A year after their first meeting, supporters of a housing concept termed "cohousing" appear to be building steam in their effort to create an old-fashioned neighborhood in Lawrence.
The group has grown to 10 households who have filed for rezoning of the 3.2-acre property they've purchased on the southeast corner of 12th and Delaware streets.
Steve Polson, one of the project's founders
They also have a site plan showing where the parking lot, walkways and buildings will be. The overall project is expected to cost $3.5 million to $4 million.
"What we're after is a neighborhood where we participate in the design in such a way it maximizes our encounters with one another," said Steve Polson, one of the founding members of the project. "We don't find that in the housing we're in."
The site plan that has been submitted to the city shows 11 buildings, including two that now exist on the property.
Group members already have cleared some of the brush from around the property, an effort that has been well received by the neighbors.
"So far, so good," said Jean Ann Pike, president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Assn. "They are making a real effort."
City reaction also has been warm.
Brian Pedrotti, city planner, said the property is a buffer between single-family homes and an industrial use.
"Something like this appears to fit in there," Pedrotti said.
Polson said the plan is to have 30 or 32 households that will purchase condominiums within the project and share ownership of the common areas and a common house, which will be built around a historic home on the property.
They will share some meals and cooperate in the daily chores of life, such as child-care and yard maintenance.
A dues-collecting neighborhood association will be formed to pay for maintenance and other expenses.
Participants hope to break ground next fall.
The group now includes three families with young children, a few single people, as well as couples with grown children.
"It's a nice mix," Polson said.