Frequently Asked Questions
Communication is an essential part of any social project. We'd like to share our thoughts on some important topics about our project, to explain what cohousing means to us.
Who are you?
We are a group of families, couples, and single adults of all ages. In our careers, we are teachers, engineers, writers, carpenters and homemakers. In our personal lives, we are members of PTOs, dance teachers, volunteer firefighters and babysitters. In our families, we have a mix of home and publicly schooled children. We have a lot to offer the community of Berlin, and we intend to live fully in the town. We come from diverse backgrounds. Many of us grew up in small towns like Berlin; some of us grew up as far away as Germany and South America; others are former residents of Berlin.
What are your goals?
We plan to build 34 units on our 55+ acre site on Sawyer Hill Road. We chose to share this beautiful piece of land with Mosaic Commons, which is building another cohousing neighborhood of 34 units. Each neighborhood will develop on 3 to 4 acres of space including building, parking, and drives, leaving at least 45 acres as open space and conservation land.
Are you developers?
Our neighborhood is being created by the future residents, who have come together to create their homes with the help of development professionals. We are very interested in becoming active members of the greater community. We are neighbors, not developers.
Are you planning on offering affordable housing?
We are working with the town of Berlin to help fulfill its Chapter 40b affordable housing quotient. We came to the town with a development that offers some relief for Berlin from the pressures of typical 40b developments. In contrast, our plan has relatively low impact and will contribute permanent open space and property tax dollars. The affordable units will be made available to local residents through the 40b lottery process, will be interspersed among the market-rate units, and will look no different than the other homes to be built.
How will your houses fit in with the surrounding community?
We are interested in building homes that fit in with the character of Berlin, sized and clustered on the land to preserve as much of the natural beauty of the area as possible and to preserve the privacy and rights of our neighbors. Our typical home will be less than 2,000 square feet, and will be clustered within a neighborhood. Our housing won’t be visible from Sawyer Hill Road as we plan on providing buffers and substantial building setbacks at street frontage. We are committed to respecting our neighbors’ posted property boundaries, while preserving access to the conservation land.
What kind of water and sewer systems will you have?
Our water and septic systems will be required to meet the most stringent codes and regulations of both state and local authorities. We anticipate installation of these systems to address any potential negative impacts to neighbors or the town, since we are making a significant investment in engineering, testing and review.
Will this project have significant traffic impact?
People who live in cohousing tend to use cars less and own far fewer cars than the typical large subdivision houses. In our case, we currently have 1.5 cars per household and project reducing to 1.3 due to carpooling and working from home. New construction typically has two or three garage spaces per house.
Is this project environmentally friendly?
Yes! Cohousing is by nature more environmentally friendly than a standard development, by virtue of its small footprint and shared facilities. Camelot is looking into "green" engineering as it designs its site, both for immediate and future implementation.
Where are you with the project now?
Construction is currently completed and we still have a few units for sale.
What happens once the construction is complete?
Cohousing is not just about the excitement of moving into a new house. We are anticipating the new dimensions it will add to our current (and varied) lifestyles. A house in cohousing means both privacy and social opportunities, without requiring a car, an appointment, or an entrance fee. Our members are already planning to plant trees and gardens, build play areas for our children, and cook some common meals. We are designing multifunctional and specialized spaces into our common areas, so we can share our hobbies in a central location and include new hobbies in the future. We are looking forward to living with the people who have worked hard to bring this project to fruition, and sharing our spaces with family, friends, and neighbors.