SOME HISTORY OF OUR COHOUSING EFFORTS
In 2019, several Raleigh-area people began meeting together to explore the idea of cohousing. All shared a commitment to inclusiveness and social justice and had ties to various area organizations and projects. We met regularly to develop common principles to guide our group and explore options for possible locations and design.
Initially, the focus was to find land close to Raleigh because of the members’ jobs and involvement in local activities. We considered a traditional cohousing model – small clustered individual homes with similar design, group space and a common house, community meals and activities, etc. An LLC organization was formed in July 2020 and 9 households (17 individuals) became initial members with hopes of attracting an additional diverse membership.
As it became apparent affordable land for this kind of project could not be found in Raleigh, the group began exploring other options outside Raleigh but still inside Wake County. We then started to actively pursue options specifically in Wendell, a growing community 15-20 minutes from Raleigh which was adding amenities that many in our groups desired. Being outside Raleigh also made it more affordable.
When a large tract of [largely] undeveloped land in Wendell (19 acres with 2 existing homes) came on the market in March 2021, a couple in the group purchased it, and our focus shifted to this new opportunity. This couple moved into one of the homes in June 2021 and is acting as “developer.” Another member purchased and renovated the second home and moved in early in October 2021. The rest of the group continues to be involved in decision making and the work of making this the future home of our cohousing community. Site plans to subdivide the land into ~12 lots (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C7t2xx81AE_DrqNA9sLvPo0r6iFvY49Z/view?usp=sharing) have been filed with the town and an engineering firm engaged for the detailed site preparation has been retained. While timing is not firm, the expectation is the development plan will be approved and lots available for purchase in the summer of 2022 and anticipated occupying homes in early 2023. Given the parcel of land is located on Acorn Creek Lane (and us nearly its sole occupant), the group decided Acorn Creek Community would be a fitting (and logical) name for the cohousing group.
NEXT STEPS IF YOU HAVE INTEREST IN LEARNING MORE…
Interested individuals/couples/families will initially be invited to social activities, then to attend monthly business meetings (as an observer.) We expect to use the Fall of 2021 and early 2022 to meet these “explorers” (beyond the “core group” of 9 households) to get to know one another. To this end, we’ll prioritize time in fall 2021 through spring 2022 for social times together for “explorers” to get to know us, and us them.
We will have 11-12 lots making up Acorn Creek Community. Given the current committed core group of 9, we are likely open to adding 2-3 new member households to the community. Finding good mutual matches to our values and “group dynamics” will be central to our Membership Committee’s charter.
The steps to this process include:
STEP 1 – After expressing interest, you will meet with a member of the Membership committee to better understand the process, our vision & values, and to answer any early questions you may have.
STEP 2 – You will be invited to join the group for social activities in a variety of settings. This may include hybrid events such as zoom game nights, as a way to involve households from a distance. Again, a critical part of the process is that we find numerous ways for you to get to know us, and us you. We recognize the difficulty in participating in activities from a distance and encourage scheduling a 2-3 day visit to the area in order to meet with Acorn Creek folk in person. You’ll be given the opportunity to fill out a profile to provide a little further information about you and we will share profiles from our current members.
STEP 3 – After at least two social gatherings you may be invited to join portions of our business meetings (as an observer). If you are out of town, we may schedule a hybrid meeting so you could join us via zoom. In addition, this would be a good meeting for you to attend during an in-person visit to Acorn Creek.
STEP 4 – After those meetings have taken place, the membership committee will talk with the current members to discern if everyone has had a sufficient opportunity to get to know each other. If not, we will set up meetings with you and those from Acorn Creek who would like a more focused opportunity to make your acquaintance.
STEP 5 – After at least four months, if you are interested in seeking membership, you should contact the membership committee to express formal interest in becoming part of Acorn Creek through the purchase of a lot and building a home. At that time, you will meet again with the Membership Committee where both groups will be focused on “is this a good fit for both you and Acorn Creek Community?”
STEP 6 – The Membership committee will make a recommendation to the full community (members) for ratification. (Depending on interest, some may be encouraged to consider being placed on a wait list until a lot in the future becomes available.)
Your next step, if interested, is emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate your desire in starting this important time of mutual learning and exploration.
Some basic Q&A
How large will the community be? – The proposed site plan includes 10-11 lots arranged close together in a horseshoe shape; these lots would be with city water and sewer. There is another larger lot utilizing well & septic a bit farther down the driveway. Most of the lots will be approximately 1/3 of an acre in size.
What is the expected price range of the homes? Preliminary estimates have the cost of joining the community (share of development costs – e.g., roads, water/sewer/electrical/cable connections) at approximately $145,000. This is preliminary as the engineering work is just beginning. Additional costs of each home’s construction will fluctuate depending on the lot chosen, building costs at the time, and the size and plan of the home members choose to build. We would expect final costs to be in the $350k+ range. (We are encouraging members to explore implementing some Accessory Development Units in our community in order to create some smaller homes that are more affordable. Zoning will allow them, but certainly this would be largely a decision of each member.)
What will be the ongoing costs after construction? The community will share the costs of upkeep of the roads, pond, and shared land. In 2022, we will form a homeowner’s association (HOA) to manage the common land, with expected monthly HOA dues of ~$50/month.
What is the nature of the land? The site is 19 acres including a pond. Most of the area is currently wooded, but there will be some clearing on ~4 acres to allow for home construction. The remaining 15 acres will remain undeveloped due to easements and other wetland restrictions. The site is adjacent to a school and a large and growing community (Wendell Falls), but there are land & tree buffers between our site and both of these developments. The location has easy access to Raleigh (~20 minutes.) There are plans for a large new county park near the site, and a satellite campus of Wake Medical Center is being planned. In Fall 2021 a Publix will open a 3-minute drive away, as well as Treelight Square, a small shopping area that should open in early 2022.
Are there any age or other restrictions in our cohousing community? All ages and “household arrangements” are welcome. Currently the core group of 9 households are in their late 50’s to late 60’s.
Will there be any Acorn Creek Community common space? There will be trails, gardens, and lots of green space for the community, as well as a circle of shared amenities, but not a dedicated common house per se. The existing house on the property is ideally suited to accommodate regular community meals, events, celebrations, etc. It will also serve as the home of one of our members.
Who are the people involved? See Member Profiles –
- Common House
- All units visitable
Welcomes Visitors (fee may apply)
- Common Meals
- Scheduled Tours
- Individual Tours
- Modified Consensus
- Optional participation