IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A FAMILY!
TAKE A BIG CITY LOT, with an abutting apartment house, TURN IT INTO a 14 UNIT GROUP OF HOUSES, done with permission of city zoning board. Fund it as a LAND TRUST. An idea so good Sunset Magazine, Issue February 2010 wrote it up!
Land economy, shared garden, a village green, maybe a shared pool or fish farm.A self-sustaining agrarian community, an idea fitted both for suburbs or urban areas that are being gentrified slowly. If a lot were at least two acres. Very suited for country living if zoning board permits it.
http://www.plannersweb.com articles had a piece on the concept. Hope it still does. LIVE LINKS to these people end up jamming my pieces full of dead links, folks keep changing their webpages, bugs me no end. Basically the Structure and capacity of a community land trust is the following:
* Incorporation -- To be an effective player, a community land trust should be incorporated.
* Non-profit status -- Helps ensure eligibility for certain funding and offers checks and balances to make sure the organization is not used for personal gain.
* Member-based -- Though not absolutely necessary, this offers another level of accountability to the community.
* Board composition -- Do the bylaws proscribe a specific board composition? If so, does the membership have adequate representation? Does the community? Can we get politicians to further the concept?
* Board & staff skills -- If the CLT is going to undertake development, is there adequate financial and development expertise at the staff or board level?
* Mission -- What is the stated mission of the organization? How does it fit in with your community's master plan?
* Funding -- How is the organization funded? How stable are those sources of funds? Are there local public funds that could be directed toward CLT projects?
* Technical support -- Does the CLT have access to good technical support resources? What are those resources? Architects? Organic farmers?
There is a tradition in EUROPE of URBAN CLUSTER VILLAGES. Set in urban parkland, they seem more rural than they are -- http://www.realarchitektur.de/work_myllypuro.html But the good thing is, they fit a lot of low income families into a small area that is verdant, has a garden feeling. They can grow food there. Where land is getting increasingly more costly, ditto FOOD, these are going to be necessary features --if jobless trend and inflation trends continue. And it seems to be that we haven't even hit the first skid of this Recession.
Writer Emily Baehr contributes Another way: "Imagine a group of friends buying a lot of land and building homes on it for themselves using a CHURCH as the legal entity to hold the land.
First off, churches don't pay property tax. Big plus. Also, no worries about probate, not even of someone's ownership interest in an LLC, because the church would own everything. The chums would control the church. As Rockefeller (I think it was him) said, Own Nothing, Control Everything.
Sometimes when a business may be denied permission to do certain things due to zoning, churches often get permission. Another plus. Churches also can do just about any kind of business as long as it relates to their mission, which could be broadly defined.
You might want to have the function of running the church be independent of whether you live there or not, so people can move out and still help run the church, or people can live there but not run the church.
Have a church trust own the land and lease the houses to the people. You will want to maintain a certain level of control in case you get a "chum" who turns out to be a real nuisance, but you also want to be fair. I am guessing a pretty standard lease would work in most cases. What people would lack in equity they would make up for in cheap rent and, if they continued to build the church and its business/mission, more amenities. Storerooms with emergency supplies? Health club? Free rent fund for fiscal emergencies? Also, by not building any equity, or even appearing to, you avoid squabbles over ownership or equitable interest should it not work out with one of your chums.
You might want land in a part of the country where they don't have a lot of building codes or zoning, so you can build whatever kind of houses you want. Not substandard ones, but then you could build creatively. If someone wanted to live off the grid, maybe they could. If you could find that leniency combined with electric, water and sewer at the street and fiber optic for Internet, you'd be in hog heaven. Maybe in the future satellite Internet will become more affordable, and then you could make due with wells, cisterns, and septic.
Imagine the savings of having ONE phone/internet bill for all, and a wireless router with a booster, and then your chums could use Skype for their phones, or just cell phones, but they'd still have internet without having to pay for a home phone. If you were going to do that I would recommend to set up a proxy server. It's more economical bandwidth wise and you get to keep people from abusing the internet connection for illegal things.
Perhaps the sharing of internet would justify the expense of the satellite connection if it were necessary. Heck, you get enough chums in one place and the phone savings could pay for the land.
Of course you'd have to do some checking with the local and county authorities before buying, just like in the way with the LLC. The only thing with the church scheme, is I think you'd need to have services once a week open to the public, so you'd have to have at least one person who isn't afraid of public speaking be the pastor. And you'd have to have some sort of consistent belief system. Try to pick one that won't scare the neighbors.
I am thinking also, that if you didn't want to buy a farm, this could be done with existing housing, by the church buying up a big apartment building or distressed houses in a blue collar neighborhood at a discount. You could use owner financing. If you got the big piece of land, you could also buy used trailers for like $3,000 apiece cash, fix them and live in them while the houses are being built, and then sell the trailers for $6,000 to outsiders when the houses are ready and charge interest on top of that. You can find a friendly trailer park owner and become partners. Sell the trailers on his pads. See http://www.reiclub.com/articles/perpetual-money-machine for what they call Lonnie Deals (after Lonnie Scruggs). One of your missions as a church could be to provide cheap housing for the poor.
Also, you don't need to actually own a church building to have services. You could start your church in someone's living room. The Vineyard Church always starts a new congregation by having meetings in someone's house and then when they get enough congregants, they rent a space until they get so big that they can afford to pay cash for a church building.
There is a church here in Ohio that my roommate goes to that has a lot of self-improvement classes and life coaching. They are sort of new-agey. They have a few different buildings on a campus where people take the classes. I could see a chumcluster church ultimately being like that plus providing the housing - maybe like a monastery with retreat facilities, and they could make money off the general public, other church groups, etc that way.
I once knew a guy in Boston who had a church in his home. He had a 2 family apartment, and the church met in the downstairs apartment, which was furnished very sparsely. (The meetings doubled as rehearsals for his performance theater group, which put on these weird ancient Egyptian themed skits in cafes.)" SEE LAND TRUST CONTRACTUAL DETAILSby Emily Baehr and GOOGLE SEARCH for her latest blog address to review her entire website, hugely meritorous labor of love.
It would seem that this is a REAL ESTATE METHOD & PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, providing a free standing HOME for each family. Add this final fillip: Read THE CASA METHOD of creating a 'registry' on your phone machine for first time buyers who have the 5k each for their downpayment. Imagine your creating that registry with just a simple phone message machine or EMAIL FILE that you stash as DATA in your computer in a "MEMBERS" file, and you put out Craigs List ads to locate folks ready to buy. Find barrio properties that fit all your needs. It could be an old motel. A group of old buildings. A group of warehouses in an industrial area. PRIMO BEST is a FOUR UNIT BLDG as Community loans by the Fannie Mae give low interest money to these! However, it could be a l0 acre farm in the boonies or a vacant lot in suburbia. Imagine a dozen homes on a large lot, a very inexpensive way to have a group of private homes with a single front gate Investigate "LAND TRUSTS" by googling up the words in quotes!
Read the websites below carefully to get the idea stuck in your brain. SUNSET MAG FEB 2010 has an article on it. Call it out of your library's stacks, leaf thru the thing at the library or order it from Publisher, vintage magazines do get sold that way.
Google articles online with search terms "LAND TRUST" Save them to cache and share via EMAIL to those you could see as co-occupants of a lovely communal farm.. If you click on every one of l00 links, you'll see what they are saying. Lawyer helpful, Architect, pal on city council. Of course this idea started in VERMONT! WHERE ELSE! I grew up in Parklabrea Garden apartments, in Los Angeles, Mid-Wilshire area. It was a patch of lawn in a circle size of a half football field with 14 families having town houses in a circle, easily a 2 acre space, 14 homes, gardens and parkland and another circle of covered car stalls (with the middle open to sky) I still recall my dad's LaSalle and Studebaker parked there.
This is an idea FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE PEOPLE...or only know LIKABLE PEOPLE who will pitch in at building corrals, fences, doing animal care, tree/ orchard care, planting, harvesting, jam making, soap making.
And you don't need to buy a farm outside of town to do this. Don't overlook abandoned apartment bldgs, old factories, city buildings or churches that have closed: In Quebec, Canada, religious buildings are increasingly being recycled into libraries, community centers or even apartment complexes. The reasons are --that people don't go to church anymore, there are less and less priests, and the Catholic church can not afford anymore to maintain its many empty buildings, despite government aid. For obvious reasons. (ahem!)
Public buildings like these -- even old factories, industrial lofts can provide condo spaces and these buildings usually have an ample parking lots you can jack hammer open, and often virgin garden spaces behind. I have turned sixty year old lawn curb strips into fertile tilth in one year using neighbors' green trash barrels to compost. SOIL RESTORES. Try to get a building with soil exposed where you don't have to break thru concrete, though a jack hammer rental will give you wonderful chunks of cement with which to do raised beds. So you get SOIL AND EDGING, all in one purchase. Not too shabby.
You can do YOUR BUILDING. your set of buildings as a profit making business done with investors. SEE http://www.luckinlove.com/casa.htmYou have a living space picked out, get FHA funding, the easiest of all, but after you find a dozen occupants, each with a down payment... or if you attract your OWN FUNDERS, as a tax exempt non profit charity, you have the rich guys buy it, rent out the spaces to families, the profits roll into the funders each month, but as it's tax exempt, seems to me they would not have to pay taxes on it.A lot of rich people need a big cash tax dodge. None of you actually have to LIVE THERE. Or you can wrap it around your own CHARITY. Takes 80$ to start a tax exempt foundation. Do it as a tax exempt non profit educational foundation and have after school classes there, and do a sexual register check on every dweller so you dno't get some pedophile... It could be an amazing for-profit educational business venture. Three carpenters on a 20k lot in the boonies could do it. Each family builds their own with the 3 carpenters being the owner/investor and hammer-trainer. As close to an ole fashioned barn raising as can be imagined. We want COMMUNITY GARDENS all over the city so make your second charity "THE BETTE MIDDLER HONORARY GARDEN PROJECT" To honor her and her gardens in NYC. Get her to sit on your board, or something.
Being Poor doesn't mean being lonely, hungry or unhappy!
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