love that we built everything in Kripalu, like the communal garden, where everybody had a 12'x12' plot, it was companion gardening. Oh boy, maybe I’m not out here in the wilderness, maybe what I’ve been calling for really is out there as a possibility,
Aruni: I appreciated the sequence of how you took us from place to place. I too needed that last piece of letting go of fear of loss. I haven’t understood until now that I’m an introvert and I need my own space. I never really knew that.
I believe in miracles totally. I believe I could have it all: alone space and alone time to just be with me, and to be with people too. What am I saying? I feel inspired, and know that I need my own living space. A wonderful moment to know that that also includes being in a group.
Eileen: Thank you Tomma, that was wonderful. What to say? I have this beautiful home, I love G.B. I’m in my house just for the holidays, I rent it out the rest of the year. My brother came up to visit. There are lots of good things here: land, solar power, lots of space. But there is something about eating together, being on the land; I’m drawn to something else. When you said loss, maybe I will let go of this house, I also need my space but love being around others. I feel we’re evolving as a humanity, new birth, new times, new movement, coming together in a beatuful way. It’s amazing timing. I feel very connected to everyone here. We’ll see what happens.
Cate Tower: Thank you Tomma, I enjoyed the opportunity. Interesting: I found myself going way back to being a young girl, one of seven children, always lots of people around. That didn’t always mean authenticity, but rather expectancy. I’d escape a lot. I was always looking for something on the other side of the mountain. I’ve created many places in my time, always in search of community, but creating space is not the same as creating community. I can hold other’s vulnerability, but being a part of something rather than being its head or a component.
I love the idea of retreating to a “mountain cave” now and then. Then coming back together over a cup of coffee, weeding in a garden, a walk in the woods, canning together; shared joy. That’s incredibly appealing to me.
The term is overused, and underrated: authenticity. It’s truly challenging. I’m impressed and humbled by what’s here in this group.
Sarah: My visions always include the earth, and soil. I’m deep into a huge vision package, doing a lot of writing, envisioning what my vision is of the future that I want. I let go of words, go into dreaming place. All this massively beautiful world with all of you, brings me to tears.
Jim: I saw us all sitting around a big table in the center of a large geodesic dome, having dinner. That’s one of my greatest joys in life: to sit with others and share a meal and our experiences of life.
Freedom: Meditation brings up things I don’t often think about: trust, and vulnerability, so beautiful and important. Not much more to say than I was touched to be part of this intimate gathering. Thanks for welcoming me. Just put my name on the mailing list.
Christiana: Much love to all, grateful to you. I will do some research.
Th-th-that's all folks!