4/12/21 Zoom

The Survey

  1. Surveyor wants the trees marked by the arborist before finishing. (I just called him and told him to go forward)
  2. We had a Tree company ready to come out and mark the trees but he had personal problems and hasn’t come yet.
  3. Arborist wants the survey done first
  4. Surveyor is confused about boundaries
  5. Title company is working on the legal descriptions as documented
  6. Hillsborough County Appraiser wants the survey and all the title to revise the legal descriptions.

The Closing:

  • Charlie and Valerie might extend their stay a couple weeks. They will have a big estate sale, but maybe not till the middle of May. That might extend the closing. I’ll have to talk to the St. Marks Church
  • I need to know who wants money back and who would like to let the investment ride for the 12 months?

The Name, Mission and Vision

  • Keep thinking. Let’s try to figure it out by next Monday. Click here for the updated brainstorming name page.


Legal Documents

  • Send me your money
  • We need an attorney to explain what’s best
  • Draw up ownership docs
  • Draw up management docs: Richard will look at management docs from other communities on the web.
  • annexed by temple terrace (ask Engineers)


  • Once we have a name….
  • Website development… Marla is working on setting up a page for marketing with private links for members.
  • Publicize, spread the word

4/2/21 In Person Meeting at UUCT

  1. We met and discussed the offers on the table to sell all or a portion of our property to the St. Mark’s church. Our decision was to sell 11201 Davis Rd [minus the North 37 feet] to St. Mark’s for $260,000 to close on 4/14/2021. Marla sent an email to their Realtor, John Warner, and to the church leaders Mathew Verghese and Koshy Kurumthottickal. Mathew answered back on Saturday evening that their church had voted to accept our offer as written.
  2. Marla had redone the financial analysis of different land options and it was interesting to see that the final cost of completed homes did not differ significantly in any of the models. Here is a link to the file with estimated development costs. It did dramatically reduce our initial investment, and our cost of borrowing those funds for the 12 months, as $260,000 will be returned to the investors.
  3. The participants present voted to create a group of Members who would each make a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 into the Davis Rd Account to demonstrate their commitment to working toward developing the community. Non-members will be able to offer opinions and help in information gathering, but will not vote on decisions regarding how the money is spent, how the community will look, etc.
  4. Investors, interested parties, and non-members will still be informed about decisions made and the directions we are moving, but will not vote on the decisions affecting the future details of the development of the project.
  5. The original website, cohousingtampa.wordpress.com, will be used for advertising, marketing, reaching out, and keeping non-members informed of the progress of the project. A new website, or perhaps a password protected section of the current website, will be created to be be used for communication within the Member Group.

3/29/21 Zoom: sell Charlie’s

Important meeting Friday April at 11:00 at church. We have decisions to make!! Will we sell? Please come. Call Marla if you cannot be there in person.

  1. Check in
  2. The Email I sent 3/26/21

Today’s Bombshell News:

Carmen has decided she doesn’t want to sell right now, so her vacant 1.5 acres is not currently available.  St. Mark’s want’s Charlie’s land and house.  More land might become available in the future, but there’s no guarantee we could afford it with the rapidly rising prices in our area.  So, we need to decide if we want to build on Joe and Marla’s land (just under 3 acres) (sell Charlie’s to St. Marks) or keep Charlie’s land and not sell it to St. Marks (4.25 acres).  These are options 1 and 2 on the Financial options I wrote out on March 15.  Link here.  Think about it this weekend.  Call me if you have questions.  Please be ready to discuss and find a consensus on Monday.

In figuring out how our 3 acres would be arranged, this is an idea of how another community (Fair Oaks Ecohousing) arranged their houses.  Fair Oaks has 30 units from 834 to 1726sf  on 3.7 acres.  This is just an example… but it has grouped and connected houses around a central common area with park-and-walk apart from the houses.  If we are going to maximize the number of houses on the land, it would be along this concept.  Fair Oaks Ecovillage Site Plan
Here’s another neighborhood with detached houses: Danielson Grove.  They have 16 houses 651 – 1500 sf on 2.25 acres.  This website is from the Cottage Company that designs and builds “pocket neighborhoods”.  They’re all on the West coast, but give an idea of a compact community.  There are 9 communities shown on this website.
I highlight these websites to show that we can fit in more houses in our land than it seems at first glance.  
Lots to think about.

Just a doodle… each yellow house is abt 1000 sf. The blue are common buildings. Add a large gathering room onto the back of the Common House. 17 houses plus the common house. This is 6/acre. Parking and circle drive on Davis Road side. Access paths around the perimeter.

Monetary repercussions:

St Mark’s is flexible on when we close. They can wait until May 15. We can collect the rent in the mean time and move forward.

Investors whose funds are secured by the 11201 Davis will get paid off. We will still need some funds to get the project to development. I’ll try to get those $ estimates this week. I think as much as $50K will be needed to get it to the building point.

Pros and cons.

Consensus discussion of how to proceed.:

Consensus was not reached to sell the property. With only 1/2 of our members, we could not decide. It was suggested we explore selling only the front yard of the house to St. Marks. Marla will play with surveys and drawing lines to see if we might sell them the front yard, but keep the house and barn.


Other Business

2. A side note: the VA just announced they are building a new health facility at Davis Rd and TT Highway. Thank heavens we bought the land now. The value of our project will double again in a couple years.

Another side note: HIllsborough county voted last night to substantially increase the impact fees. Ouch. I wonder if we could get a reduction if we included affordable housing?

3. What about affordable housing? Who can research it? Is there funding so we could make a couple of the houses affordable? A bigger thought is to make this an affordable community forever… non-profit association…. limit profits? have extra profits returned to the Ownership Group. Sponsor immigrants. Help less fortunate.

4. The survey is ordered and scheduled for Tuesday morning (tomorrow). Who can be there to learn about the trees?

Tom and Jerry (haha) will be there to unload the concrete tables from Marla’s trailer into the church plaza and then label the trees as the surveyor marks them.

5. Sue and Roger and I are working on Mission and Vision statements. Also on a survey about what we want the project to look like and be focused on.

Our mission is to create, together, a great place to live together -where each resident feels respected, befriended, valued, and eager to contribute to the good of our community.

We shall pursue this mission by physical design, governance style, social activities, workgroups, neighborliness, and spiritual support. 

Our Vision for our community includes:.

  • a light footprint. ecologically sensitive / sustainable socially and environmentally connected
  • Individually owned, modest homes.
  • jointly owned common areas.
  • a neighborhood of 17 residences
  • diversity of ages, families, ethnicity,
  • handicapped accessible everywhere

4. The name game: new suggestion: Legacy Oaks, or Legacy Oak Village, or Legacy Oak Commons, Sacred Oaks,

5. It’s time for a survey to narrow in on the types and sizes and styles and people in our community. Here’s the beginning. Do you have any to add?

1. What category of “resident” do you plan to be at the Village? renter, landlord, resident owner -full-time, 9 month, 6 month)
2. If purchasing a unit, what is your budget range?
3. What size residence do you prefer?
4. With whom would you like to share this Village, as neighbors?
5. When do you anticipate wanting to move in?
6. How long do you plan to live at the Village?
7. Which values do you think should guide us in order for the Village to succeed?
8. Do you feel you have strong skills making decisions through consensus seeking?
9. Do you want to strengthen your skills in avoiding conflict and resolving differences respectfully?
10. For which kinds of work at the Village would you like to be involved in teamwork?
11. Which facilities would you like to share with your neighbors in the Common House and other areas?
12. What outdoor facilities would you like to share with your neighbors?

Do you want to live in a community like this?

3/22/2021: Zoom

  1. Survey ordered.
  2. Reactions /Results to Meeting with St Mark’s Church
    1. They want some of our land.
    2. Carmen’s land is key
    3. Suggestion: use Joe’s + Marla’s land to start plan on: possibly increase later
    4. Look at last zoom for financial analysis to see how the change in land changes our project
  3. Still looking for a name: Harmony Hideaway, Tampa Skylark / Commons, Hideaway Village, Community, Maybe not Hideaway…we’re not recluses nor a secret. Some spiritual connotation? Beacon? other words: Vision, Reflections, Emerson, source, Quest, view, global, reason,
  4. Sue M and Roger will work on mission and vision,
  5. What do we agree on? Each of us needs to think about what we want.
    1. size of community?
    2. cooperation with St Mark’s (we don’t have to)
    3. size of houses from anything goes to a predefined range of sizes
    4. amenities
    5. realities of Florida (frequent travelers) many of our members may be snowbirds
    6. cost
    7. affordability: one community owned house- could use for immigrant sponsors, shelter, emergency, intern at church, would be funded by rent or government agencies
  6. Conflict resolution and consensus. we need a covenant and to be aware of our interactions with each other and not-yet-members
  7. Roger will plan Co-housing presentation to do for St Marks, (and others) interested
  8. What I learned from books: important steps that cannot be skipped:
    1. Become a community… increase commitment… I will participate and help with planning.
      1. we need more people… we need to have a marketing, outreach plan, see zoom 3/11. This is really important
      2. work together … divide up the tasks… small teams to handle small tasks
    2. Physical land and building … many details ongoing..
    3. If #1 doesn’t happen, we can still build a housing development, but it won’t become a values based co-housing community.
  9. Future zooms: check in and check out time reserved each meeting. Each person has the time to speak or be given the time to gather and share thoughts without interruption.
  10. Goals for next week:
    1. Answers about land from Carmen, talk to Linda and Tommy about future purchase
    2. Survey of our shared vision
    3. Finish land clearing, get survey, mark trees
    4. Preliminary legal discussions for ownership and development: Marla call Pamela-Jo
    5. Name: keep brainstorming
    6. John Bunch new community
    7. Suggestion: St. Marks limit offer to specific time. We come in behind them.
  11. Great meeting folks. How do we get the rest of the gang to be here weekly?
  12. Other info: John Bunch forming new community near Hillsborough river

Email 3/15/21 Property cost calculations

Hi community,
Thus far, I have 7 people who have said they want to go to the meet and greet at St Mark’s Marthoma Church on Sunday at 12:30: Tom, Marla, Roger, Candy, Russ, Jerry, & Ruth.  If you can make it at the last minute, join us.  We will meet at our church at 12:15 to discuss our strategy and walk to the other church by 12:30. 

I ran some numbers (4 options below) to see what it would mean if we build what we have, sell Charlie’s house to St. Mark’s Church and/or we acquired Carmen’s parcel.  The full calculations are available on the website link to the Google Doc Development Costs (also linked from the 3/15/21 Zoom minutes).  

The three numbers I look at most closely are the total number of units we build (Actually the total number of units we need to sell to make the deal work), the number of common houses we will have and our unit purchase costs.  From my reading, the optimum size for a community is around 15-18 units with 1 common house.  If we have more common houses and more units, I think we’ll have to work harder to not be a divided neighborhood and lose the closeness we are looking for.  And, putting the parking on Charlie’s lot means some of the houses will be a long way from the parking area.  

To keep it affordable, we want to reduce the unit cost because there are many many other expenses to add to each house… +water, sewer, driveway, & parking development, +architect fees, +rezoning fees + impact fees, +hook up fees +???, … and then we add the construction costs of building our housing units.  

So, to summarize the 4 options we might have to consider: (The Red text is building at 4 units per acre.  The Blue text is building at 6 units per acre.)

Option 1. We build on our 3 current parcels = 4.25 acres. 

 If we build 4 units/acre, (build 16 units with 2 common houses) our unit purchase costs are  $37,500.

If we build 6 units/acre, (build 23 units with 2 common houses) our unit purchase costs are  $26,100.
This is our starting point for analysis.

Option 2. If we sell them Charlie’s house we lose 1.25 acres and 1 common house.  We gain $280,000

If we build 4 units/acre, (build 11 units with 1 common house) our unit purchase costs are  $30,000.

If we build 6 units/acre, (build 17 units with 1 common house) our unit purchase costs are  $19,400.
This a smaller, compact neighborhood with housing unit costs less than $20,000.

St. Mark’s has offered Carmen $150,000 for her land.  Carmen hasn’t made a decision.  I have called her several times and she isn’t answering my calls. We may have more information before Sunday.

Option 3. If we buy Carmen’s land (1.5 acres) for $155,000? and add it to our land we would have 6 acres.

If we build 4 units/acre, (build 22 units with 2 common houses) our unit purchase costs are  $34,300.

If we build 6 units/acre, (build 32 units with 2 common houses) our unit purchase costs are  $23,600.

At 6 units/acre, we’re really building 2 neighborhoods.  Or the 4/acre is a nice neighborhood 

Option 4. If St Mark’s buys Carmen’s land (1.5 acres) for $150,000 and then we “swap” the land… we purchase Carmen’s and from St Marks and we sell them Charlie’s land, we would lose 1.25 acres on the road frontage, with a common house and barn, and gain 1.5 acres of empty land away from the road. We would then have 4.5 acres. (or we buy Carmen’s and sell Charlie’s parcel)

If we build 4 units/acre, (build 18 units with 1 common house) our unit purchase costs are  $26,700.

If we build 6 units/acre, (build 26 units with 1 common house) our unit purchase costs are  $18,500.
This option has the lowest costs per unit. 

So read through this a few times. Call me if you want to discuss it.  Right now, we don’t know which of these options/ paths we will follow, but at least we’ll have the basic ideas to start discussions.  

See some of ya’ll Sunday, and everyone else on Monday Zoom at 12.

As usual, I will post this on the website blog column labeled email, today’s date.

All the best,


Zoom 3/15/2021

1. Adjacent land …. the St. Marks church has put a bid for $150k to use it as a parking lot. We would have to beat this price and soon. Is it worth it.? It is the top right corner “Carmen’s parcel” 1.49 acres. This would allow us to add up to 8 additional houses here. See later with the financial discussions as to how this would change our financial picture.

Just a wild idea, what if we got Carmen’s parcel and sold Charlie’s parcel to the church for their parking and fellowship needs? Except I want to keep the barn 🙂

2. The jungle (back part of the big house) is almost cleared out to find our good trees. It will be finished on Tuesday.

3 Notes from my conversations with Roger Grunke.

The comprehensive long range plan for our property is Residential 6. This means that if we increase the density of our project to 6 units per acre, we don’t have to get a change in the plan. We still need to either rezone or do a PD (Planned Development) to increase the current zoning density.

We don’t want to rezone. With standard zoning rules, we will have to put in streets with curbs and sidewalks, minimum lot sizes like in other traditional neighborhood. Just rezoning would have us selling lots in a subdivision, but not creating the community we want.

We do want to do a PD. To create a pedestrian friendly community, we need a PD, where we can tell them what kinds of streets and arrangement of housing units we want. We need to stop talking about lots in our neighborhood and reframe it as housing units. We are creating much more than vacant lots in a nice neighborhood.

A PD takes about 6 months to get thru the planning department. All rezoning and PDs are political. We will have to address making friends in the neighborhood and county commission and planning department.

We need a legal entity, probably an LLC, for the world to have an entity to talk to, besides me and a trustee. This is not hard to do.

We need to decide on the form of development we will use. Probably a Condominium is best… there are looser land use requirements and everyone understands what the concept is. Each member would own their individual unit and a proportional share of the common land (including driveways and pathways)

Part of the survey is the tree survey. Certainly grand oaks we want to keep. They live more than 100 years and are great to have. Many of the trees we have are either laurel oaks or water oaks, both of which are a liability. They live 25 years before dropping branches or splitting in two frequently. These trees are better to remove and replant with better trees. This would also give more flexibility on the placement of housing units.

With a PD we don’t have to have traditional driveways. We do need access to every housing unit that is load bearing (for firetrucks and ambulances), but we can plan parking centralized and not necessarily at each housing unit. We will need multiple golf carts to provide access on the long distances.

We need to decide on 3? or 4? housing units, based on a modular sizing, to build as reasonably as possible and to standardize our units. It will save lots of money and build unity. On the left is a photo I took of a display board with modular units designed by Roger for the Tampa Cohousing. From the picture on the left, I extracted 2 of the models so you can see them more clearly. They are the two photos of units on the right. These are not OUR designs, but are an example of modular housing units.

Roger: Sample modular Floorplans
Roger: 2BR 2 BA with loft BR and patio 1135 Sf total

Roger: Taken from the photo on the left. 1 BR/ 1 BA with porch 890 sf total

Roger: 1 BR/1BA with porch 890sf total

Roger: Studio with 1 BA and porch 787 sf total

Roger: 1BR/1BA with porch 890sf

Roger very much wants to participate in this project and work hand-in-hand with us. He will charge, but I will do as much as I can to help him.

4. Questions I’m following up on… (Please jump in and volunteer to help any time):

talk to Pamela-Jo Hatley regarding legal issues, non-profit corporation

will a condominium or any sort of group organization allow us any discounts on impact or water hook up fees?

get the survey going… surveyors are busy but this is holding us up now.

Costs I don’t know about yet: application to tie into force main, cost of force main, hookup to TECO, Wi-FI, Cable,

Sue Mitchel is beginning Mission / Vision statement

Is Monday at 12 OK for zoom? Suggest other times… Not Fridays at noon, not 3:30 daily, not Tuesday nights…. These are my thoughts in 4 days… can you imagine what it would be like to skip 2 weeks?

5. Financial Statements: Income and expenses of Joint Venture. All accounting documents are located in the password protected Files folder. The Accounting link opens a google doc that is edited daily. Click on the link and open the doc on your computer.

6. Financial Property Development Costs This link leads to the google doc where we keep track of anticipated and actual expenses so we can make decisions about the viability of the project.

7. Now the Fun stuff:

1. Ideas for a possible logos? The first one is an altered photo of our labyrinth… we could do anything we want with this one. The second is the center of our banner in the sanctuary. The artist will do it solid or colored to our desire for $100. The third is just an idea of the tree of life… any kind of tree graphic. The fourth is a chalice gif from UUA, I don’t know if we have to pay for copyright for this.

2 Possible Names for the community: (from a thesaurus… words I like)

Wildflower, Harmony Sing dream walk Margaritaville Eden Circle of life Serenity Journey Utopia Euforea independence Arbors Renaissance Revival Casa Hostel Woods Grove Canopy Shade Shady Sanctuary Grove Center Balance Park Skylark Shindig Refuge Hideaway Haven Resort Preserve Oasis Island Commons Peace Landing Terra firma Homestead Homeland Roots Earth Lodge Gaia Cosmos Habitat Kindred Synergy Evergreen
Woodhaven, Tampa Village, Skylark Village, Wildflower haven,

Zoom 3/11/2021


  1. set time for weekly zoom Noon on Mondays starting Monday March 15
  2. land is being bush hogged and cleaned out so we can find out what we have available for building. The measurements of our property are corrected and uploaded to the website page 3.c.
  3. survey coming soon
  4. nothing new on adjoining land, belonging to Carmen, Linda, and Tommy,
  5. follow up with St Mark’s church: no one volunteered so we will wait for them to contact us
  6. we need to start coming to consensus of what we want with layout and house designs. Everyone should be thinking about looks you like for small neighborhoods.
  7. New name for our community? chalice, circle, home. village, tapestry 3 acre wood, chalice circle village, wood spirit
  8. uu emphasis or no? vision and values statement, Sue will begin working on this
  9. Marketing committee and plan: social media, communicate with UUs in our cluster and across the US, In the Cohousing book on the website, pages 64, 129, 230, and this website have information about marketing campaigns https://www.cohousing.org/marketing/
  10. Sue Mitchel attended zoom what is cohousing through the cohousing.org

Email Update 3/8/21

Greetings all,

I’m having trouble keeping up with all the work and distributing information to ya’ll.  I’ll try to get better.
Grant and Diana cannot meet on Fridays.  Let’s Try Thursday at 12 this week.  Starting next week we’ll do Mondays at 12.

Last week we met with 2 architects.  Roger Grugel and Richard Adelson.  We hope that one of them will work out to guide us on this project.

Richard recommended a stack of books.  I ordered them all so I can share them with you and we can spread the word.  I paid for a digital (pdf) copy of Charles Durrett book Creating Cohousing.  It is now uploaded to the website.  Go to the righthand column and look for the file named Book.  The password is xxxxxx (Call Marla if you can’t find the email with the password in it).  Feel free to download and read it.  You’ll learn a lot.  If you have any favorite parts, please recommend them so we can all read them.  It’s a very dense book so read a little every day.

Attached is the site plan that Richard A designed for Gainesville Cohousing. NOTE: Richard didn’t design it… he brought it as an example of a cohousing commUNITY LAYOUT

The woods are going to be cleaned out Tomorrow so we can see what big and beautiful trees we have to work around.  It will be cleaned out, but not hauled away.  For now, it’s for us to have a cleaned out place ready for the survey to be done.  I’ve contacted 4 companies, but as yet only have one estimate for the survey.  I’ll do follow up calls tomorrow because this is our next important step.

Welcome to a new group member, Jude McCormick.  She is a friend of Richard I and will be jumping into our project now.

That’s all for now.

Notes from Zoom 2/26/21

  • Next Friday 11:00 meet Richard Adelson at the church to walk over the property, see inside of houses (I hope), discuss path to move forward.
  • Sizes of our land parcels are still not certain. All 3 surveys I have are wrong… mostly with easements (that don’t exist because of errors) that are recorded on the surveys as property lines. There are surveyors pipes in the ground that were ignored by the previous surveyors (who are now out of business)
  • Roger Grunke Architect, head of Tampa Cohousing group will meet with us 11:00 Monday at church.
    • his specialty: social design of community housing. interested in working with us
    • Roger to do PD need complete surveys with trees, topo, drainage plan, lot design and footprints of houses
    • Difficulty in creating the community is in the process… getting people to agree on what they want and to work together
  • Do we want to create a community with different kinds of “sustainable houses” or prefab or modular? Do we want to create a neighborhood with different kinds of houses as a model village? Put in Solar array to supply energy to all the houses? Catch water in underground water tanks for irrigation? Perhaps could we get sponsors to help with the costs?
    • Ruth Morris is looking into prefab houses and developments
    • Tom suggests looking into tiny houses
    • Jerry suggests looking into container houses
  • Several people volunteered to consider increasing their investments to pay for needed help and professional studies. I have their names, but I won’t publish them publicly. Thank you.
  • Need to advertise, increase financing, increase membership. Who will volunteer? Jerry will help with responding to inquiries.
  • Need a logo to not worry about copyright issues. Pay designer of banner for church? Use photo of Labyrinth?
  • Please click FOLLOW on the website so my blog posts will automatically be sent to you and I won’t have to write so many emails. 🙂
  • We’re moving forward. Slowly. We are not going to be a group that studies the issues and never gets anything built. By working together, we will all get something we want in the community, but probably not everything we want. We will meet our goal of being ready to break ground next winter!!!

Members attending: Marla, Richard I, Jerry E, Candy G, Russ P, Tom K, Richard Adelson