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How should co-housing be defined?


A group of people in a neighboring town want to develop a sort of co-housing project - 14 homes along an existing road with the majority of the land (135 acres) under easement for agricultural use. The group plans would like a homeowners association to own the entire parcel, while individual homeowners would own the houses. The land immediately under each house would be leased to the homeowner. The town is arguing that they need a use variance since condos are not permitted in the zone, which is rural agricultural. I have no experience with this type of development, but I would like to help out if I can. Any thoughts out their on how to treat co-housing? Is it a condo development, or is it a form of a single-family residential development?

Any thoughts at all would be greatly appreciated.


In Massachusetts the courts have ruled that condominium is a form of ownership and not a form of land use. The use would be single family, two-family, multi-family depending upon the units in a structure. At least here, if the units were detached units and the tract of land met the requirements for the site to be developed under our zoning, then the site would be treated as a single family development.