Living Here

Living Here

Living at Mosaic Commons is a wonderful, caring, challenging, sometimes maddening but never boring experience. Learn more about what it's like to live here

admin Mon, 02/27/2012 - 16:06

The Common House, Our Homes, Our Land

The Common House, Our Homes, Our Land

Our homes are clustered together along a pedestrian path and centered around our Common House. Our neighborhood and that of our sister community, Camelot Cohousing, are built on less than 12 acres. Over 50 acres of our land remain as open space, including nearly 30 acres of deeded conservation land.

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 12:08

The Common House

The Common House
Common House

See also: Using the Common House

The Mosaic Commons Common House is the center of our neighborhood, both physically and socially. It's the place where the community comes together -- for shared meals, for games and entertainment, for meetings, for parties, for hobbies and activities.

Our Common House has

  • A great room for (optional) shared meals and large events
  • A smaller dining room, we call the niche,  for more private meals, or expansion space on the great room
  • A large commercial-quality kitchen with mixed-height work surfaces, gas ranges, two ovens and refrigerators, and commercial dishwasher
  • A kid's playroom with its own bathroom and exit to the outdoors
  • A multi-purpose room with ping-pong, games and crafts
  • A well equipped exercise room
  • A living room for smaller gatherings and casual socializing
  • A music room
  • Shared laundry facilities (in addition to laundry hookups in every home)
  • An herb garden off the kitchen (in addition to a large shared organic garden nearby)
  • A large shaded front porch with tables and chairs
  • Smaller rooms for hobbies, smaller meetings, etc.
  • Mail boxes and coat room
  • Handicapped accessible bathroom with a roll-in shower
  • A outdoor hot tub
  • A paved courtyard for outdoor events
  • Wireless Internet service
  • A gas fueled fireplace
  • Energy efficient heating and cooling (heat pump)
  • Super insulated and low-toxicity, just like all our individual homes

All residents have full use of the common house. It's like having extra rooms on your house that happen to not be attached.

Common house main floorCommon House basement


admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 12:12
ch_basement.pdf (113.29 KB)
ch_first_floor.pdf (149.51 KB)

Our Homes

Our Homes

We have one bedrooms, two bedrooms, small and large three bedrooms, and four bedrooms in our community.

Our buildings are mostly triplexes, with one duplex type. 

When we have homes available they will be listed click here for details and prices on available units. 

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 12:44

Three Bedroom Homes (Small)

Three Bedroom Homes (Small)

FloorplanFloorplanRoom Sizes

Living Room: 19' x 9'
Dining Room: 11'-6" x 5'-6"
Bedroom 1: 13'-6" x 9'
Bedroom 2: 8'-10" x 10'
Bedroom 3: 8'-9" x 9'

Detailed Plans

Building type 2 includes a 4-bedroom unit and a small 3-bedroom unit:
Floor Plans / Exterior / Photo

Building type 3 includes two small 3-bedroom units and one 2-bedroom unit:
Floor Plans / Exterior Elevations / Photo

Check for available homes here

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 16:57

Three Bedroom Homes (Large)

Three Bedroom Homes (Large)

FloorplanFloorplanRoom Sizes

Living room: 21’ x 10 ½’
Dining room: 12 ½’ x 10’
Kitchen: 10’ x 10’
Master Bedroom: 14’ x 10 ½’
Bedroom 2: 10 ½ ’ x 11
Bedroom 3: 9 ½’ x 9 ½’

Detailed Floor Plans

Building type 1 includes a large 3-bedroom unit and two stacked 1-bedroom flats:
Floor Plans / Exterior Elevations / Photo

Building type 4 includes a large 3-bedroom unit and two 2-bedroom units:
Floor Plans / Exterior Elevations / Photo



Check for available homes here

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:05

Four Bedroom Units

Four Bedroom Units

FloorplanFloorplanRoom Sizes

Living Room: 16' x 12'
Dining Room: 8'-6" x 10'
Bedroom 1: 9'-6" x 15'-6"
Bedroom 2: 25' x 12'
Bedroom 3: 13'-6" x 11'
Bedroom 4: 12' x 11'-6"

Detailed Plans

Building type 2 includes a 4-bedroom unit and a small 3-bedroom unit:
Floor Plans / Exterior


Check for available homes here

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:11

Our Land

Our Land

We share a wooded 65 acre site in Berlin, MA with Camelot Cohousing - we built on a total of 12 acres, leaving the remainder in conservation and open space. Mosaic Commons is located further south on the site, towards Sawyer Hill Road.

Full Site Map: May, 2007

Site Design Program

Mosaic Commons, from Google Maps: 

From Foogle Maps

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:24

Getting along with each other

Getting along with each other

Some agreements & policies that help us get along with each other:

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 17:49

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

Mosaic Commons intends to be a safe nurturing place for all of us, children and adults, to grow, both individually and as a group. To this end, we agree to the following: We will make a good-faith effort to deal with conflicts that may arise. With the help of Community Support (CS) we will do our best to distinguish between individual conflicts and issues of concern for the group as a whole. Individual conflicts will be handled through this Conflict Resolution process.

Members may choose to handle conflicts directly themselves or to enlist the help of CS. If a conflict is brought to CS by any member, all members directly involved in the conflict agree to make a good-faith effort (see step 7) to follow this process through to resolution. This will typically include meeting with the other person/s to attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.

Resolution(s) to conflicts may take many forms, including an "agreement to disagree" in some cases.

The following is a guide for members of the Mosaic Commons community to understand and be aware of the process to expect when asking for help from the Community Support Team:

  1. You are encouraged to attempt to resolve the conflict by yourself, if you can.
  2. If the conflict is unresolved, or you don’t feel you are able to approach the other party or parties by yourself, you may approach a member of the CS Team in whatever way you feel most comfortable (individual email, email to the team, in person, or over the phone).
  3. A CS team member of your choosing will meet with you to talk about and help define the conflict that you are having. This may include identifying the specific situation(s) in which the conflict came up and feelings around that. The CS Team member will offer you tools to resolve the conflict yourself, or offer the option of conflict mediation through the team. Please be aware that because CS Team members support and provide guidance to one another, we reserve the right to confidentially discuss the issue with other team members, with the exception of any team member who is involved in the conflict, and determine who we think will be the most appropriate mediator(s); this may not be the member(s) initially approached.
  4. By coming to the CS Team with your concern, you are agreeing to fully participate in resolving the conflict in a timely manner (see below). If you choose to take the tools back and work on the conflict and are unsuccessful in your own or CS's determination, or you they choose to bring it to mediation immediately then we move on to step 5.
  5. Set a time to meet. The CS team will take responsibility for bringing all parties up to date and coordinating a time that suits all involved parties to meet for mediation. This should take place as soon as possible, ideally within 4 weeks (exceptions can be made for special circumstances such as illness or travel). The actual CS team member or members who facilitate in mediating the conflict must be mutually agreed to by all parties. The team will discuss and resolve any conflicts of interest in this choice. If a CS team member can’t be agreed upon by both parties another community member or outside person may be approached who is willing to mediate.
  6. If resolution (which may include agreeing to disagree) is not reached through the first mediation facilitated by CS, members directly involved in the conflict agree to engage in a second mediation attempt, either with new mediators from within our group or through obtaining the services of an outside consultant.
  7. Members agree to make two good-faith efforts with different mediators before determining that not all conflicts can be resolved. An attempt or effort at resolution with one mediator is not necessarily limited to one meeting. If either party during a meeting feels they are at a place where they have reached their limit at that time, that party may request to continue the conversation at a future time and date agreed to by all parties involved.
  8. Individuals involved in this process are encouraged to find a way to acknowledge the conflict to the larger group. Often the community is already aware that something is going on — acknowledging it, as well as acknowledging that it is in the process of mediation (or has been resolved), is reassuring to the other people in the group.
admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:42

Gun Policy

Gun Policy

Mosaic Commons expects that members who choose to keep guns will be properly licensed and will comply with all state and federal laws applicable to possession and storage of firearms and ammunition. Those wishing further information on gun laws may consult the “Federal Gun Laws” and “State Gun Laws” sections of the National Rifle Association’s website. The current link for Massachusetts is

Safe Storage

Massachusetts state law currently requires that a gun which is not in use be "secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user." (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, §131L(a)). Though this provision technically allows for the use of trigger or cable locks for gun storage, Mosaic Commons members who choose to keep firearms agree to take personal responsibility for securing any guns and ammunition in locked containers or, ideally, in a gun safe. Anyone who has any questions or concerns about this agreement should discuss the matter directly with the Community Support Team.

Common Spaces

Firearms are not permitted in common spaces unless unloaded, secured in a locked case, and under the direct control of their owner. Firearms are not permitted inside the Common House at any time.

Individuals who are required to carry a firearm as part of their professional responsibilities are exempt from the above common space restrictions during times when they are required to be armed. They are nonetheless required to keep any firearm they carry under their direct control at all times.


In recognition of the potential emotional intensity of this topic and the need for effective communication within the community, firearms owners are expected to be forthright about their ownership and storage provisions. Those individuals with concerns or questions they wish to raise with members who own firearms are likewise expected to be forthright and respectful in their communications.

Members who wish to keep firearms in Mosaic Commons agree to disclose this fact to the community and to explain their storage provisions prior to storing firearms on site. Disclosure is to occur at a regularly scheduled general meeting, however no list or other designation of which members keep firearms will be maintained as part of the records of Mosaic Commons. This disclosure is meant to accommodate legitimate community needs for information and assurances.

For More Information

Those interested in learning more about firearms safety are encouraged to contact our local police department for more information on nearby firearms safety courses. If there is sufficient interest, the community's gun owners will arrange for safety training to be held on-site.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 17:58

Noise / Quiet Hours

Noise / Quiet Hours

Quiet Hours Best Practices Agreeement

The intent of this agreed upon best-practice is to balance the needs of residents who need morning quiet with those who need evening quiet, and to balance people's ability to do community work, and have fun events, with other resident's needs for quiet.

Mosaic Commons Quiet hours start at 9pm Sunday to Thursday nights and start at 10pm Friday and Saturday nights. They go until 8am Monday to Friday mornings and until 9am Saturday and Sunday mornings.

During that time residents are asked to avoid disturbing their neighbors and to help their guests to do the same.

Examples: Quiet hours do not preclude enjoying porches or back yards with visiting friends, or walking through the neighborhood having a conversation at normal volume. They do preclude loud play, loud laughter, loud music, and motorized equipment where other residents will be disturbed. During quiet hours avoid clunky items in dryers, turn off the beeps on washers and dryers, and pay attention to how noise carries from the hot tub, basketball court, playground, and adventure playground.

Quiet hours do not apply to emergency personnel, snow removal, or emergency mechanical fixes.

Contractors arranged by Mosaic on an occasional basis may start work at 7AM but are asked to start their work as far from homes as possible. The person arranging the contractor should, as much as possible, notify the community in advance of any work that will disturb quiet hours.

Events arranged by Mosaic residents and members on an occasional basis may move the quiet hours until midnight but must notify the community in advance of the event.

Even when quiet hours are not in effect people should show consideration when asked to be quiet. For example:
-Please honor requests from hobby room guests for additional morning or night-time quiet time in the living room and/or laundry room.
-Please honor requests for additional morning or night-time quiet time from people in homes near the hot tub, playground, adventure playground, basketball court, and other places noise might carry to people sleeping.


During construction, we made every reasonable attempt to minimize the negative impact of noise through engineering and design, paying particular attention to noise abatement in the common house dining room and laundry room, and sound insulation between attached units.

Through courtesy and communication we anticipate most other noise problems will be avoided. Community Support can be utilized to help work through any conflicts or difficulties around noise that may arise.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:01

Pet Policy

Pet Policy

Residents are responsible for ensuring that their animals do not disrupt other members of the community by inappropriate behaviour, property destruction, or noise. Residents should take the nature of the community into consideration when selecting pets.
Visiting pets are the responsibility of their hosts.

In the Common House

Service animals are welcome to accompany their owners into indoor common areas, such as the common house, but no other animals are permitted. All animals are prohibited from any basement storage areas that have been designated as animal-free.

In our Homes

There are no restrictions on pets within private units, provided their noise or smell does not cause a disturbance to others. Should indoor pets accidentally get out, the outdoor rules are then applicable to these pets and their owners.

Outdoor Cats

Many members of Mosaic feel strongly that all cats should be kept indoors or in designated enclosures. Other members of Mosaic feel strongly about keeping outdoor cats.
In order to respect both positions, we will keep the overall population of outdoor cats in the community at no more than 8. Members that want to add outdoor cats must request this from Steering, who will approve if the overall numbers are appropriate and the following restrictions are observed:

  • All outdoor cats must be spayed or neutered.
  • Members will make a good faith effort to keep their cats inside at night.
  • Outdoor cats will be collared, tagged, and belled.
  • Outdoor cats will be vaccinated, including Feline Leukemia and Rabies.

Steering may grant an exception to the restrictions for outdoor cats, or to go beyond the cap, in unusual circumstances, e.g., to prevent a cat from being put down, or for a family cat that moves to a Mosaic household.
New owners with existing outdoor cats should report those cats to steering, follow the restrictions for those cats, and will be subject to Pet Policy for any future pets.


Note: there were no major edits made in this section in the 2018 re-draft. Those may be coming from the ad hoc dog team.
Out of consideration for the safety and comfort of all community members, dogs should either be on a leash, in a fenced-in area, under the direct control and supervision of their owners at all times. Dog owners are expected to "scoop as they go" when walking their dogs.

Other outdoor animals

Other outdoor animals (such as pigs, goats, etc.) that are allowed by the laws applicable to our site, will either be on a leash or in a fenced-in area at all times.
Members who wish to keep livestock should raise that issue with the community as an exception to this policy.


We recognize that there is a pet overpopulation problem in this country due to accidental breeding of pets, particularly cats. Therefore, it is required that outdoor cats be spayed or neutered and strongly recommended that both indoor cats and all dogs be spayed or neutered.

Damage and mess:

Outdoor pet owners are jointly responsible for cleaning up after their outdoor pets.
Outdoor pet owners are jointly responsible for repairing or bearing the cost of any damage created by their outdoor pets except in cases where one animal has been clearly identified to have caused the damage.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:03



Mosaic Commons intends to be hospitable and accommodating to people who smoke and those who do not. One important goal is to prevent second-hand smoke from affecting unwilling residents and guests. With this in mind, smoking is not allowed in any indoor common areas, such as the Common House or community-owned basement space under any circumstances.

Smoking outside is prohibited except in designated areas. All litter generated by smoking outside must be disposed of in proper receptacles.

All residents may smoke or permit smoking in their private unit and in the area immediately to the rear of their unit, but are expected to cooperatively respond to neighbors' concerns. Any unresolved complaints are to be taken to the community support team.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:16

Email Etiquette Guidelines

Email Etiquette Guidelines


A cohousing community can only thrive if there is a strong basis in open communication, respect of widely varying viewpoints, and an accepting, clean method for making those views, ideas, and proposals accessible to everyone who wants to see them. Before the age of email, much of this communication happened in real time. Phone calls, meetings, and, when people couldn’t attend in person, newsletters and minutes mailed out.

In these modern times, email has become the most accessible method for communication for most people in the community, and certainly within Mosaic Commons, the most active. Messages can be drafted, sent to all members of the community, read, and replied to to everyone in a matter of seconds, allowing for very rapid exchanges of ideas.

Unfortunately, this great technology brings with it a host of problems… not technical per se, but patterns that come about primarily because of the technology. Call them Emergent Patterns if you will. The term used doesn’t matter, but the issues are very real.

This document is an open discussion of the pitfalls and challenges in using email as a widely accepted communication mechanism, and proposes guidelines to help mitigate the issues that come with the technology. For the purposes of discussion, we’re focusing on how email is used within Mosaic Commons, but the points here can apply to any community that uses mailing lists and private email for communication.

Mailing lists

There are two primary mailing lists the community uses for general communication. These are :

  • - This list is the general mailing list that includes everyone in the community, including associates and non-resident members. As of 2016 Jan 13, there are 91 people on the community list.

  • - A second ‘informal’ list (sometimes called ‘MOT’ for Mosaic Off Topic) for discussion of subjects that are not ‘important’ for everyone in the community to read. The original intent was to cut down the amount of non-business mail on the community list, though this has only been partly successful. As of 2016 Jan 13, there are 51 people on the off-topic list

Other non-team specific lists:

  • people - the ‘’ list includes residents of Mosaic-Commons and Camelot. It is intended for messages that may be of interest to both communities. As of 2015 Jan 13, there are 104 people on the people list.

  • - This list is used to communicate messages out to people who are not residents of Mosaic or Camelot, but are may be interested in attending events, hearing about units that are for sale, etc. As of 2015 Jan 13, there are 745 people on the interest list. This list has a small, strictly limited list of authorized senders.

In addition to the general lists, each team has its own mailing list, which is generally accepted to define the members on that team (occasionally someone will join a team mailing list to lurk and not be an active participant in the team. This is generally fine, as long as the user lets the team know they’re there specifically just to lurk). See appendices A and B for a summary of those.

Basic guidelines when using email

Given the large number of lists we work with, and the equally large numbers of people on those lists, it’s important to consider some basic guidelines when posting. Some of these thoughts are most relevant on large lists, but anytime you write mail, to an individual or to a list, consider some of the following points.

  1. Assume Good Intent - When writing a mail message using only written text, all nuance, body language, tone, and sentiment can be lost. It’s very easy for a recipient to see a message in a completely different tone than was intended by the originator. One of the basic tenets to work from is ‘Assume good intent’. It’s very rare someone will post something to be deliberately malicious or attacking. When reading mail, assume the author was trying to be helpful or contribute to the discussion. Certainly, there may be times when this is not the case - see below - but it’s a good idea that in the circumstance where you’ve received a message, and had a strong negative reaction, to sit back, consider the author’s intent to be basically benign, and read the message again.

  2. Consider How it will be Received - The same goes for composing messages. Know that your recipients (and if you’re sending to a list, that could be hundreds of people), are guaranteed not to be in the same exact mindset as you are. Make sure your message is clear and in context so the recipient can frame the message correctly.

    Example. Say someone has posted to a list that they just bought a new coat they’re proud of and have posted a picture.

    Example of a bad reply:
    “I wouldn’t have chosen that..”

    Example of a good reply:
    “I don’t think that’s a style that I would have chosen for myself, but go you!”

    Both responses are factually accurate and state your viewpoint, but the first one can be taken as dismissive and harsh, while the second states more accurately why you wouldn’t have chosen that coat, and gives a little bit of support.

  3. Is this relevant to the conversation? - When replying to a message, particularly on a mailing list where there’s an ongoing discussion about a certain topic (usually whatever the Subject is), make sure your message is still on-topic. If it isn’t, start a new thread. “The thread about coats made me think about going skiing this winter. Anyone want to go?”

    A note, though. Don’t just reply in the thread, manually edit the Subject line to be something else, and post a message. Some mail clients let you do this, but the new Subject will still be considered part of the old thread, and people who are not interested in the topic may not see your message as a change in topic. Start a new thread!

  4. Avoid ‘Me, too’ replies - Particularly on heavy volume mailing lists, it’s considered quite rude to reply to a posting with “me too” or “Yay!” or “LOL”. Remember each time you post a message, it’s going to potentially dozens of people, who will each have to process it, either by deleting it, reading it, or replying to it. Many people get thousands of mail messages a day, and these sorts of mail are intensely irritating. They do nothing to advance the topic being discussed.

  5. Answer off-list if possible - Unless an email to community is the start of a community discussion you should almost always reply off list. If someone posts a question and specifically asks ‘please reply off list’, honor their request and do not reply to the main list (an example is someone requesting referrals for pedicures - they put in their post “replies off list please” - Do not reply to the list with your review of a local pedicurist. If you would like to see what information the person gathers, send them private mail and ask them to either post a summary back to the list, or to the community Wiki, or ask them for whatever information they gather.

  6. Be concise, be direct, be clear - When considering posting to the community list in particular, take time to compose your message clearly and completely. Avoid multiple posts on the same topic, or multiple single line postings. Remember, each message is going to more than 90 people. Posting three times on the same topic in ten minutes means you’ve sent almost 240 mails.

  7. Take a break before you yell - This is a hard one, but may be the most important of all the guidelines. Conversations on the lists can get heated and direct. Emotions run high, and when there’s a lot of mail flying around, it’s easy to Reply and send without taking a moment to calm down. This is an excellent use of the ‘Save as Draft’ function in most mail clients. It’s okay to write really grumpy snipey email, but do yourself a favor, and before you send it, Save as Draft, and come back to it in half an hour, or a few hours, and re-read your message. Chances are, you’ll be calmer about the topic and can be more constructive in the discussion.

  1. Use clear, concise Subject Lines - Subject lines are the great insight into what a piece of email is about. By using well constructed and informative text, you can let your audience know whether the content might be relevant to them or not.

    Subject: Free Printer available on #42 porch.
    Subject: Free!

  2. Dates are Relative - Sometimes in the moment, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is right there in your head with you. So a posting to a large list that says “I’m going to a movie tomorrow night, anyone want to join me?” may seem unambiguous in the moment, but to someone reading that message the next morning, there’s no easy way to determine what evening you’re talking about. Let alone the problem of what “This weekend” or ‘Next Thursday” means! So when possible, put a date on your message. “I’m going to the movie tomorrow night! (9/2 evening)...”

  1. Signatures - It’s common practice to add a bit of text to the bottom of your email, uniquely identifying yourself, perhaps giving some contact information, and while it’s generally accepted to add a pithy quote or some personal statement, signatures should be kept concise. In addition, there is a standard for signatures that allows them to be hidden in long threads. Putting a ‘-- ’ (that’s two dashes, and a blank space) on it’s own line before your signature tells mail clients that text after this is a signature, and does not need to be shown for every mail message in a thread.

    Example of a bad signature:

    This signature is far too long, does not have a leading separator, and is just plain cumbersome. Remember that a signature is attached to every message you send - is it important to send a link to your twitter account on every message?

    A better version of this signature might simply be::
    John Smith - Top Design Firm - - 555-555-5555

    Any more information someone needs can be found by clicking the link. In the good old days of the internet, a .signature more than 4-5 lines long was considered rude and inconsiderate. In modern day email, the best thing you can do is include a separator above your signature. In mail clients like Gmail, users can still click on the -- and see the signature, but in longer threads, the signature will be hidden.

Colors, Fonts, and HTML - Modern mail systems allow for embedded colors, fonts, and other fancy elements to mail. It’s important to remember that mail is a visual, text-based medium, and just as varying fonts in an advertisement or web page is jarring to the senses, adding colors and font changes to your mail can be as disruptive. While it’s tempting to make your mail ‘stand out’ by using special colors and fonts, it’s almost always a good idea to refrain, and use whatever text settings your client provides by default.

catya Tue, 09/27/2016 - 08:54

Eating Together

Eating Together

One of the great joys and benefits of living at Mosaic Commons is participating in our common meals. Common meals are served in our Common House. Currently we have one or two dinners and one brunch per week, though we hope to have more soon. Members take turns signing up for cooking and/or clean-up teams. If you aren't on the cooking or clean-up team for a meal, just listen for the dinner bell and find a seat! Cooks decide on a menu and post it to our community mailing list about a week before a meal. Interested diners respond online or on a sign-up sheet in the Common House. Currently the charge for most meals is $5 for dinners ($4 for vegetarian options) or $3 for brunches (half that for small children). Meals are scheduled and coordinated by our meals team.

At any given meal, as few as 15 folks may attend, or as many as 50! Most meals include both vegetarian (or vegan) and non-vegetarian dishes. We welcome guests at our common meals. If you'd like to visit, please contact us. Upcoming meals are posted to our community calendar. (Logged in members may view the current meal assignments here.)

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:39

Meals & Food Allergies/Sensitivities

Meals & Food Allergies/Sensitivities

Note: This replaces the previous “Nuts in the Common House” Policy.

To protect people with food allergies and similar sensitivities, we agree to do the following for all community meals, including desserts:
The cook or assistant cook (or the person who brings a potluck dish) will provide complete ingredient lists, including ingredient lists from packaging.   Circle or highlight in some way anything from the known allergens list. 
The first person to start meal prep will thoroughly wipe down surfaces before prep to minimize any contamination from between-meals use of the kitchen.
The clean up team for each meal will make sure that equipment has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after an allergenic substance has come into contact with it.  This would include food processors, stand mixers, cutting boards, knives, and mixing spoons.  
A volunteer allergen list owner will be responsible for keeping the list of currently known allergenic substances up to date, rechecking it at least annually.  The list will be kept both online with this policy and in a prominent place in the Common House kitchen.  Some allergens (e.g., peanuts) may not be stored in the common house - contact the allergen list owner if you have requests. This will be noted prominently on the allergens list.
The Kitchen/Meals team will be responsible for making ingredient sheets for the kitchen that include known allergens, along with checkbox allergen labels for leftovers.  


catya Mon, 04/15/2019 - 18:34

Using the Common House

Using the Common House

See also: About the Common House

The Mosaic Commons Common House is the center of our neighborhood, both physically and socially. It's the place where the community comes together -- for shared meals, for games and entertainment, for meetings, for parties, for hobbies and activities. Policies & Procedures for the Common House

See also:

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:42

Changes in Common Spaces

Changes in Common Spaces

People who want to volunteer to take on projects to make permanent or hard-to-remove changes in common spaces, such as drilling holes or mounting shelves, should:

(a) consult with the Common Resources Team and the room team for that space, to make sure that project is consistent with plans for that space
(b) present a plan for funding
(c) post a drawing or other visual aid for the project in the space and send a note about it to the list. Give the community a week to react, then either post a revised proposal or proceed.

Room teams are welcome to select any colors they like for painting their spaces. If they choose to pick from the established palette, including shades between those on the palette, they may proceed without plenary consensus. If they wish to use any non-palette colors, that is acceptable, as long as they get plenary consensus before painting

For interior painting of the common house, teams shall use primer and paint with no (Zero) VOCs (NOT Low VOC). Brands are only listed to identify the colors, use any Zero VOC brand. There a paint chips available to so that a paint supplier can match the palette colors.

Our Color Palette:

"... a cohesive palette of a variety of colors for wall paint, trim, and accent colors for the Common House. ... Room teams can then decide colors from this palette without further plenary decision."

picture of colors


D40-3 (Olympic) Silent Delight
7002-14 (Valspar) Cream Delight

Light Brown Neutrals:

D27-2 (Olympic) Turning Taupe
D27-3 (Olympic) Creamy Chocolate

Dark Browns:

C25-4 (Olympic) Baby Bear
C25-5 (Olympic) Root Beer
C25-6 (Olympic) Wine Barrel


C44-2 (Olympic) Frosted Lilac
C44-4 (Olympic) Purple Surf
C44-6 (Olympic) Magic Spell


B36-2 (Olympic) Tender Kiss
B36-4 (Olympic) Lush Rose
B36-6 (Olympic) Madeira Red


B22-2 (Olympic) Pat-A-Cake
B22-4 (Olympic) Pumpkin Patch
B22-6 (Olympic) Lucky Penny


A16-3 (Olympic) Shell Flower
A16-4 (Olympic) Honey Toast
A16-6 (Olympic) Sunflower


5006-3A (Valspar) Pale Pastures
5006-3C (Valspar) Green Trellis
5006-4B (Valspar) Filoli Ginko Tree


C56-2 (Olympic) Skyward
C56-4 (Olympic) Crater Lake
C56-5 (Olympic) Castile

catya Sat, 05/12/2012 - 14:06

Common House Room Reservations & Usage

Common House Room Reservations & Usage


The following rooms may be reserved: Great Room, Dining Niche, Kitchen, Living Room, Music Room, Multipurpose Room, Kid's room, Fitness Room, and Porch. 

Calendar System

We will use a public Google Calendar that can be viewed by members without additional login on a mosaic-commons members web page. Users of Google Calendar can also view it on Google Calendar. People and teams can add events directly to the calendar. Event titles will include the abbreviation for the room(s) in which they are held, the name of the member sponsor, and whether the event is open. People are encouraged to post information about their events in the common house as well, especially for large events.

Common Meals & General Meetings

The Kitchen, Dining Niche, and Great Room are "taken" during all Common Meals and General Meetings. The Kids Room may not be reserved during Common Meals or General Meetings without community approval.

Types of Events

Events may be private or open to members and guests. Examples of events include but are not limited to private and community holidays, end of life ceremonies, game days, weddings, graduations parties, work retreats, community retreats, and the occassional get together during a blizzard because the common house has a generator to name a few. 


All events, run by a member or non-member, must have a member sponsor. That sponsor will be responsible for insuring that kitchen, food, and other common facilities policies are followed and that the space is cleaned appropriately after the event, and will be available during the event for any questions or problems. Spaces should be left in at least as good condition as they were found in.

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:46

Guest Reservations

Guest Reservations

If you’d like to have a guest stay in one of our hobby rooms, please use the process below:

1. Add your name, your guest’s name and which hobby room (East or West) you would like to reserve, directly to the Google Calendar (be sure to select “hobby room calendar” and not add it just to your own personal calendar). Please select a check in and check out time instead of checking the “all day” box, so that others have the opportunity to use the room before/after your guest has checked in or out. Please do not change the colors of entries made to Mosaic shared calendars. Most of us discern which calendar an entry is made in by color. If you would like to book more than 5 nights in a row, please contact our concierge, before you put it on Google Calendar as this may have to be run by the community for decision. Or you can contact the concierge, and the concierge will set up the reservation for you.

If you would like to access the hobby room shared calendar or any of the Mosaic Commons shared calendars using your own calendar application (rather than from the terminal in the Common House hub), please contact, providing a list of calendars you would like to access and the Google account (gmail address) you will be using to access the calendars.

2. The owner that signs up for the guest room is the “host” and is responsible for setting up clean linens and towels beforehand. Rooms will be left unlocked when not in use by a guest. Hosts who would like their guests to have extra keys can get them from the concierge. Guests staying more than one night “own” the room during their stay.

3. Kindly inform your guest to refrain from using loud voices, smoking (of any kind) and using scented products. There is a reminder sign in each hobby room.

4. Turnover between guests should be negotiated between hosts, with noon out and 3pm in as a starting point. Hosts are responsible for stripping the bed, washing the sheets, bed covers and towels and returning them back to the hobby room after their guest leaves. Rooms should be left with the appropriate cover for the bed/futon/couch.

5. Each household gets 5 free guest room nights per calendar year. Anything over that is charged at $10 a night. Please remit your payment in the form of a check along with your name, your guest’s name and which room they stayed in to the bookkeeper. If you prefer, the bookkeeper can add it to your statement and you can pay by check or PayPal. Just let the bookkeeper know.

6. We are open to other cohousers and cohousing groups using our space. Visits will be coordinated by the concierge, Catya, or another volunteer, with a $20/night suggested donation.

catya Fri, 03/16/2012 - 08:19

Fragrances in the Common House

Fragrances in the Common House

Mosaic Commons has a number of people who are sensitive to both natural and artificial fragrances. This agreement is intended to limit the use of fragrances that cause problems for residents, members, and regular guests to our common house.

In general, it is helpful to look for something on the label that says "fragrance-free" or "unscented".

In the common house, we will only use unscented hand soap, dish soap, and common house laundry detergent.

We will buy and use unscented, environmentally friendly common house cleaning supplies and bathroom deodorizers for regular use. When these are unavailable, we will strive to use the least scented, most environmentally friendly products appropriate to the job

Cut flowers may be used for short periods for private events in the common house but should not be left in the common house after your event.

People using the hobby rooms will be asked not to use scented products in the rooms, and to minimize the use of scented soaps and lotions.

People using the common house should be conscious of fragrance sensitivities.

In the laundry room, people are encouraged to use unscented products. Scented products must be closed securely when not in use, and the use of scented products is limited to the labeled washer and dryer.

We recognize that it is hard to know if a particular fragrance is a problem for someone else. People who have reactions to a scent in the common house are asked to inform the individual or the community so that changes can be made for the future. If a scent-sensitive individual needs help starting a conversation about fragrance usage with another community member or guest, they should feel free to contact Community Support.

catya Mon, 10/19/2015 - 10:40

Holiday and Event Common House Decorations Guidelines

Holiday and Event Common House Decorations Guidelines

Ambient decorations for holidays and seasons will be limited to a small space, such as a table or corner and a small part of one adjacent wall.

For Mosaic Events, offered by and for our community, decorations may appear throughout the common areas, for about a week before the event.

For other events decorations may appear in the main room of the common house, or in the room where the event is taking place, for about a day before the event.

Decorations for all events should be removed by the end of the day following the event.

catya Sun, 10/20/2013 - 10:00

Painting in the Common House

Painting in the Common House

Our Color Palette: "... a cohesive palette of a variety of colors for wall paint, trim, and accent colors for the Common House. ... Room teams can then decide colors from this palette without further plenary decision."

Color Palette 2013


D40-3 (Olympic) Silent Delight
7002-14 (Valspar) Cream Delight

Light Brown Neutrals:
D27-2 (Olympic) Turning Taupe
D27-3 (Olympic) Creamy Chocolate

Dark Browns:
C25-4 (Olympic) Baby Bear
C25-5 (Olympic) Root Beer
C25-6 (Olympic) Wine Barrel

C44-2 (Olympic) Frosted Lilac
C44-4 (Olympic) Purple Surf
C44-6 (Olympic) Magic Spell

B36-2 (Olympic) Tender Kiss
B36-4 (Olympic) Lush Rose
B36-6 (Olympic) Madeira Red

B22-2 (Olympic) Pat-A-Cake
B22-4 (Olympic) Pumpkin Patch
B22-6 (Olympic) Lucky Penny

A16-3 (Olympic) Shell Flower
A16-4 (Olympic) Honey Toast
A16-6 (Olympic) Sunflower

Greens: 5006-3A (Valspar) Pale Pastures
5006-3C (Valspar) Green Trellis
5006-4B (Valspar) Filoli Ginko Tree

C56-2 (Olympic) Skyward
C56-4 (Olympic) Crater Lake
C56-5 (Olympic) Castile

catya Mon, 09/29/2014 - 09:39
davepic.jpg (8.17 KB)

Paper Goods & Laundry Products

Paper Goods & Laundry Products

Recycled Products

Paper goods purchased by the group for Common House use should be made from recycled material, if possible. Plastic purchased should be re-usable, recyclable, or biodegradable, if possible.

Laundry Products

Fragrance free, eco-friendly detergent will be provided in laundry room.

There will be no storage of fragranced products in laundry room.

Of the three washing machines and dryers in the common house, two of each will be designated "fragrance-free" and one of each "fragrances ok". In the "fragrance-free" washers and dryers, do not use products with fragrances or any dryer sheets.

Fabric dying and bleaching may be done in the "fragrances ok" washer. Care must be taken not
affect other users.

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:45

Television in the Common House

Television in the Common House

The community has purchased a cable tuner for use in the common house, to be kept in the MPR closet when not in use. In order to incorporate the value of intentionality, the viewing space (which can be any room in the CH - LR, GR, MPR, etc) needs to be reserved on the calendar with the word 'Tuner'. The person who reserves the space is responsible for setting up, operating, and returning the tuner to the MPR closet at the end of the event

catya Sun, 01/12/2014 - 19:23

In and Around our Homes

In and Around our Homes

See also: About our Homes

Agreements & policies about things that happen inside and just outside our individual homes.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:18



  1. Any structural changes inside or outside need trustee approval, not to be withheld unreasonably.
    1. Documents needed to grant approval include, but may not be limited to, proof of liability insurance from the contractor hired to make the structural changes.
  2. Any non-structural change needing a permit needs trustee notification prior to work beginning. 
  3. Any exterior changes (painting, awnings, propane tanks, solar installations, and the like) need approval from the other owners in the same building, not to be withheld unreasonably (as in the Trust).
  4. Any non-structural interior changes need no approval.
  5. When an owner applies for a government permit for any kind of change, a copy of the application needs to be provided to the trustees right away. A revised floor plan is also required.
  6. Any owner who makes a change thereby assumes responsibility for any maintenance or repair caused directly or indirectly by the change.  
admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:20

Back yards

Back yards

Back Yard MapSemi-private backyard areas are defined for each unit (see map). These spaces are intended for primary use by the residents of the unit for such purposes as BBQing, gardening, relaxing, drying clothes, etc. They are not legally deeded as "exclusive use" areas.

Residents are asked to respect their neighbors in how they design, use, and keep up their yards. Trash and any items that pose a safety hazard are not allowed. If your landscaping makes it difficult to mow the lawn, you become responsible for mowing your own lawn.

Neighbors are asked to respect residents' requests for privacy when choosing whether to pass through backyards.

A minimum of 30 days notice to the community is required before installing any large structures or plantings (including decks, fences, and trees), to allow time for feedback from neighbors. Some items (such as additions and paved areas; see condo documents) require the approval of the entire HOA before installation. Any items which will affect the HOA's liability insurance rates (as determined by the current insurance carrier) also require group approval.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:26

Owner's Rental Policy

Owner's Rental Policy

When choosing a Renter, Mosaic Commons encourages the Owner to select an individual or family which has an interest in cohousing and living in community. Mosaic Commons then encourages the Renter/s to become Associate Members of the community.

Definition of terms:
Household member: Any family member, partner or rent paying individual who spends a considerable amount of time in the Owner’s house.
Renter: Either a single person who is a housemate of the Owner or a group of people who rent an entire unit from an absent Owner.

The following requirements apply to both whole house Renters (when the owner is absent) and housemates and household members of the Owner:

  1. Renters and household members must agree to abide by all rules set forth by the HOA and the co-housing association.
  2. Owners are responsible for condo and cohousing fees.
  3. Owners are responsible for any property damage to common areas and/or individual units incurred by Renters or household members.
  4. Owners will work with the integration team to find mentor for their Renters. The mentor shall introduce the Renters to other members of the community and be available to answer questions and explain rules and customs to the Renter.

The following requirements apply only when the Owner is absent from their unit. These requirements can be waived at any time by the HOA Trustees.

  1. Rent is negotiated between the Owner and the Renter and a written lease must be signed by both parties. A copy of the lease must be given to the HOA Trustees.
  2. Leases have a maximum term of one year.
  3. Leases are renewable subject to the approval of the HOA Trustees.

Please note that this applies only to our Market Rate units. Affordable units are required by the powers that be to be owner-occupied

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:19

Recycling and Trash

Recycling and Trash

If in doubt, look it up at

All single-stream recycling in Massachusetts goes to one of about six materials recycling facilities (MRFs) in the state, where it is processed, baled and sold. Contamination in our recycling bins results in rejection. Massachusetts now permits only 2-3% contamination because any more means it can't be sold to China, where most of our recycling goes for re-manufacture.

That means we have to be very careful about what we put into our Lawrence Waste dumpsters! 

The single worst thing to put in single-stream recycling dumpsters like ours is plastic bags! They tangle the machinery, resulting in work stoppage, and sometimes physical harm.

When thinking about whether something can be put in our recycling dumpsters, first consider whether it could hurt someone when being processed in fast-moving machinery. Long, sharp pieces of metal are not OK, whatever they are. Hoses and cords of any kind should not be put in the single-stream dumpsters because they can tangle the machinery.

Items with food waste or soil are not recyclable.  Rinse!

It ALL goes in together:

  • Newspapers, Magazines, Catalogs
  • Telephone/Soft Cover Books
  • Junk Mail/ Envelopes (All types)
  • Paper (all colors, staples/paper clips are okay)
  • Paperboard (cereal/shoe boxes)
  • Milk/Juice Cartons
  • Cardboard/Brown Paper Bags
  • Plastic food & beverage containers marked #1-7
  • Soda/Juice/Water bottles (glass or plastic)
  • Mile Jugs, Bleach/Detergent, Shampoo Bottles
  • Food containers (cottage cheese/margarine/yogurt)
  • Glass bottles/Jar (any color)
  • Aluminum (pie plates/trays/foil)
  • Metal Cans (tin/steel/aluminum)

What NOT to include:

  • No plastic bags (or recyclables in Plastic Bags)
  • No Unmarked plastics (laundry baskets, chairs, toys)
  • No windows/light bulbs
  • No dishes, no Pyrex, No ceramics
  • No foam packaging, no styrofoam
  • No aerosol cans (paint, hairstray, cleaners)
  • No recyclables containing food waste

Massachusetts Statewide Waste Banned Items:

  • Televisions & Computer monitors
  • Mattressses & Box Springs
  • White Goods (large appliances)
  • Anything containing freon (air conditions, refrigerators, water bottle coolers & Freezers)
  • Tires & Car Batteries
  • Motor Oil & Liquid Paints
  • Propane Tanks
  • Asbestos & Hazardous waste items
  • Construction and demolition debris
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:54

Septic System

Septic System

We are all very excited to be here and to have this beautiful land to enjoy.  As custodians of the land it falls to us to care for it as best we can.  Part of that care is being mindful of what goes into our land by way of our septic system.  Taking care of what goes down the drain will benefit us by reducing the expense of maintaining our system and by keeping the land healthy.  Our waste is managed by a septic system that feeds into a leach field at the northwest corner of our land bordering conservation area.  What goes in will come out in one form or another so as you can see it is important to follow the guidelines below as much as you can.

Sound operation practices include water conservation and keeping harmful substances out of the system. Good operation and maintenance practices start with everyone in your household knowing what damages the septic system.

Household Cleaners, Chemicals and Other Waste
A septic system is essentially a living organism that processes waste through bacterial action.  These bacteria break down the solids in waste allowing it to pass back into the ecosystem through the leach field.  These bacteria can be poisoned by non-environmentally friendly cleaners and household chemicals causing the system to require expensive maintenance and repair.

Never Dispose of Any of the following by pouring down the drain or flushing down the toilet:

Automotive Oil


Chemical Fertilizers

Coolants (anti-freeze)





Motor Fuels


Paint Thinners


Photographic Solutions



Water from Washing Paint
Brushes and Buckets

Avoid as much as possible:


Drain Cleaners

Powdered Detergents

Anti-Bacterial Soaps

Harsh Detergents and Soaps

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Disinfectant Cleaners

Suggested Alternatives: (Need to get comprehensive list of alternatives)

Simple Green

Using too much soap or detergent can cause problems with the septic system. It is difficult to estimate how dirty a load of laundry is, and most people use far more cleaning power than is needed. If there are lots of suds in your laundry tub when the washer discharges, cut back on the amount of detergent for the next similar load.  It’s better for the system, and conserves soap.

It's generally best not to use inexpensive detergents which may contain excessive amounts of filler or carrier.  Some of these fillers are montmorillonite clay, which is used to seal soils thereby reducing the effectiveness of the leech field.  The best solution may be to use a liquid laundry detergent, since they are less likely to have carriers or fillers that may harm the septic system.

Household Cooking Oils and Liquefied Meat Fats (such as bacon grease) may pass through the septic tank and as they cool, solidify and clog the leaching fields. ALWAYS Dispose of the fats and greases in a container in the house hold garbage.

Sink Installed Garbage Disposals are not permissible- Coarse organic matter such as vegetable trimmings and ground-up garbage and coffee grounds increases household waste by more than 40% and will over load the septic tank. 

“Step Away From the Toilet!”- Things to avoid flushing

Never flush the following items:

Paper Towels

Facial Tissues

Diaper Wipes

Disposable Diapers

Cat Litter

Coffee Grounds

Sanitary Napkins


Cigarette Butts


Fat or Grease


Dental Floss

Other Non-Decomposable Materials

It is recommended to use a good quality toilet tissue that breaks up easily when wet. One way to find one is to put a hand full of toilet tissue in a fruit jar half full of water. Shake the jar and if the tissue breaks up easily, the product is suitable for the septic tank.


Reducing Water Consumption
Tips to help reduce water consumption:

  • Check faucets and toilets for leaks; make repairs if necessary.  You can check your toilet for leaks once a year by putting a couple drops of food coloring into the tank, if the color seeps into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.
  • Use aerators on faucets and flow reducer nozzles on showers to help lower water consumption.
  • Reduce water levels for small loads of laundry, or better yet, only run full loads spread out over the week.
  • Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Keep a bottle of water in your refrigerator instead of running the water till it gets cold enough to drink.
  • Take shorter showers and reduce water levels for baths.
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:55

Vehicles on the Pedestrian Way

Vehicles on the Pedestrian Way

Pedestrian Way MapWe intend to limit powered vehicle traffic on our pedestrian paths while making it possible to load and unload heavy objects as necessary, and allow residents and guests to be dropped off close to their units as needed. This policy does not apply to emergency vehicles.

Unpowered vehicles and those with electric motors of less than 5 hp (e.g. electric wheelchairs, mobility devices) may be ridden on all parts of the pedestrian way (Green and Blue and Red on the map)

In addition, a car or small truck may be driven on the parts of the pedestrian way closest to the parking lots (Blue on the map) if the vehicle fits and stays on the paved area and not on the geoweb* and:

  • You are using it to help you move many items in or out of your unit that would be difficult to move with hand carts, or
  • It is delivering large article/s such as appliances or furniture, or
  • You are using it to bring a guest or resident who can not otherwise easily get from the parking to the unit.

Furthermore, a car or small truck may be driven on the north triangle access stub (green on the map) for any of the above reasons, or for the following reasons:

  • You are using it to help you move many items in or out of your unit, including routine loading and unloading such as of groceries or musical equipment.
  • You are dropping off or picking up residents or guests to avoid a long walk through undesirable conditions, such as ice.

Cars and trucks on the pedestrian way must be driven slowly and carefully, not left to idle, left unattended only while loading or unloading, and removed as soon as possible. Members are responsible for the vehicles of their guests or people working on/in their homes.

Moving trucks: If a moving truck does not fit on the pavement in the Blue zones, members must notify the community and seek help finding ways to avoid driving on the geoweb*. However if a solution is not found, or the community determines the ground is solid, moving trucks are permitted on the geoweb.

* Geoweb was installed under the soil on the sides of the blue pathways (and the arms of the red northern triangle) in order to provide a stable surface for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:29

The Business of Living Here

The Business of Living Here

Meetings, Decision making, our HOA / Condo Association, Fiscal policies, and more

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:33

Meetings & Decisions

Meetings & Decisions

Thumbs upFor our meeting schedule, check the calendar on the home page.

Visitors are welcome! We make decisions by consensus. Our trained facilitation team helps us all stay on track and keeps us to our ground rules

We use a color-card system to help our discussion and consensus process.

We have many roles during the meetings. One or two people arrive first to set up the room. Our facilitators guide the presenters and the rest of the group through discussion and decision process. A notetaker and an action-item recorder help us keep track of everything. One person volunteers to be a process observer, and keep an eye on the emotional temperature of the meetings. Our residents, prospective members and visitors all participate in the discussion, but only residents participate in decisions.

Under some circumstances, we make decisions outside of meetings, using our Urgent Decisions process. Members who will not be at a General Meeting can proxy, per these guidelines. We also do have the ability to fall back to a 3/4 vote if we are unable to come to consensus on an issue in a couple of meetings (we have not yet needed to vote).

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:38

Color Cards

Color Cards

We use color cards as a tool for reaching consensus, and to help organize our discussions.

If you have any questions about the cards or the meeting process in general, please feel free to talk to someone on the facilitation team.

Discussion Cards:

Blue Comment: I have a comment or opinion.
Yellow Question: I have a question or need clarification.
Answer: I can provide clarification, by providing information that I feel is pertinent to a question raised.
Orange Acknowledgement: I appreciate your contribution made to the group (thank you)!
Red Process: I have a process observation (e.g., discussion is off-topic).

Consensus Cards:

Green I agree with the proposal.
Yellow I have a question that must be answered before I make a decision.
Blue I am neutral or have some slight reservation.
Orange I have a serious reservation but will not block consensus.
Red Block: I am against the proposal and feel it would be bad for the group.
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:39

Decisions between Meetings

Decisions between Meetings

When a member (Associate or Resident) determines that we need to come to consensus on an issue between general meetings, he or she will bring the issue to Steering. Steering is responsible for invoking and tracking this process, and may delegate to the initiator or someone else to do some of the steps below.

If a decision has been determined to be time-critical by Steering and may need to be taken to a vote between meetings, additional steps apply as noted. Time-critical decisions that need to happen during meetings are addressed by the Time Critical Decisions policy.

Wording for the proposal will be determined and communicated to all members first electronically, including the timeframe required for the decision and whether the decision is time-critical. Members are responsible for answering the poll, including whether they are abstaining. Members who have opted out of decisions between meetings may answer the poll, but are not required for the 75% threshold

If the decision is time critical, each person will be asked to both give a card and to give their vote in case of a fallback to vote.

A sign will be put up on the front door of the common house indicating that there is a decision between meetings in process, the proposal wording, and the deadline. In addition, Steering (or delegate) will try at least one other way (phone, knocking on doors, etc) to reach each and every member who has not opted out of decisions between meetings. People who submit cards by phone or in person will have their answers entered for others to view.

Based on the comments and cards of others, members can go back and change their cards until the decision closes.

75% of members who have not opted out of decisions between meetings must provide a response in order to close the decision. If a third or more of the responses are orange cards or if there are any red cards, the decision does not pass.

If a time critical decision does not pass, we then fall to a vote.

Decisions between meetings will be reported by Steering (or delegate) at the next General Meeting and added to the minutes at that time. The date of the decision in the decision log will be the date the result of the decision is announced.

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:41

Delegation & Power Levels

Delegation & Power Levels

In the team mandates, and in our discussion, we sometimes mention Power Levels. Here are the definitions:

Power Level 1: May ask that an issue come to plenary (at a minimum, everyone has this power, assuming the request meets the group-defined standards for what's plenary worthy).

Power Level 2: May bring a proposal to plenary. This would generally happen in the context of a team operating within their territory and where the factors that need to be balanced have already been defined by the plenary.

Power Level 3: May post a tentative decision which will become a group agreement if no one objects within a specified amount of time; the proposal need not come to plenary if concerns can be addressed outside.

Power Level 4: May make binding decisions on their own; they only have to announce the decision.

catya Tue, 07/21/2015 - 08:13



Any member of Mosaic Commons Cohousing may request an exception to an existing policy. All exceptions will be submitted to Steering who may decide them, pass them to another team or bring them to the plenary. The expectation is that finances and physical plant issues will be referred to Trustees. Steering will tell the community about the exception and how it is being addressed.

catya Fri, 12/11/2015 - 09:41

Gatekeeping Plenary Agendas

Gatekeeping Plenary Agendas…
Laird Schaub, Friday, January 25, 2008

Gatekeeping Plenary Agendas

I'm in Asheville this weekend, doing a CANBRIDGE series of workshops on cooperative group dynamics. This evening I presented key elements of consensus, and there's a new piece of theory that I've recently added to what I offer on this subject: how the agenda gets drafted for plenaries (meetings of the whole).
Group time is expensive. If you've got 20 in your group, a three-minute statement uses one hour of people time. So you want to minimize confusion about the agenda and make sure that all topics are queued up and ready to go. Here's my best thinking about how to do that:
Create a standing cmtee whose task it is to be the gatekeeper for plenary agendas. Caution #1: the composition of this cmtee may be delicate. It has to be large enough to be widely accessible to the group's membership; it has to be small enough to be able to function expeditiously. I'm think perhaps 3-4 people is the right number (that way, when someone is on vacation or sick, the cmtee can still function well). Caution #2: For this cmtee, don't simply ask for volunteers. The make-up of this group needs to be perceived as fairly balanced, to be well trusted.
Assuming you've selected a good representative group, their job is to vet any and all suggestions for what makes it to the plenary floor. Essentially they'll use three screens to do this. In sequence, they'll test for:

1. Is the topic plenary worthy? The cmtee should be acting on the group's behalf to make sure that all things coming forward are appropriate for whole group attention. That means the group will need to have a conversation about what's worth their time (so that the cmtee will have guidance about what the screen should be—you don't want them just making something up!). Hint: here are my suggestions about the kinds of things that might qualify:

o clarifying cmty values (both in general and how they are to be applied in a specific situation)
o establishing process agreements by which the cmty will operate
o determining mandates for cmtees that serve the plenary (as opposed to mandates for subcmtees, which will be determined by the cmtees they serve)
o relationships for neighbors, other organizations, and government
o changes to the cmty budget (excepting where that authority has been clearly delegated)
o evaluation of cmtees which serve the plenary
o membership process
o establishment of members' rights and responsibilities
o expulsion, or other involuntary changes to a member's rights and responsibilities
o anything for which there is no established cmtee or manager to handle it on behalf of the cmty (once it has been determined to be, in some sense, cmty business).
o court of last resort in cases where internal cmty disputes are not settled through other means

Note that it is not that unusual for some aspects of a topic to be plenary worthy and some aspects not to be. It's the gatekeepers' job to use discernment and help protect the plenary from inappropriate agendas. If something doesn't fit—in the Gatekeepers view—they should suggest where it should go instead (perhaps to a cmtee or manager with sufficient authority to deal with the issue at that level).

2. Is the topic mature enough? Has all the research you might reasonably anticipate being needed been done? Can it be posted sufficiently ahead of the mtg that everyone has a decent chance to look over the background materials? Does the presenter have their schtick together? Is the objective for the plenary focus clear?

3. What is the priority of this topic relative to others that have passed the first two screens? That is, there may be more topcis that are worthya dn mature than can be done in the time available for the next pkenary. Don't try to shoehorn a 3-hour agenda into a 90-minute mtg. Pick what's most important, most urgent, or been waiting the longest, and let the other topics wait for another mtg.

Note that the gatekeepers should not approach their job as the Agenda Police. Rather they should be problem solvers, helping members and cmtees to think creatively about what is a good use of plenary time, and what will help them get their needs met. They are seeking the intersection of the group's needs and those of the people petitioning for time on the plenary floor.
If there's dissatisfaction with the gatekeepers decision, there should be a right of appeal whereby unsuccessful petitioners can get plenary time to make a pitch for why they think their issue should come before the whole group and ovetunr the gatekeepers assessment. Note: this is not an opportunity for an end run to discus the topic; it's a chance to make one last attempt to have cmty support for topci about the issue at a later date. Don't confuse the two.
Once they crafted a draft agenda, the gatekeepers should turn their work over to the Facilitation Team for determining who should run the mtg, in what order topics should appear, and with what format they should be addressed. I'll discuss how the Facilitation Team should approach their work in my next blog

catya Wed, 03/21/2012 - 09:23

Ground Rules

Ground Rules

  • When in doubt about the process, the facilitator decides.
  • Use the Color Cards.
  • Stay on topic.
  • No side conversations.
  • Speak for yourself, and allow others to speak for themselves.
  • Be succinct.
  • Avoid repeating a point or idea that has already been stated by yourself or others.
  • Listen for understanding before you react.
  • Ask questions rather than make assumptions — if confused, ask!
  • Emotions are okay, aggression is not.
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:39



A proxy is a way of participating in a consensus call when you're not at a meeting. A proxy must be given to someone on the Facilitation Team — telling a friend or partner is not sufficient for a proxy.

You may proxy when we are deciding on a policy or other document where the wording has been finalized and sent out in advance, and we don't expect further discussion in a meeting. For example, if we have a final copy of a contract and we only need to take cards to get official approval after having worked through people's comments and concerns, you could proxy on that decision.

If there is a decision where there will be substantial discussion before the final wording is established and consensus called for, you may share your concerns with the group via email beforehand or by sending along something to be read on your behalf. You may not proxy a card in this situation. For example, if we're discussing a draft of a policy for which we have options of different approaches, a proxy would not be appropriate.

If the discussion leads to a decision that you don't feel you can support, you should raise the issue for further discussion at the next meeting, per our initial Organizing Agreement.

People who know they will be missing a meeting and who want to address a topic that will be discussed at the meeting are, as always, welcome to discuss it via email beforehand.

We require that people participating in a consensus decision in the group be up-to-date on the issue at hand. While this is less of a factor for people showing blue or green cards on an issue, the expectation is that someone holding a red or orange card on a question will be informed enough on the issue that s/he can speak effectively to his/her concerns, so that the group can address them.

It's important for all of us to remember that consensus decision-making is a process, and something that doesn't work for someone in the group can usually be reworked in such a way that everyone can come away happy. We encourage everyone to start discussions with a flexible frame of mind!

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:43

Red Card and Plenary Decision Making

Red Card and Plenary Decision Making

The intention of this policy is to make the red card a part of our process rather than a stop to our process.  This agreement and the criteria it names are intended to be flexible, but outlined so everyone can know how to engage the process.


General Assumptions

  1. Please assume that all participants are competent and of good will.

  2. Please assume that the community both values and is committed to having those who disagree with proposals help seek mutually acceptable and workable solutions.

The goal of the red card process is to make it so that people who believe that a decision is not in the best interest of the community can stop that decision. Use of a valid red card blocks a proposal. It is expected that those stopping the decision will work with the proposers to resolve any issues, usually in time for the next meeting of the plenary.

The second time the same, perhaps revised, proposal comes to the plenary, if there continue to be valid red cards around the same issues, any member, including the facilitator, can call for a decision on whether the group is deadlocked.  If a deadlock is declared, the decision on the proposal proceeds to a vote, to be held at the next scheduled meeting of the plenary, or at a special meeting, depending on urgency.  The agenda for the meeting will highlight that a ‘Community Vote’ will take place.  Cohousing proposals require a 75% majority of those present to pass.  

HOA decisions will follow the voting policies outlined in sections 4.1, 4.2, 5.9.3, and 5.10 of the Mosaic Commons Declaration of Trust:

Mosaic Commons Declaration of Trust, filed (

HOA Voting Process Page (

At each pass, people using red and orange cards will be given the opportunity to choose to stand aside rather than block the decision. To stand aside is to say that you have an individual objection but a willingness for the community, having heard your objection, to move ahead.  Stand Asides do not block. People who stand aside are not exempted from the results of the decision.  There are circumstances where Facilitation may decide that we have not really come to consensus and the issue will be referred back to the proposer(s).

Valid Red Cards

After the person who used a red card explains their objection, the facilitator calls for a second member to affirm their reasoning to help make sure that the community's interests are upheld.  This person does not have to AGREE with the block, just agree that the reasoning is valid.

On the first pass a valid use of a red card is one where

  1. The person using the red card argues that the proposal is not in the best interests of this community as a whole:

    1. The content does not further or protect Mosaic Commons’ values, mission, practices, or vision.

    2. The process used to develop the proposal conflicts with Mosaic Commons’ values, mission, practices or vision.

  2. AND
  1. For content objections, the person using the red card has been involved in some way with this discussion before this meeting - either online, at a past meeting, or in conversation with one of the proposers or team members presenting.  If the proposal has come to the plenary for first discussion and decision in a single meeting, the discussion in the meeting counts as involvement.

  2. After the person who used a red card explains their reasoning, one member of the plenary affirms the validity of the reasoning with respect to #1 above.

On the second pass a valid use of a red card is one where

  1. The person using the red card argues that the proposal is not in the best interests of this community as a whole - it does not further or protect Mosaic Commons’ values, mission, practices, or vision.

  2. The person using the red card

    1. has been involved in the revisioning process.

    2. is red carding for a new reason because of changes to the proposal (and has not been involved in the revision process.)

  3. AND

  1. After the person who used a red card explains their reasoning, one member of the plenary affirms the validity of the reasoning with respect to #1 above.

catya Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:16

Time Critical Decisions

Time Critical Decisions

From time to time, we will be faced with the need to make a decision in a single meeting, without taking it to several meetings before falling back to a vote. This policy is intended to be used only for those time-critical decisions.

The team or presenter for a given item should make an announcement to the trustees in response to the call for agenda items preceding that meeting. The group will be asked to consense on the time critical nature of the decision and a discussion deadline time at that meeting. If we do not reach consensus on the decision in question by that time, we will follow our voting procedure to decide the question at that meeting. The facilitators may decide that we are close to consensus on an issue, and may push back the deadline to accommodate that, before falling back to a vote.

Note from the construction phase: "If we fail to consense on falling back to a vote, do not have a quorum, or for any other reason fail to make the decision, we will accept any and all impact of the lack of a decision, and not hold our professionals responsible for it."

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:42



If no consensus can be reached on a proposal after consensus has been called for at each of two consecutive meetings, with at least eighteen hours between such meetings, the proposal may be deemed deadlocked.

At the end of the second meeting or at any subsequent meeting, any Member or Associate can call for a decision that the proposal is deadlocked. If a Quorum is present and a 3/4 Majority of the votes cast agrees that the proposal is deadlocked, a vote shall be taken at the next meeting.

When the vote is taken, if a Quorum has submitted votes and the proposal is approved by a 3/4 Majority of the votes cast, the proposal shall be accepted. Proxy votes count in figuring the Quorum and in tallying votes.

Guidelines for Voting

Consensus/voting (in the event that consensus cannot be reached on a given question):

A. When dealing with decisions pertaining to organizational and administrative structure, finances, acquisition and disposal of property interests, and legal concerns of the Group, each Member Household shall be entitled to a single vote.

B. When dealing with decisions regarding present and future living matters in the cohousing community such as social activites, rules and regulations, committee membership, and other community tasks, all participating individuals (Members and Associates) shall have individual votes.

In the event of a disagreement as to whether a particular matter belongs under subsection a or b above, the particular decision will automatically be considered to fall under subsection a.

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:44

HOA / Condo Association

HOA / Condo Association

Current Mosaic Trustees

  • Kathryn Skoog
    Current term ends in 2023
  • Julie Malik
    Current term ends in 2023
  • Noel Rosenberg
    Current term ends in 2024
  • Stephanie Doss-Robertson
    Current term ends in 2024
  • Alison Cohen
    Current term ends in 2025
  • Perley Mears
    Current term ends in 2025

Current Mosaic representative on the Sawyer Hill Board of Trustees

  • Dave Getman
  • Dave Shevett
  • Noel Rosenberg

Mosaic Commons is set up as a condominium and governed by our Condo Documents, below. All homeowners are part of our homeowner's association, Mosaic Commons Condominium Trust. Unlike a traditional condominium, we are a cohousing community. Residents and owners are therefore active participants in managing our community. Mosaic Commons cohousing makes decisions by consensus at monthly meetings, and on our community mailing list.

Sawyer Hill Documents

Mosaic Commons

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:38

HOA Voting Process

HOA Voting Process

From the Mosaic Commons Condominiums Trust - Declaration of Trust as of July 25, 2017 - this does not supersede the actual language of the declaration.

Section 4.1 Beneficial Interest; Vote.

The beneficiaries of this Trust shall be the Unit Owners. The beneficial interest in this Trust shall be divided among the Unit Owners in percentage of undivided beneficial interest appertaining to the respective Units as set forth in the Master Deed. Notwithstanding the beneficial interest in this Trust, each Unit will be entitled to one (1) vote unless otherwise specified in the Master Deed, this Declaration of Trust or the Bylaws.

Section 4.2 Each Unit to Vote by One Person.

The beneficial interest of each Unit of the Condominium shall be held and exercised as a Unit and shall not be divided among several owners of any such Unit. To that end, whenever any Unit is owned of record by more than one person, the several owners of such Unit shall (a) determine and designate which one of such owners shall be authorized and entitled to cast votes, execute instruments and otherwise exercise the rights appertaining to such Unit hereunder, and (b) notify the Trustees of such designation by a notice in writing signed by the record owners of such Unit. Any such designation shall take effect upon receipt by the Trustees and may be changed at any time and from time to time by notice as aforesaid. In the absence of any such notice of designation, the Trustees may designate any one such owner for such purposes.


Section 5.9.3 Notice of Certain Matters; Quorum; Majority Vote.

Whenever at any meeting the Trustees propose to submit to the Unit Owners any matter with respect to which specific approval of, or action by, the Unit Owners is required by law or this Declaration of Trust, the notice of such meeting shall so state and reasonably specify such matter. Unit Owners shall attempt in good faith to reach a consensus of all Unit Owners in attendance before putting any matter to a vote, and if such a consensus is reached, the decision shall be binding and recorded in the minutes of the meeting. If a consensus is not reached, the matter may be proposed to the Unit Owners for a binding vote. Unless otherwise specified in this Declaration for a particular kind of decision, all matters shall require the approval of sixty-six and sixty-six one hundredths percent (66.66%) of all present Unit Owners at any duly called meeting at which a quorum is present. There shall be a quorum at any meeting of the Unit Owners if there are eighty percent (80%) or more Unit Owners present. Each unit shall have one vote to be deisgnated in accordance with Section 4.2.

Section 5.10 Notice to Unit Owners.

Every notice to any Unit Owner required under the provisions of this Declaration of Trust which may be deemed by the Trustees necessary or desirable in connection with the execution of the Trust created hereby or which may be ordered in any judicial proceeding shall be deemed sufficient and binding if in writing addressed to the Unit Owner and delivered to the Unit Owner's inbox in the Common House, delivered postage prepaid to such person at his or her address last appearing on the Trustees' records if other than the Unit or else mailed and delivered to the Unit at least seven days prior to the date fixed for the happening of the matter, thing or event of which such notice is given. Each Unit Owner shall have the responsibility of providing the Trustees with the correct name and mailing address of the present Unit Owner to whom they desire notices to be mailed withing sixty (60) says of acquisition of the Unit or from time to time when there are changes in the Unit Owner's name and mailing address, as to which the Trustees shall have no duty of inquiring beyond their records. Unit Owners waive any objection to the adequacy of notice regarding any particular meeting by attending the meeting.

catya Tue, 07/25/2017 - 17:29

Trustee's Fiscal Policies

Trustee's Fiscal Policies

The trustees, as managers of both HOA and CoHousing budgets, will follow these fiscal policies:

1. Each team is authorized to spend their budgeted allocations within their mandate without needing additional approval. Trustees should be notified in advance of any single expense over $500, and teams need to work with trustees on timing/cash flow if they anticipated spending over $1,000 in a given month.

2. The community will consense on all expenditures from either the HOA or CoHousing capital reserves [except as explicitly allowed by 2a. and 2b. below]. However, before going to the community HOA reserve requests should come to trustees for their recommendation. (CoHousing Reserve Requests will be handled first by Common Resources)

2a. Planned Reserve Spending, HOA - The trustees can authorize spending out of the HOA reserves up to the lesser of $10,000 or 10% of current reserves. Such spending must be on items outlined in the most recent reserve study conducted by the community. Whenever possible, the trustees will notify the community at least 3 days in advance of such expenditure. In any event, the trustees will notify the community within 30 days of each such expenditure, via email and/or a regular report at a General Meeting.

2b. Planned Reserve Spending, CoHousing - Common Resources can authorize spending out of the CoHousing reserves up to $2000. Such spending must be on items outlined in the CoHousing Reserve Plan. Whenever possible, Common Resources will notify the community at least 3 days in advance of such expenditure. In any event, Common Resources will notify the community within 30 days of each such expenditure, via email and/or a regular report at a General Meeting. Common Resources will also follow the notification requirements of fiscal policy 1 whenever such spending exceeds those thresholds.

3. With approval from both teams concerned, trustees can authorize transfer of miscellaneous or other unspent funds of up to $250 from a team’s budget to another team which has or foresees to overspend their budgeted amount. Any transfer above this amount requires community approval.

4. In February of each year the trustees will present to the community a balance of the previous year's accounts with recommendations on how to allocate any previous year’s unspent funds.

admin Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:45

Sliding Scale

Sliding Scale

This process describes how households decide what their contribution to the cohousing group's costs will be.

It does not apply to condo fees, but is used for the cohousing group monthly fees. It can also be used for other expenses if appropriate.

Step 1
The group will come to consensus on a cohousing budget.

Step 2
The trustees will compute the average contribution needed from owner occupied households to cover the agreed budget.
For example: An average bid of $70 per household will fully fund this year's budget.

Step 3
Each household decides on their monthly pledge level to the cohousing budget, with the minimum allowed pledge being 5% of the average bid required to fully fund the budget.

In this decision, households can be guided by how much they use community resources, and approximating how their income compares to other households. They can also consider whether they expect to make more or less money in the coming year. Further, they can freely decide to contribute as much as they feel comfortable with, in support of the less wealthy members of the community. The households indicate to the budget team of the trustees how much they will contribute.

Step 4
The trustees determine whether total pledges fully fund the budget.

If yes, the trustees pass on the good news, and households are given the new monthly numbers. Pledge totals above that needed to fully fund the .budget will be brought to the community to decided on which, if any, additional items should be moved into the budget

If no, the trustees pass on the bad news. Households are informed of the gap and asked to reconsider pledge levels. (Step 3 is repeated.) If this fails, we move on to step 5

Step 5
The trustees may regroup and propose for consensus a reduced budget to match the maximum contribution offers.

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:50

Sliding Scale (Original Decision)

Sliding Scale (Original Decision)

The central idea of this agreement is that once a budget figure has been agreed on by the group, households can decide what their contribution to the group's costs will be. The decision will be supported by anonymous information that will help a household determine where on the economic spectrum it is located. If this process does not produce enough contributions, it can either be repeated or the budget can be rethought.

Step 1
The group decides on a target figure (for monthly dues, consultants' fees, annual budget, etc.)

Step 2
A committee receives anonymously an annual income figure from each household (e.g. the Adjusted Gross Income from last year's tax return).

Step 3
The committee computes first the average contribution needed from all households to cover the target figure. Then a proposed sliding scale from 75% to 125% is computed. This sliding scale is published together with an anonymous graph depicting the economic variation among the households. The committee might indicate which contribution level roughly corresponds to which income level. Example:

Target figure $100,000
Average contribution needed $4,000 (from 25 households)
Sliding scale: $3,000 (75%) — $4,000 (100%) — $5,000 (125%)
Income distribution: 4 households < $50,000 / year
11 households $50,000 – $75,000
7 households $75,000 – $100,000
3 households > $100,000

Step 4
Each household decides on their own at which point on the sliding scale of contributions they want to be located for the budget period. In this decision, they can be guided by seeing how their income compares to other households. They can also consider whether they expect to make more or less money in the coming year. Further, they can freely decide to contribute as much as they feel comfortable with, in support of the less wealthy members of the community. The households indicate to the committee (still anonymously?) how much they will contribute.

Step 5
The committee determines whether there are enough contributions to reach the target figure. If yes, the committee passes on the good news. Households firm up their commitment in some way and the process is over. If no, the committee passes on the bad news. First, households are asked to reconsider whether they might be able to contribute more. So, step 4 is repeated. If it still fails, the committee lets the group know that the budgeted figure will have to be reduced.

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:52

Archive only: Renting Community Basements

Archive only: Renting Community Basements

As of 5/2013, we no longer have community basements. Our community includes some buildings which are built on slabs, and others which have basements. Some basements are owned by the owners of the unit above, whereas others are owned and maintained by the community. Space in the community-owned basements may be rented by households or by community teams. People in the units above a given basement space will have first call on the space underneath their units. If a unit changes hands, the new owner/s may negotiate with the people or teams renting space below the units. The owners of the building above a given basement space will work with those interested in the space to set reasonable hours of access / noise, and must give at least one month notice before changing hours. There will be a team established to manage space rentals and any space modifications. Rental costs will be established by the finance team based on a price to be determined / year / sq ft., with a square foot minimum also to be determined. Spaces will be clearly delineated.

Short Term Rental Policy

  1. Cost
    1. The cost will be $.40 / square foot / month.
    2. There will be additional surcharges for taxes, and electricity and maintenance costs.
    3. The surcharge may be increased or decreased after 12 months if our costs are higher or lower than expected.
  2. Walkways (Partial‐basement rentals)
    1. The rent will include a walkway area of two feet in front of the storage unit. i.e. If someone would like to rent a space 5’ wide and 10’ deep, then must in fact rent a space 5’ wide and 12’ deep, where the front two feet are in the walkway in front of their space. We will therefore have 4’ wide walkways, given storage spaces on both sides of the walkway.
    2. The exist size of the rental space may be decided by the renter, but with the condition that the choice will be constrained by the need for walkways, particularly with the locations of the support poles in the basements.
  3. Storage area delimitation
    1. Rental spaces will be delimited by painted lines on the floor.
    2. If a renter wishes to build an enclosure of some kind (wood frame w/ chicken wire, etc), they may do so at their own expense and upkeep. Again, this must not interfere with access to other rental space.
  4. Team/group rentals: Teams or groups may rent basement areas basement on criteria and at fees to be determined.
  5. Insurance: Rental insurance is the responsibility of the renter. If the renter’s home owners policy doesn’t cover rental areas, the renter should get a separate policy to cover items stored in the basement.
  6. Specific accessibility requests: MC will attempt to accommodate specific requests for allergen-free and otherwise accessible basement areas. For example, MC may declare that a certain basement may not have any items containing pet hair or other materials that members are sensitive to.
  7. Restrictions
    1. Members may not store items that are prohibited by MC. The list of prohibited items may include flammable items, toxic materials, items that may affect our insurance, etc. The list of prohibited items will be posted in each basement.
    2. Any basement that has been declared an allergen-free or otherwise accessible area will have additional restrictions.

Full basement rental policy

  1. Cost
    1. The cost will be approximately equivalent to the monthly payment of a 30-year mortgage.
    2. There will be additional surcharges for electricity, maintenance, taxes, and MC bookkeeping costs.
    3. For damage caused by a renter of a full basement, MC will cover the cost of repairs, but has the right to charge the renter for that cost.
  2. Insurance - Insurance for items in the basement is the responsibility of the renter. If the renter's home owners policy doesn't cover rental areas, the renter should get a separate policy to cover items in the basement.
  3. Pets/allergens - If there are pets or other allergens in the basement, it must be thoroughly cleaned before vacating so that the space may then be rented to any member of MC.
  4. Renovations
    1. All renovations are the responsibility of the renters.
    2. This includes staircases, firewalls, etc.
    3. Renters are responsible for ensuring that any renovations meet all required building codes.
    4. Before the space is vacated, MC will decide whether or not renovations must be removed. Removal will be at the renter's expense.
  5. If a renter moves out of MC, the space reverts to the community. The basement rental may not be 'sold' as part of a unit sale, unless approval is obtained from MC. (i.e. If the new owners wish to continue the rental and keep any renovations, approval must be obtained, and MC has the right to deny the request.)
  6. A rental agreement will be required for all rentals.
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:47

Mosaic Teams

Mosaic Teams admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 15:06



1. The accessibility team is responsible for educating, discussing, researching, and improving accessibility in our community at present and in the future. Our goal is to propose ideas for residents and guests to be fully integrated into community life, and to have safe access to the public areas of Mosaic Commons Cohousing and, if possible, access to homes.

2. Members are chosen by self-selection. They need to let the team know if they want to be part of the decision making process. New members and lurkers are welcome.

3. Team decisions are made by a process noted in the addendum.

4. This team may request its own budget at regular budgeting time, or may ask for money from the appropriate team for the relevant changes proposed.

5. The team will report to the plenary when we are working on significant projects and when projects are completed.

6. The Team will work in conjunction with all relevant teams such as Common House room teams, and trustees as needed.

7. The Accessibility Team has power level 3 to ensure that Mosaic will always have a number of designated accessible parking spaces equal to the number of residents who have a handicapped placard, or otherwise need an accessible space, plus one space near the common house.  (See Addendum A)

8. The team has Power Level 4 to make changes that improve accessibility without significantly altering community space. For projects where another team has authority over the space, the two teams will work together and have power level 4.

9. If a proposed change requires more money than our budget, the budget of the connected team, or the discretionary fund allows, the team has power level 2.  We will work with related teams, develop a proposal, and get plenary approval.

10. The accessibility team will accept input from people not on the team by email, personal contact, filling out an appropriate form, survey, etc. The Team can establish a date by which input into a decision is closed. Email is


A. If a person needs an accessible space the team will temporarily mark a spot that person can use right away. The team will notify the community to determine if there is any disagreements with that choice.

B. Team decisions are made by at least half of the team saying yes and no one saying no.

catya Tue, 07/12/2016 - 19:38



Bookkeeper: Diana

The Bookkeeper is the day-to-day financial caretaker for the group:

  • Maintain the general accounts and financial records
  • Provide members with monthly household statements
  • Collect condo fees and keep track of and pay bills and other obligations

Reimbursement Form

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:28

Buildings and Grounds (BnG)

Buildings and Grounds (BnG)

BnG is: Dave, Perley, Rich K, John B, Ken, Bob, Buzz

Email the team


The Building and Grounds team is a standing team, whose members will be self-selected. The team will make regular reports to the Mosaic Commons Trustees. The purpose of the Team is to:

1 - Coordinate maintenance of Mosaic Commons infrastructure, which includes most aspects of common areas. See the Buildings and Grounds wiki for a more detailed breakdown.

2 - Be the first point of contact for buildings and grounds questions and concerns, per our Operating Procedures. Resources - Supplies and repair bills will be expensed against pre-existing budget line items for maintenance, in the HOA or Cohousing budgets as appropriate. Purchases over $250 will need to be reviewed by the Mosaic Commons Trustees.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:29

Common Resources

Common Resources

Mandate for the Common Resources Team

  1. The Common Resources team is a standing team with the general responsibility of overseeing the acquisition and replacement of durable goods that are located in the common spaces of the community. The team has 4 specific roles as defined here:

    Purchasing Process Observer - Common Resources is to ensure community funds spent match our spending values. To that end Common Resources needs to be informed in advance when teams doing their own purchases of durable goods are spending more than $250 on a single item. Once informed (via e-mail to the team list), the Common Resources Team has 72 hours to respond. If the team has an objection, Common Resources will work with the requesting team to overcome the objection. If there are no objections, the purchase is approved.

    Opportunistic Shopper - Common Resources Members will watch freecycle, craigslist, and any other shopping store or site for deals for items which might be of value to the community and might need quick responses to obtain, whether or not a specific request has been made by an individual or team for the items. If consensed upon by the Common Resources team, these items will be purchased out of the Commons Resources budget. Additionally, Common Resources members are a resource for any community teams wishing assistance with purchasing items.

    Cohousing Equipment Reserve Keeper - Common Resources will maintain a list of equipment owned by Mosaic Commons Cohousing, including: last purchase date, estimated replacement price and expected replacement year. To ensure we can replace these items as they wear out, Common Resources will also manage a "reserve" fund, which includes suggesting during the annual budget process what the annual contribution amount should be to fund the reserves.

    Small Team Fiscal Agent - Common Resources Team will hold the budget for common house room teams (and the workshop team) under it’s own budget if those teams do not have a separate line in the annual budget. Those team with budgets under Common Resources can make their own spending decisions up to the amount earmarked for them, but must keep Common Resources informed in advance of any purchase. The Common Resources team will remain in contact with these room teams periodically throughout the year, and if those teams inform Common Resources that they will not be spending their entire earmark, the Common Resources team can chose to spend the remaining amount on other purchases without going to the plenary.

  2. Members are chosen by self-selection, and serve as long as they are willing.
  3. Team decisions are made by consensus of the members of the team.
  4. This team has a line in the annual budget for current year purchases, the amount determined during the cohousing budget setting process each year. In addition, the team oversees the setting of the cohousing reserves budget but not the spending from it.
  5. Reports to the plenary about purchases from this teams budget, or purchases the team was involved with, will be issued no less than quarterly, and also when any item costing over $250 is purchased.
  6. The Common Resources team will work in conjunction with the common house room teams or any other team that would be acquiring a durable good for a common space.
  7. The Common Resources team has the following power levels:
    • Power Level 4 (may make making binding decisions on their own) regarding decisions about spending money out of the annual budget for current year purchases.
    • Power Level 2 (may bring a proposal to plenary) regarding spending from the cohousing reserves.
    • Power Level 4 (may make making binding decisions on their own) regarding choosing of items to purchase once tasked with purchasing something (if there is a team that oversees the space the item is for, must get agreement of that team).
    • The Common Resources team will accept input from people not on the team via email. The Common Resources team can establish a date by which input into a decision is closed.
admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:04

Community Support

Community Support

Steph, Judy, Ken P, Liz, Matt
Sophie (just for kids)
(email team)

Serves as contact for conflict within the group; develops processes for conflict resolution.


1. The Community Support (CS) Team is a standing team and our primary mandate is to support the community and relationships in the community. Most of our work is one-on-one but the foundation is really the health of our entire Mosaic community.

CS is responsible for helping individuals to find strategies to resolve the conflicts they have with others. For individual conflicts we use the conflict resolution process described here: link. We also will provide individual emotional support and help people find outside support when requested.

We will help any individual who lives in Mosaic, and any individual who is a member or associate member of mosaic. We will cooperate with the Camelot CS team for issues between people who live in Camelot and people who live in Mosaic or are Mosaic Members or Associate Members.

In conflicts between two individuals CS Members will keep the issue in confidence. If an issue between two people becomes a community wide issue then our primary mandate is the health of the community and we may need to open broader discussion. If we must share with the community the names of individuals involved will not be used and we won't share information without letting individuals involved know what we are going to say.

2. Members of the CS team are chosen by self-selection and are approved by existing members of the team. The CS team may solicit appropriate individuals to join. Email if you are interested in joining the team. The CS email list is confidential and only CS team members may be on the list.

3. Decisions about CS process are made when the members present at a team meeting come to consensus. Community and individual issues are handled by a subgroup of the team; the sub-group informs the rest of the team when they have consensus about how to proceed on an issue, and proceeds if there are no objections from the rest of the team.

4. The CS team may ask for a budget for training and for hiring outside facilitators in case of conflicts that require that.

5. CS will determine when we need to report to the community. Members may ask us at any time if they are concerned about whether we are addressing an issue. Speak directly to a member of the team or send an email to

6. CS works with any mosaic team or with the Camelot CS team when asked for help.

7, 8, 9. Community support can make their own decisions about how to help people, about whether the issues is a group or individual issue, and whether outside mediation is needed for an issue. If we feel it is necessary we can recommend actions to other teams or to the plenary.

If an individual or team asks us for help someone from community support will get back to them within two days to see if there is an immediate need, and will within two weeks let them know an expected timeline and the names of the community support people working on the issue.

Non-team members are encouraged to ask the CS team questions at any time. We will also solicit input from community members as needed.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:27



San, Sandy, Betsy, Mary
(email this team)

1. The Facilitation and Process Team plans and facilitates plenary General Meetings and attends to process matters in the community. Facilitation and Process are interrelated functions and the sub-teams will sometimes meet separately and sometimes together and may split at a later date if that seems appropriate.

The Facilitation sub-team's primary function is running meetings in ways that make conversations more effective.

Facilitation Tasks:
* plan how to organize and carry-out plenary agenda, based on items provided from Steering
* facilitate plenary meetings
* evaluate plenary meetings
* implement group process within plenary meetings
* be available to facilitate team meetings and discussion circles
* train new facilitators
* manage minute-taking tasks:
** recruit minute-takers
** recommend format for minutes
** distribute minutes
** get approval of minutes at plenary meetings
* ensure there is a child care coordinator for plenary meetings
* set plenary meeting schedule
* arrange facilitation workshops

The Process sub-team's primary function is to define, refine, support, and evaluate community decision-making and discussion processes.

Process Tasks:
* define Color Cards
** make sure there are enough, and correct, cards for plenary gatherings
* document our community decision-making and discussion processes
* define the Process Observer role for plenary meetings
* be available to serve as Process Observers at plenary meetings, in conjunction with CS
* coordinate with Member Integration to introduce new people to our processes
* support team processes:
** be available to help with process-related issues within a team
** be proactive in helping teams learn about group process and decision-making
** be available to assist teams in developing processes that reflect the core values of the community
* be available to help teams or individual presenters get items ready for plenary discussion
* arrange process workshops

2. Members are chosen by self-selection and are re-affirmed yearly. People may choose to be members of only one of the two sub-teams.

3. Team decisions are made by consensus or by another method consensed on within the team. The team may delegate some Process questions to ad hoc teams, with at least one member of Facilitation/Process on the ad hoc team.

4. The Facilitation and Process Team has an annual budget, determined as part of the MC budget process.

5. The team will issue reports to the plenary when the team is developing changes to the community's decision-making process or to the way we handle plenary meetings.

6. The Facilitation and Process Team works in conjunction with other teams:
* Steering to plan plenary agenda items and to facilitate community decisions
* Community Support to handle conflict that arises in General Meetings and to coordinate Process Observers.
* Member Integration to bring new people up to speed with community processes.
* Any team or presenter to help them to be ready for plenary meetings.

7. Power Levels
* The team has power level 2 (may bring a proposal to plenary) for defining and refining plenary decision making processes.
* The team has power level 3 for setting the plenary meeting schedule; arranging workshops; and defining Color Cards.
* The team can make independent decisions (power level 4) about all other team-related tasks.

8. The Facilitation and Process team accepts input from people not on the team by email, personal contact, filling out posted surveys, etc. The team can establish a deadline for input on an issue.

9. The Facilitation email list is a private list, open only to those who are active members of this sub-team and to those who were active and have stepped back for a temporary time (6-9 months).

Any community member can be on the Process sub-team email list, but only those self-declared Process sub-team members can participate in Process sub-team decisions.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:29

Indoors: Common House Cleaning

Indoors: Common House Cleaning

Mary, Sandy, Steph, Sophie, Matt H.

The common house cleaning team is responsible for coordinating the rotations for the common house cleaning.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:25

Indoors: Common House Room Teams

Indoors: Common House Room Teams

Send to [room] to get in touch with the team for a specific common house room.

Here are the lists as of October 2010 and who is on them:

bathrooms: Sophie, Ellen
fitness: Sophie, Ellen, Ed, John B., John R., Mariama, Sandy
great-room: Beezy, Sophie, Cat, Mary (2014)
hallways-downstairs: Rich
hallways-upstairs: Sophie, Dave, Ellen, Mary, Noel
hobby-rooms: Sophie, Diana
kids-room: Ellen, Karen, Rich
kitchen: Cat, Noel, Jesse, Dot, Pat (2014)
living-room: Sophie, Dave, Ellen, Noel, Perley
laundry-room: Sophie, Cat, San, Sarah (2014)
multipurpose-room: Sophie, Dave, Bob
music-room: Sophie, Kim, Dave, John R., Karen, Ken, Sandy

People who want to volunteer to take on projects to make permanent or hard-to-remove changes in common spaces, such as drilling holes or mounting shelves, should:

(a) consult with the Common Resources Team and the room team for that space (if one exists), to make sure that project is consistent with plans for that space

(b) present a plan for funding

(c) post a drawing or other visual aid for the project in the space and send a note about it to the list. Give the community a week to react, then either post a revised proposal or proceed.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:59

Indoors: Fitness

Indoors: Fitness

The fitness team is John B, Sophie, Sandy, Ed, Mariama, John R

Fitness Team Mandate:

1) Create a Fitness Room that is both useful and pleasant.
2) Acquire and maintain equipment and fitness room, including reviewing and approving offered equipment
3) Encourage use of equipment
4) Work with the Common Resources team for budgeting and finances
5) Make recommendations to plenary regarding usage restrictions, training, and safety.
6) Make recommendations to plenary regarding structural and other major changes to the space.

catya Mon, 07/02/2012 - 07:06

Indoors: Laundry

Indoors: Laundry

Team: Jonathan (Coordinator), San, Sarah, Sophie, Catya

Mandate for the Laundry Room Team

1. The common house Laundry Room Team is a standing team responsible for equipping the laundry room, organizing it, and keeping it stocked. The team is responsible for setting policy on care of the machines and the space, and making sure that maintenance and repairs are taken care of.

2. Members are chosen by self-selection.

3. Team decisions are made by agreement/lack of dissent, typically over email. Repair decisions are made within the team and then approved by BNG. Purchase decisions are made within the team and then approved by Common Resources.

4. This team does not currently have an annual budget.

5. Reports to the plenary are issued as needed, including machine status and reminder of the rules.

6. The Laundry Room Team works with the teams named above, plus the Hobby Room Team and hosts about guest linens and Great Room and Meals Teams about meal-related laundry.

7. The Laundry Room Team can make decisions at power level 4 (may decide on its own) about policies for the room and supplies to be provided, and works with BNG and Common Resources at a joint level 4 about machine repairs and purchases.

(Power Levels:

8. Community members can email the team at


Note re budget:
Detergent, bleach, vinegar and other supplies are covered through the Common House Supplies line, repairs through the Maintenance line, and purchases through Cohousing Reserves.

Other team documents:
2016 Laundry Room Guidelines:…

catya Tue, 03/20/2018 - 14:48

Meals & Kitchen

Meals & Kitchen

Ross (coordinator)
Cat (informal point person for kitchen), Noel, San, Sandy, Liz, Pat, Perley, Judy
email the team

  1. The Meals & Kitchen team is a standing team responsible for:

    1. Scheduling meals

    2. Scheduling people to do the work of meals and meal clean-up, and addressing the needs of cooks and clean-up people.

    3. Determining charges for meals and reimbursement rates for cooks

    4. Meals accounting, including tracking & billing

    5. Setting standards for meals

    6. Maintaining our ServSafe certification

    7. Ensuring that people who do the work of meals and meal clean-up are trained to follow ServSafe guidelines.

    8. Equipping the kitchen (including place settings) through purchases and acceptance of donations of items

    9. Organizing the kitchen, including the Kitchen Overflow closet

    10. Keeping the kitchen (pantry) stocked

    11. Coordinating work in the Kitchen on work weekends

    12. Set policy & educate the community about dishes between meals

  1. Members are chosen by self-selection and self-identify.  The team email list includes both active team members and other people who do the work of meals.  Kitchen & pantry responsibilities are handled by a subset of the team.

  2. Team decisions are made by agreement/lack of dissent, over email or at meetings.  Only active members participate in decision-making.

  1. This team separately manages meals accounting and an annual budget from cohousing funds for the Kitchen.

    1. Money for and from meals is in an account separate from cohousing funds.  These funds also cover food stocks and other consumables in the kitchen.

    2. The annual cohousing budget covers new equipment, replacement equipment (including place settings), knife sharpening, and any fees associated with the ServSafe requirements.  

    3. Large appliance replacements are funded through the capital reserves, but will be driven by this team.  Repairs are funded through the maintenance line, and will also be driven by this team.

  1. Meals schedules are published regularly. Statistics on meal attendance, how well meal charges line up with meal costs, etc., are sent to the plenary periodically. Reports to the plenary will be issued when new equipment is acquired or ServSafe conditions change.  

  1. When notified before scheduling deadlines, the Meals & Kitchen team will help other teams and individuals by scheduling support for food prep and clean-up at community events.

  1. The Meals & Kitchen team can make decisions at power level 4 (may decide on its own) about:

    1. Meal scheduling

    2. Meals finances

    3. Kitchen budget spend

    4. Accepting kitchen items as donations

    5. Kitchen & overflow organization.

    6. How the kitchen is used at mealtimes

    7. How the kitchen is used between meals, including dishes, leftovers, and events

    8. Issues pertaining to ServSafe

    It may make decisions at power level 3 (may post a tentative decision) about setting standards for meals.
    (Power Levels:

  2. Community members can email the team at
    Donations of kitchen items should be made through communication with this team and not by leaving items in the kitchen.  
    If the kitchen is out of an item that is usually stocked, email


We invite anyone who has opinions about how meals are scheduled or billed to be on the Meals email list. It is helpful to have active members who can respond quickly to a needed change and are active on email.

Members are encouraged to participate in meals scheduling times, which happen every two months.  Meals schedules are published via email and a Google calendar.

This team does not meet regularly.   Most discussion and decisions happen on email.

The Meals & Kitchen team can make decisions via email by presenting an idea to the meals email list, waiting at least a week to see if there are any blocks, and responding to discussion by adjusting the proposal.

For changes to our standard practices the team will either have an online discussion or an in-person meeting with the topic announced, followed by a proposal sent to the email list. If there are no blocks in 72 hours after the proposal is sent, the proposal is approved and sent to the community for information.

For items that change significant details of meals we will try to give the community 30 days notice of changes.

Active members of the team are people who come to meals scheduling, come to meals meetings, and/or participate on email. People who do not respond in the set email times are presumed to be inactive for that item, or to be consenting to the decisions.

Any Meals & Kitchen team member may, shortly after a decision is made, request more discussion if they have some reason they could not participate in the decision when it was active.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:31

Member Integration

Member Integration

Members: Mariama, Annamarie, Scott, Judy (mentorship), Cat (Tech/Website only)


  1. The Member Integration Team is a standing team responsible for:

    • providing residents with key information such as policies; agreements; where to find things both electronically and physically; and whom to ask for help
    • coordinating mentorship
    • bringing associate household invitation decisions to the plenary, and follow through on the plenary's decisions
    • new member orientation (for both adults and children)
    • social events
  2. Members are chosen by self-selection and include individuals with ownership of specific tasks.
  3. The team will let the group know how it makes decisions and the timeframes to expect.
  4. This team has an annual budget to be determined in 2012 budget planning, to be used for printing welcome kits and holding events. In 2011 the annual budget for social events was $240.
  5. Reports will be issued quarterly (or more often if warranted) of scheduled events, new materials available, introductions of new members, and budget status.
  6. The Member Integration Team will work with the Tech/Website team to ensure member integration content is available on the website and that new people have access to the website, email lists, and calendaring.
  7. The Member Integration Team can make independent decisions about all areas it is responsible for, as per #1 & #3 above.
  8. The Member Integration Team is required to get approval from the plenary for budget and changing the scope of its responsibilities.
  9. The Member Integration Team will accept input from people not on the team by email, and personal contact. The Member Integration Team can establish dates by which input into decisions are closed.
admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:25

Neighboring Fund

Neighboring Fund

Ross, Judy, Sandy

Mandate for the Neighboring Fund

1. The Neighboring Fund team is a standing team responsible for

A - Soliciting money for a Neighboring Fund as needed.
- Notifying the community about how to apply for funds.
- Reserving the right to offer funds without an application.
- Receiving requests and managing the distribution of the funds.

B. The Neighboring Fund will be used to support members of Mosaic in paying for meals, hobby room stays and other community activities as deemed relevant by this team.

C. The collection of the Neighboring Fund will be included in the Meals accounting. Distributing funds to other programs, once the distribution is decided, will be arranged between the bookkeepers.

D. There will be no public notice of who receives funds, although the amount of money distributed will be made public.

E. Distribution of money will be decided by the team and given as grants to recipients. The team will be given discretion about whether more than one grant can be offered in any given year.

2. There will be three or four members who will administrate the fund. At least one will be a bookkeeper and at least one will be an at large member of the community. Team members will be chosen by the Team, with announcement of membership or changes in it to be announced to Plenary.

3. Team decisions are made by consensus of the team. Most work of the team will be done by email.

4. Monies for this fund will be collected by free will donation. No additional funds will be used from the budget.

5. They will communicate with the community by email and/or by announcement at General Meeting. There will be a yearly statement of funds collected and distributed.

6. The team will work in conjunction with the bookkeepers from meals and the community.

7. The team will make independent decisions on who receives funds, timing of solicitations for funds and application forms (if relevant).

catya Mon, 08/17/2015 - 11:38

New Building / Workshop Team

New Building / Workshop Team

New Building / Workshop Team Mandate

The workshop ad-hoc team will be managing the process leading to a new workshop building. It's job will be to organize information and feedback from the community, present proposals for decision, and manage execution of those decisions. Approval of this mandate does not automatically assume construction of the building is approved, this mandate is merely documenting how to proceed in the design and speccing off the building.


Team membership will be via self-selection. Whomever wishes to be on the team may join.


This team is being established to monitor, manage, and execute a long term complex project. Because of this, several processes must be laid out explicitly.

Due to the length and complexity of the project, it’s been suggested that this team be considered a ‘standing team’, with it’s own mailing list and team members. The minimum number of members on the team will be 3. The name is to be decided.

At various points in this process, decisions will be brought to the plenary for approval before continuing. The team will need in essence 2 power levels. One to bring choices to the plenary for decision, and another to execute on those decisions (this may be implicit in the plenary decision process.)


Following people have requested to be on the team.
* Ken Porter
* Rich Smith
* John Barrett
* Rich Kramer
* Dave Shevett
* Ben?

Decision process

Team decisions are made primarily via discussion in email. Due to the possibility of people missing meetings, if decisions are discussed during in-person meetings, the decision must be posted to the list for consensus by the rest of the team before being considered accepted, unless the entire team is present at the meeting, or has given a proxy.

When a decision is requested, the requestor will post to the list with the subject line “CONSENSUS:” with a summary in the subject, and then detail within the body of the message. The team may reply “green” to move the process quickly (if the entire team replies, the decision is accepted immediately). If a team member does not reply to the CONSENSUS posting within 96 hours, it’s taken as an accepted request.

For discussion of upcoming requests or decisions, a requestor should open the discussion on the list and allow members to chime in before pushing a CONSENSUS: message out. This allows the CONSENSUS: header to be used discreetly, and those filtering mail based on that header will not necessarily be bombarded with messages.

Before the plenary is presented with information, or before a Decision is brought for consensus, all the team members will, beforehand, agree that the decision and information being presented represents the team's consensus position.


During each stage of the process, the workshop team will present state of the project information to the community via mailings and updates given at the GM's. In addition, details on the team progress will be posted regularly on a centrally available medium (such as a wiki page or google doc) which the entire community will be able to read / review at any time.

Power Level
Because the team will be checking back in for approval to proceed on each step, the team is requesting Power Level 2 - bringing proposals to the plenary. After consensus is achieved, this team is responsible for executing on the decision (unless otherwise indicated in the proposal).

Phase 1 - Requirements and scope

This phase is purely information gathering and presentation. The team will hold several discussion circles, as well as gather personal input via mailing lists and private conversations to establish the scope and use case
for the building, ranging from "absolute requirements" up to "if I had a million dollars". This will include special purposes (must have a wood shop, etc) and extending to infrastructure requirements (must have heat,
must have running water, etc). Also included will be at least one open discussion during a GM.

The team will translate that feedback into a useful design document describing what the workshop's minimum requirements will be, what its purpose will be, what its capabilities will be, and what it will be used for. This document may also include ‘stretch goals’ for wish list items and approximations regarding priority, or those may be handled separately.

Decision: The plenary will be asked to approve that this document represents the community’s position on the scope of the workshop building, and approve moving to Phase 2.

Phase 2 - Design document with cost analysis

This phase will be the team taking the requirements document from Phase 1 and doing a rough cost analysis. There will be several levels presented, from the minimal needs up through all reasonable items on the wish list. This cost analysis will be relatively informal (ie, with ‘best guesses’ on professional costs, engineering costs, etc), and will be subject to revision once design is settled.

In addition, the team will work with trustees and other members of the community to present several possible financing models. Because acceptance of the design will heavily depend on cost impact, it’s important to have ‘real world’ financing details laid out.

Decision: The plenary will select which design and scope to use, and select a financing model.


At this point the ad-hoc team will be re-evaluated, and further mandate for architectural design, hiring contractors, and actual building the building will be determined."

catya Mon, 09/22/2014 - 10:32

Outdoors: Chickens

Outdoors: Chickens

Cat B, Beth, Buzz, Diana, Dwight, Ellen, Karen, Ken, Kim, San, Sandy, Scott, Sophie, Cat H.

chickens at mosaic commons dot org

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:18

Outdoors: Fruit Team

Outdoors: Fruit Team

1. The Fruit Team cares for the trees and plants it chooses to plant.

2. Anyone can join the Fruit Team by emailing fruit-team at and asking geekery to add you to the mailing list. This is a work heavy team--we are looking for people interested in finding out how to take care of fruit team related plants and then to do the work.

3. Team decisions will be made by asking who wants to be in on the decision, and then settling matters by email or in in-person meetings for discussion and decision. Decisions will then be reported to the Fruit Team email list. We may develop strategies for quick decisions if necessary.

4. The Fruit Team has an annual budget, determined as part of the Mosaic Commons Cohousing budget process. The Fruit team may transfer money from its budget to that of the Landscaping team or Garden team, if members of both teams agree to the transfer.

5. The team will report to the plenary about when there are significant changes to the work of the team. It will also report when it needs help with fruit team work, or when fruit is available for harvesting, and how the fruit will be distributed.

6. The Fruit Team works closely with dirt (landscaping and garden) around budget, buying supplies, hiring outside help, using tools, etc.

7. The Fruit Team has power level 2 (asking the plenary, and Sawyer Hill Trustees if necessary, for approval) in determining the location of the orchard, the broad category of plants (for example, apples vs. blueberries), and any changes to the on-going landscaping of the community. We have power level 4 (make our own decisions) with regard to determining the varieties of fruits, planting other supportive plants, for all issues around managing the orchard, and to spend our allocated budget.

8. The Fruit Team will follow the pesticide and herbicide policies in the declaration of trust.

catya Wed, 12/18/2013 - 12:05

Outdoors: Garden

Outdoors: Garden


1. The Garden team is a standing team responsible for the community vegetable and herb gardens. This team is under the "Dirt" umbrella along with the Landscaping Team and Fruit Team and coordinates with those teams around land-use at Mosaic Commons.

Garden Tasks:
* Plan and maintain the vegetable and herb gardens
* Set best practices and rules for the vegetable and herb gardens, post them for reference, and be available to teach people about them
** Per the HOA Declaration of Trust, the gardens are managed with "biorational" methods; specifics are determined by the Garden Team
* Allocate community-tended plots and household-tended plots in the vegetable garden
* Elicit input from the community about what to plant in the vegetable and herb gardens
* Let the community know when, where, and how to harvest vegetables and herbs
* Provide soil amendments for the garden
* Manage the compost piles, determining what goes in them, and when they are ready for use
** Coordinate with the Landscaping Team about the yard-waste compost piles
* Determine where garden tools should be kept, in conjunction with the Landscaping Team
* Develop long-term plans for land-use, in conjunction with other Dirt Teams and the community as a whole

2. Members are chosen by self-selection and are re-affirmed yearly.

3. Team decisions are made by consensus or by another method consensed on within the team.

4. The Garden Team has an annual budget, determined as part of the MC budget process. The Garden team may transfer money between its budget and that of the Landscaping team or Fruit team, if members of both teams agree to the transfer.

5. The team will issue reports to the plenary at least twice a year about the tasks and projects which were accomplished over the past 6 months and about upcoming plans.

6. The Garden team works in conjunction with other teams:
* the Landscaping Team and Fruit Team re tools and equipment, land use, and other shared areas of interest.
* the Chicken Club, to coordinate use of space around the chicken coop and strategies for handling and use of chicken manure.

7. Power Levels
* The Garden Team has Power level 3 (may post a tentative decision) for:
** making significant changes to the community vegetable garden
* The team can make independent decisions (Power level 4) about:
** spending money up to the limit of the team's annual budget;
** all other team-related tasks.

8. The Garden team accepts input from people not on the team by email, personal contact, filling out posted surveys, etc. The team can establish a deadline for input on an issue.

9. Any community member can be on the Garden email list, but only those self-declared Garden members can participate in team decisions.

catya Thu, 03/12/2015 - 08:44

Outdoors: Hot Tub

Outdoors: Hot Tub

Members: Cat, Ross, Mary

Hot tub rules ... Hot Tub Weekly Checklist
  1. The Hot Tub team is a standing team responsible for the care and feeding of the hot tub:
    1. Setting & publicizing the rules for use of the hot tub
    2. Accepting donations for usage from guests on behalf of the cohousing organization
    3. Stocking appropriate hot tub chemicals & enzymes
    4. Chemical and enzyme treatment of the water
    5. Draining and refilling the tub as needed
    6. Handling repairs as needed
    7. Maintaining the hot tub shed.
  2. Members are chosen by self-selection.
  3. Team decisions are made by consensus of the team.
  4. This team has an annual budget for electricity, chemicals, and maintenance.  Funding for hot tub replacement is handled through capital reserves.  
  5. Reports to the plenary will be issued as needed.
  6. The hot tub team will work in conjunction with the dirt team on the enclosure /grounds around the tub.
  7. The hot tub team has the following power levels:
    1. Setting the rules: Power Level 3: May post a tentative decision which will become a group agreement if no one objects within a specified amount of time; the proposal need not come to plenary if concerns can be addressed outside.
    2. Publicizing the rules, choosing water treatments, handling repairs: Power Level 4: May make binding decisions on their own; they only have to announce the decision.
  8. The hot tub team will accept input from people not on the team & reports of problems with the tub via email to
catya Mon, 09/17/2012 - 08:24

Outdoors: Landscaping

Outdoors: Landscaping

Beezy, San, Cat H, Mariama, Judy, Sophie
Email the team

1. The Landscaping Team is a standing team responsible for common landscaping. This team is under the "Dirt" umbrella along with the Garden Team and Fruit Team and coordinates with those teams around land-use at Mosaic Commons.

Landscaping Tasks:
* Develop long-term plans for land-use, in conjunction with other Dirt Teams and the community as a whole.
* Maintain plantings in all common landscaping areas, with community help.
** Per the HOA Declaration of Trust, all plantings are managed with "biorational" methods; specifics are determined by the Landscaping Team
* Organize programs for community members to help with ongoing, regular care of plantings, such as "adopt-a-tree."
* Manage grass and meadow areas
* Determine which areas will be mowed, in conjunction with the Mowing Team (which does the mowing).
* Tools and Equipment:
** Determine where all tools and equipment for landscaping, gardening, and mowing are kept.
** Care for the tools and equipment, with the help of BnG.
** Acquire new tools and equipment, in consultation with other Dirt teams
* Purchase mulch and loam in bulk, for use on both common and household landscaping.

Areas covered by the Landscaping Team:
* All of Mosaic property except front, side or back yards planted by homeowners.

Areas NOT under the Landscaping Team's purview:
* Plantings made by individual residents in common landscaping areas; responsibility for these rests with those who planted them.
* Areas that fall under Sawyer Hill control:
** Maintenance of stormwater control features such as detention ponds, the swale and berm, and the land around them.
** Upkeep of the conservation land.
* General pest control, such as beetles in household gardens, mosquitoes, or wasps.

The Landscaping Team will create and maintain a map that shows which land areas and plantings are covered by the team and which are not.

2. Members are chosen by self-selection and are re-affirmed yearly.

3. Team decisions are made by consensus or by another method consensed on within the team.

4. The Landscaping team has an annual budget, determined as part of the MC budget process. The Landscaping team may transfer money between its budget and that of the Garden team or Fruit team, if members of both teams agree to the transfer.

5. The team will issue reports to the plenary at least twice a year about the tasks and projects which were accomplished over the past 6 months and about upcoming plans.

6. The Landscaping team works in conjunction with other teams:
* the Garden Team and Fruit Team re land use, tools and equipment, and other shared areas of interest.
* the Mowing Team about which areas to mow .
* Sawyer Hill Trustees re any planting that the Team undertakes on Sawyer Hill property:
** Such planting must be approved of by the SH Trustees.
** Maintenance of that planting needs to be mutually agreed upon, so the responsibilities are clear.

7. Power Levels

* The Landscaping Team has Power level 3 (may post a tentative decision) for:
** making a significant variation from the land-use plan;
** deciding which field areas should be lawn grass and which should be meadow or other plantings.
** For these decisions, the team will post proposed changes for community input for a minimum of two weeks.

* The team will consult with nearby unit owners for new plantings that are within 50' of the building and are not part of the land-use plan.

* The team can make independent decisions (Power level 4) about:
** changing or adapting existing community landscaping areas;
** carrying out the community land-use plan;
** spending money up to the limit of the team's annual budget;
** all other team-related tasks.

* Community members must get permission from Landscaping to:
** Place new plantings in common landscaping areas (as defined by the map referenced in #1);
*** Maintenance of such plantings need to be mutually agreed upon
** Add supplies, tools or equipment to Landscaping storage areas.

8. The Landscaping team accepts input from people not on the team by email, personal contact, filling out posted surveys, etc. The team can establish a deadline for input on an issue.

9. Any community member can be on the Landscaping email list, but only those self-declared Landscaping members can participate in team decisions.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 16:28

Snow Team

Snow Team

The Snow Team has been formed to help the community keep the pathways and parking lots clearer and safer. The snow team will ensure that the pathway across the field to the septic meter, which is read daily by a third party, is maintained, and will handle the maintenance of any community snow blowers.The snow team will also creatively troubleshoot if new issues related to snow and ice arise, and help communicate issues to Sawyer Hill Liaison to the Plowing Contractor.

What kind of team we are: Standing (seasonal)
How members are chosen: Self-selection &/or invitation
How team decisions are made: Consensus
Where we get our funding and what it covers: Normal yearly budget process.
Budget for routine maintenance and replacement of non-powered snow equipment (shovels, Ice scrapers and extended car scrapers, oil and gas for the snowblower ) from co-housing budget. Snowblower major repairs and replacement to come from HOA Maintenance Budget.
To whom we report, when, and how: Plenary via email and/or General Meeting
We work in conjunction with: Sawyer Hill Trustees.
Power Level: Power level 4 for policy decisions like creating the exact framework for volunteers to take ownership of a certain run of path, budgeting and actual work we do on a snowy day or week.
How people can reach us or give us feedback and input: By email, please, so we have a record of it.

catya Mon, 09/26/2016 - 09:58



2017: Victoria Gaisford, Scott Hawkins
2018: Mariama Congo, Perley Mears
2019: Catriona Hughes, Ed Gault

  1. Steering is a standing team responsible for coordinating, evaluating, and organizing the ongoing work of Mosaic Commons, as directed by the plenary. This team helps to guide the group, but does not make decisions for the group. This work is broken into several areas:

    1. General Meeting Agenda

      • Collect possible agenda items
      • Publish the list of upcoming agenda items and open issues.
      • Add items to that list as needed
      • Manage sunset policy reviews
      • Act as the gatekeeper for plenary-worthiness based on the guidelines in
      • Submit prioritized agenda items to Facilitation
    2. Emergencies & Decisions between meetings
    3. Action Items, Issues, and Decision Tracking
      • Find an owner for orphaned issues, or manage them directly.
      • Track action items & reminders, and monitor tasks that might be falling through the cracks.
      • Bring new issues/concerns/tasks to the attention of the appropriate team or individual
      • Track the implementation of decisions, and own the decision log
    4. Ensure that community policies are followed
      • Be aware of current policies and notice if policies are being followed.
      • Act as a contact point for people who notice that a policy is not being followed
      • Address issues with people not following the policies
        1. Bring the policy to the person’s attention
        2. Involve Community Support if needed
        3. Bring the matter to the attention of the plenary if needed
      • Bring to the attention of the plenary policies that are regularly disregarded.
    5. Teams
      • Encourage people to join teams that need more help
      • Help teams when asked, nudge them when necessary
      • Drive the process of team mandate creation
      • Ensure teams are reporting as mandated
      • Help to manage cross-team functions.
    6. Schedule and coordinate work weekends
  2. There will be 4-6 members chosen by approval of the plenary, who serve for 3 year staggered terms. Participation on this team will involve a significant commitment of time and energy. If there are more people nominated who agree to serve than there are spaces available on the team, we will use ranked voting. When replacing members of the Steering Team, the Team will inform the community of needs that should be considered in the ranked voting process
  3. Team decisions are made by the consensus of the team. (See #7)
  4. This team may have an annual budget as decided by the plenary.
  5. Reports to the plenary will be issued monthly by email and posted to the website, and will include upcoming agenda items and overviews of other work the team is doing. Team minutes will also be available on the Wiki.
  6. The Steering team will work in conjunction with:
    • Facilitation to create meeting agendas.
    • Action item recorders to ensure decisions and action items are recorded appropriately.
    • Tech/website to post policies and decisions.
    • Other teams as needed to help them get their work done.

  7. Steering is required to get approval from the plenary for its membership and changes to its mandate (power level 2). Steering can make independent decisions about all items in this mandate and changes to how the team makes decisions and does work (power level 4),
    unless otherwise noted.
  8. The Steering team will accept input from people not on the team by email to Members who have concerns about how the Steering team is working should work with CS if they are not comfortable approaching Steering directly.
catya Sun, 04/15/2012 - 20:19

Tech / Website

Tech / Website

Members: Tim, Dave, Dwight, Cat, Ellen, Noel, Perley
(email team)


The Tech/Website team manages the Mosaic Commons website and Common House computing resources. These include but are not limited to:

* mailing lists
* and and related websites (,, wiki, etc.)
* common house wifi
* intro database for sales contacts
* decision log database and website
* Google calendars for Mosaic events and common house reservations

Decisions about content are often guided by Marketing, Finance and other teams.

Team Resources

Tech/Website is allocated a line item in the Mosaic Commons Cohousing Group 2010 budget. While this does not meet our full expenses, we will continue making up the shortfall with donations through 2010, and will submit a revised budget for the 2011 budgeting cycle.
Team Decisions

The Tech/Website team has authority to make any and all technical decisions necessary to keep Mosaic-related systems running securely and reliably. These decisions may include network access, hardware provisioning, and choosing and configuring software packages.

Members of the team have autonomy to make decisions, on their own if necessary, to resolve emergency incidents. These may include but are not limited to security issues, software vulnerabilities, network and power outages, or hardware failures. When an incident has been resolved and no longer presents an immediate emergency, the team will report back to the group and will address whether a long-term change is needed.

The team does not have authority over individual households, including Internet access choices or technical support.

The team does not have the authority to make decisions that affect the way community members communicate with one another, including choosing or changing mailing list systems or website services. An emergency incident may, however, override these concerns (requiring, e.g., moderating a mailing list in the event of spam, taking list archives offline temporarily, disabling access to some systems in the event of a security advisory). The team will report on such emergency incidents as described above.

admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:58



Mosaic Commons Condominium Trust is managed primarily by a board of six trustees, who are elected via consensus at an annual meeting every fall, and serve three year terms.

Team Membership: see HOA / Condo Docs

Mosaic Commons and Camelot Cohousing (our sister neighborhood) together form Sawyer Hill, which is represented by Sawyer Hill Condominium Trust. This board also consists of six trustees, three from each of the two neighborhoods. The Sawyer Hill Trustees serve 1 year terms and are elected via a consensus process within each neighborhood association.


  • 1. The Mosaic Commons Trustees team is a standing team responsible for the governance of the Mosaic Commons HOA, in accordance with the MC condominium documents, and for the management of certain matters for the Mosaic Commons Cohousing group, as directed by the Cohousing plenary. This work is broken into several areas, all of which apply to the HOA and Cohousing group unless otherwise noted:

    • Finance

      • Run the annual budget processes
      • Manage, and have signatory authority on, all bank accounts
      • Interact with banks on finance and mortgage issues
      • Oversee the Bookkeeper
      • Collect dues
      • Pay bills and handle reimbursements
      • Propose and apply fiscal policies (e.g. Sliding Scale; Rollover budget) []
      • Manage Reserves
    • Legal matters for the HOA
      • Negotiate and sign contracts on behalf of the HOA
      • Engage lawyer(s) as and when needed
      • Handle lawsuits
      • File and maintain copies of legal documents
      • Handle items required by MC Master Deed and Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions
    • HOA annual meeting
      • Set date and agenda items (power level 3)
      • Keep minutes
    • Buildings
      • Manage use of common facilities (e.g. renting of Common House)
      • Track rentals of other HOA-owned spaces
      • Approve exterior changes and structural interior changes to buildings, as well as any new structures
        • Note: the condo docs and cohousing policies require neighbor approval for some changes
      • Track legally-required and licensed preventive maintenance tasks (e.g. grease traps; sprinkler testing)
        • Note: other maintenance tasks are coordinated by BnG (Buildings and Grounds team)
    • Relations
      • Be the default first point of inbound contact for the outside world (e.g. fire chief)
      • Handle political relations/negotiations, in conjunction with Steering
      • Handle public relations, in conjunction with Steering
      • Interface with Camelot and the Sawyer Hill HOA
      • Track room usage covered by the Guest Reservation Policy in conjunction with the Concierge.
      • Emergency powers as defined by the plenary.
  • 2. (per the condo docs) There are 6 Mosaic Commons Trustees, who serve staggered 3-year terms (starting/ending at HOA meetings). Trustees are chosen by approval of the Mosaic Commons HOA at the annual HOA meeting in the late Fall. Efforts must be made for 2 of the Trustees to be from 40B units.
    • Additional community members may participate on the team as Adjunct Trustees. Adjunct Trustees are chosen by the elected Trustees, and ratified by a decision of the cohousing group for one-year renewable terms. The team can decide internally how to work with such ad hoc members.
  • 3. Team decisions are made by consensus of the team, or in accordance with team-internal process for making decisions.
  • 4. This team has control over the entire MC HOA budget except the maintenance line-item, which is shared with BnG. It also manages some line-items in the Cohousing budget, including "misc.", reserves, and items not otherwise assigned to a specific team.
  • 5. Reports to the plenary are issued monthly by email and/or at General Meetings, and include an overview of the work the team is doing. Team minutes are also available on the Wiki. Separate minutes are kept for HOA items vs. Cohousing items.
  • 6. The MC Trustees work in conjunction with Sawyer Hill Trustees on HOA issues that affect both Mosaic Commons and Camelot, with BnG on maintenance-related issues, and with the Steering Team on public and political relations.
  • 7. The MC Trustees team is required to get approval from the plenary for major changes to fiscal policies and changes to its mandate (power level 2). In all other areas listed in section 1, the MC Trustees can make independent decisions (power level 4) unless otherwise noted. If, in the Trustees judgement, a decision will greatly impact the community (such as approving a significant external change to a building), the decision will be brought the plenary.
  • 8. The MC Trustees accepts input from people not on the team by email to and by personal contact. The team will keep the community informed about how quickly to expect a response. This process is defined in the Trustees "Process for MC Trustees Proposals and Decision-making" which is available on the wiki.
admin Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:57

Web & Email Resources

Web & Email Resources

Mosaic Commons maintains a substantial set of Web and email resources for our community and those who are interested in it.


We maintain the following email lists:


The announce list is moderated, which means that any post to the list must be approved before it gets forwarded to the list. This list is for members of the community who feel overwhelmbed by lots of email! It has only ‘important’ messages, without replies or discussion. What messages should go to announce?
* Meal / Event Signups
* Service changes or notifications (power / plumbing issues, inspections, etc)
* Meeting notes postings, or other schedule updates
* Community wide event notifications or updates
* Proposals that are going to be presented at the next GM and are going out for discussion on the community list.


This is our discussion list, for those who are members & friends of our community. This list is for anything related to our community -- requests to borrow items, notices of upcoming private social events, discussions about policies, etc. Traffic can be 200-300 messages per month.


Off Topic is the list for political or other discussion that might be interesting to people who live here, but isn't related to the community directly.


The Interest list is our extremely low traffic public list, which anyone is welcome to join from our contact page. Great for people who want to know about rental or buying opportunities, or big events.

Team lists

Teams keep their own email lists, for discussion not of interest to the whole group. Check out

On the Web

You are now on the main website for Mosaic Commons. This site is designed as a resource both for the people interested in living here and for the people who are already living here. We also have a separate site, just for our members..

Any questions? Contact Us

admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 15:01



Affiliates Policy


  1. To become a Mosaic Commons cohousing affiliate
    1. A potential affiliate individual or household must have at least two cohousing members from two different households as "sponsors".  (See below for the ongoing responsibilities of sponsors.)
    2. Sponsors should alert the membership integration team, then send an email to the Mosaic “Announce” list (not the general community discussion list) to introduce and propose the potential affiliates. The email should also list who the sponsors are.
    3. If any existing members of the cohousing group have concerns or objections about the proposed affiliate, they should discuss these with the membership integration team.  Concerns should not be discussed on the community email list.
    4. If no one contacts the membership integration team with objections or concerns within two weeks of the proposal, the proposed affiliate is accepted automatically.
    5. If there are objections or concerns, the sponsors and those with concerns/objections should discuss the issue. (They may also wish to hold a discussion circle to get broader community input.) Hopefully, this will result in a resolution—the objection being withdrawn or the sponsors withdrawing the affiliate proposal. As a last resort, if a resolution is not possible, the question of approval will fall back on our usual plenary decision process.
    6. When an affiliate is accepted per the process above, a sponsor must 
      1. Contact the Trustees with the name and the contact info for the new affiliate, as well as the affiliate’s pledge amount
      2. Introduce the new affiliate on the community email list
    7. The Trustees will add the new affiliate to the list of affiliates and contact the email list team ( to add the new affiliate to relevant email lists and add website access.


  1. Sponsor responsibilities
    1. Sponsorship is an ongoing relationship. All current affiliates must have two sponsors from separate households who are members of the cohousing group.  (Affiliates cannot sponsor other affiliates.)
    2. Sponsors serve as the link between the community and the affiliate.
    3. Sponsors should discuss the rights and responsibilities of affiliates with the affiliate or potential affiliate, including the necessity for pledging a monthly amount per our policy.
    4. Sponsors will serve as mentors for new affiliates or help the membership integration team identify a mentor.
  2. Remaining an affiliate
    1. An affiliate must have two sponsors to remain an affiliate. If a sponsor declines or is unable to continue sponsoring, they should contact the membership team and their sponsored affiliate. The membership integration team will ask if anyone else wants to volunteer.  If no volunteers are found within a month, the affiliate will no longer be an affiliate.
    2. Once per year, the membership team will ask both sponsors and affiliates to reaffirm their desire to be an affiliate/to sponsor the affiliate.
    3. If the affiliate plus both sponsors do not reaffirm within 30 days, the affiliate will be removed.
    4. Affiliates must make a pledge toward the cohousing budget every year during the annual bid process. If an affiliate has not pledged the minimum amount by the bid deadline, the Trustees will contact the sponsors, who should talk to the affiliate about pledging. If the affiliate has not pledged within 60 days, they are no longer an affiliate.
    5. If at any time an affiliate is three months or more behind on their dues, the Trustees will contact the membership integration team and the sponsors, who should talk to the affiliate about paying. If the affiliate has not paid within 60 days thereafter, they are no longer an affiliate. (The Trustees may make exceptions in the case of financial hardship. Sponsors or affiliates may also wish to request funds from the Neighbor Fund.)


  1. Removing an affiliate
    1. An affiliate can choose to withdraw at any time.  To do so, they should contact their sponsors, who should in turn notify the community and the Trustees.
    2. An affiliate can be removed at any time by plenary decision, whether they have a sponsor or not.
    3. Someone wanting to propose removal of an affiliate should talk to the affiliate's sponsors and/or the membership integration team and/or the affiliate to try and find a resolution.  (The parties involved may wish to hold a discussion circle as part of this process.)
    4. If a resolution can't be found, and the affiliate does not withdraw voluntarily, the member integration team or the proposing individual may call for plenary decision through the standard process for plenary decisions.
    5. The plenary will be asked to approve the affiliate’s continued participation following Mosaic’s standard decision-making process. If the plenary does not approve the affiliate’s continued participation, they will be removed as an affiliate.



These notes are not part of the policy per se, but are included here to provide additional context for this policy.

Team responsibilities related to affiliates 


  • Maintain a list of current affiliates and their sponsors
  • Work with tech team to have affiliates added or removed from email lists and website access when needed
  • Notify membership integration team if an affiliate isn’t paying dues or hasn’t made a yearly pledge


Membership Integration Team:

  • Manage process of accepting and removing affiliates (e.g. keeping track of member objections, proposing acceptance or removal to the plenary if necessary)
  • Reach out to all affiliates and their sponsors once per year so they can reaffirm their interest in being an affiliate/sponsoring
  • Notify the trustees of changes in affiliate status (joining, leaving, new sponsors, etc.)



Currently, Mosaic Commons’ membership and participation policy has three different categories for membership: HOA members (automatic for all owners), cohousing members (optional for residents), and cohousing “friends” (for non-residents, or residents who don’t wish to become full members).  

There have been concerns expressed by some in the community that the process by which someone becomes a “friend” is ill-defined, and that there’s no process at all by which someone is removed as a “friend”.



Here are some key points the ad hoc team considered when developing this policy:

  • In our polling of “friends” and community members, both groups were very keen on having the ability to involve people in the community who don’t live here!  Apparently our “friends” really like our community, and vice versa.
  • The word “friends” comes with emotional baggage in our culture. Rejecting or removing a “friend” might suggest we don’t like them, or that they are no longer welcome to visit the community. “Affiliate” is a more neutral term. Someone can still be friends with people in the community without having an official status!
  • Our current process of approving “friends” by discussing them in the third person on the list and then “voting” on their approval is needlessly socially and emotionally difficult. 
  • Affiliates should, by definition, be a part of our community.  The requirement to have two sponsors is a way of indicating that at least two people in the community consider someone as “belonging” to the community, enough that those sponsors are willing to commit the time and effort to make sure that the affiliate is truly a part of the community.
  • Requiring affiliates to actively reaffirm their desire to be here prevents the situation where people just kind of “disappear” without any clear indication of whether they are really still part of the community.
  • We currently have no mechanism by which to remove friends/affiliates. Once someone is a “friend”, they stay that way forever, even if they aren’t truly part of the community, if they aren’t connected with anyone here, if they aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities as friends (including paying dues), or if there are members who have active objections to their involvement.  We view being an affiliate as a privilege, not a right.  As such, it should be straightforward to remove them if appropriate.


catya Mon, 07/08/2013 - 12:03