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  • What will it look like?
    This is up to the community! The zoning has been changed so we know that we will have 2 buildings. One smaller building will have 3 units. The larger L-Shaped building will have 21 units and a Common House. The Common House will be 3000+ square feet (or so) and the units will be approximately 500-1200 square feet. We are in the process of contracting with consultants and architects to work with us on the final designs that will fulfill the zoning, site plan requirements and needs for the community. The community will decide together all the amenities in the Common House and ultimately how it will look.
  • What is a Common House?
    The Common House is space for individual and shared community activities. It is an essential location and the central node or place for gathering together and building community. It's in the act of coming together, socializing and saying "hello" that keeps the community together and thriving. It provides spaces that the community decides and creates together.
  • What is in the Common House?
    The Common House will include shared spaces and amenities that we all work together to choose. Some of the amenities we've been discussing include a commercial kitchen and pantry, guest room, shared laundry, children's play space, workshops, meeting rooms, multipurpose shared activity spaces, fireside lounge, yoga/exercise rooms, library, music rooms, bike storage and more....
  • What is a development corporation used for?
    The development corporation will be responsibility of completing the municipal approvals process, arranging for construction financing, hiring a Tarion-certified vendor/builder/general contractor for the build and monitoring work progress through the services of a site supervisor and a quantity surveyor. Members of the development corporation will be members planning to live in the community.
  • When will units be available?
    The finalized rezoning application was unanimously approved by Guelph City Council in February 14, 2023. We are currently in the site plan approval and detail design stage. We are hoping to break ground and start construction in the spring of 2025, with occupancy in 2026.
  • Will I have my own kitchen?
    Yes. All units are fully self-contained. On top of that, you have access to all the shared amenities.
  • How much time is an individual expected to give to the community?
    There is always lots to do in community, from book keeping, to Common House cleaning, small repairs, outdoor work, projects and more.... Everyone donates time to ensure that these tasks get done. It's all part of living in cohousing just like they things must get done in a detached home, only in cohousing you will have others to share and do the work with.
  • Can I have a garden?
    The backyard has large treed native plant gardens that are over 20 years old. These will remain but will continue to be developed by the community. There are also areas now used for small fruits, herbs and vegetables and the community will decide how these will be used in the future.
  • What about parking?
    Most households will have access to one parking space. We plan to have on-site car share. The parking lot will be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. There will also be a bicycle parking.
  • Who is cohousing good for?
    Cohousing is good for everyone: Children Single Adults Single Parents Couples Families Seniors Cohousing helps fight loneliness, it creates healthy communities, it provides a bridge between generations, offers built-in child care providers and helping hands. Cohousing enhances lives and creates an extension of your family.
  • Does GrassRoutes Cohousing have a religious or political affiliation?
    No as a group there is no political or religious affiliation. But each individual is welcome to have their own religious or political believes. Our work on this project is informed by progressive environmental and shared social values. We see strength in our diversity and support and celebrate each other's beliefs.
  • Is GrassRoutes Cohousing a commune?
    No. Residence of communes generally share their income. This is not the case with GrassRoutes Cohousing. The units are privately owned, and we do not have a shared income.
  • Will I have private space and time?
    Certainly! Many people who are drawn to cohousing are introverts who value their alone time but still wish to live in community. Each unit is separate and private and the community will respect each others privacy.
  • Are there shared meals and how do they work?
    GrassRoutes Cohousing have always eaten well together. We have some wonderful cooks in our group. We have been discussing using the Common House commercial kitchen to create shared meals once we are built. In the meantime, we've been having yummy potlucks. No one will be required to participate in shared meals, but we hope to have them available on a regular basis for those who do want to. These meals are an opportunity to stay connected with each other and chat informally. All community meals will respect individual dietary preferences and needs.
  • Will pets be welcome?
    Yes, pets will be allowed subject to community decisions regarding how they are managed.
  • Will GrassRoutes Cohousing welcome diversity?
    GrassRoutes Cohousing envisions a community that is made up of people from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, abilities, religious affiliations, identities and life experiences. The building is designed with accessibility in mind.
  • How much will a unit cost?
    At this time, this is only an estimate. We are working with our professionals (engineers, architects, consultants, etc…) to guide us and keep us to a budget. The reality is, COVID has affected the cost of construction. We are aiming for very green technologies which will help the on-going costs. But green technologies will also affect the prices of the units. We will be working with a Quantity Surveyor who will be able to give us a more exact look at the costs of items and the cost benefit analysis for its use long-term. Basically is it worth a higher initial cost for the long-term savings. When purchasing a unit in GrassRoutes Cohousing, you are not only purchasing an individual unit, you are also purchasing the Common House and common spaces, amenities and shared resources. When you build in cohousing, you can have a smaller house because the common areas provide and extension to your home. It’s not like buying a condo with a shared "community room”, it’s buying a condo with a huge (1000’s of square feet common areas) that is a vibrant, active, inviting space that’s part of your home to be used as we all decide as a community. Becoming a part of GrassRoutes Cohousing now, means that you have a say in the design and use of the spaces, both your own unit and shared spaces. All that being said, our current estimates are that units will be similar to the cost of a house in Guelph. We think the range will be from $500,000 to $1.2 million with the average being $800,000.
  • What are the ongoing shared costs?
    The ongoing costs are decided by the community. Just like there is a condo fee for the traditional condo complex, we will have a shared monthly fee, however, we will decide it together (it’s not a condo board deciding it for us). There will be certain fixed costs such as taxes, shared utilities, emergency contingency funds, snow removal, shared wifi, whatever we decide.
  • What are the finances?
    Each household will purchase their own home. If a mortgage is needed, each household must qualify for their mortgage and may choose their personal mortgage based on the advice of their mortgage professional. Please contact your mortgage professional to determine your mortgage qualification limits.
  • Can I rent?
    Our community would love there to be rentals, but we are still determining if we can afford to make that happen. At the moment we must build the physical community. This costs money. We are constantly researching and looking for alternative ways to raise money including grants, loans, CMHC funding, investors and anything else we can think of. However the reality is, that before there can be rental units, all the units have to be built and sold to someone.
  • What is the legal structure of GrassRoutes Cohousing?
    GrassRoutes currently is a Cooperative Corporation so that we can do business together. We are in the process of creating a Development Corporation so we can build together. When we obtain our certificate of occupancy, we will create a Condo Corporation so we can live together. The Condo Corporation will be governed by the members who live at GrassRoutes Cohousing rather than an outside management company. The Condo Corp articles of incorporation and bylaws will be worded in a manner that assures that we use the cohousing principles including sociocratic decision making.
  • Community Building
    GrassRoutes Cohousing values are based on working cooperatively. We will work together to create this community, both in terms of the physical building under construction, and the social community with our connections.
  • Decision Making (Sociocracy)
    GrassRoutes Cohousing will succeed and thrive based on member participation and making decisions together using sociocarcy. Each person chooses the area they would like to participate in. The areas of responsibilities, where the work gets done, are divided up into Circles (which are similar to committees). Our circles can be found here. Consent based Decision Making Sociocracy is a cooperative process in which we use non-violent communication to seek to understand each other, or a problem and then develop a proposal and agree to support the decision that is either within our preference or range of tolerance. Decisions are based on the best interest for the whole group, not based on personal preference. "Is it good enough for now, is it safe enough to try." We revisit decisions in a certain timeframe and possibly make changes to it based on feedback.
  • Are there advantages to joining early?
    Yes. Joining sooner allows you to have a say in both the social and physical design of the community. Social Design: You will be part of a circle which will create the policies, guidelines and social structures for the community to follow. Physical Design: You will be part of the Design Charettes that will determine what will be in the common spaces and how your unit will look. Joining sooner will assure you the opportunity to purchase a unit.
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