In 2019, several Raleigh-area people began meeting together to explore the idea of cohousing. All shared a commitment to inclusiveness and social justice and ties to various area organizations and projects. We met regularly to develop common principals to guide our group and explore options for possible locations and design.
Initially, the focus was to find land relatively close to Raleigh because of the members’ jobs and involvement in local activities. We considered a traditional cohousing model, small clustered individual homes with similar design, group space and a common house, community meals and activities, etc. An LLC organization was formed in July 2020 and 9 households (17 individuals) became initial members with hopes of attracting additional diverse membership.
As it became apparent affordable land for this kind of project could not be found in Raleigh, the group disbanded the LLC and began exploring other options including moving together into a piece of a larger development and looking further into the county, specifically in the area around Wendell.
When a large tract of [largely] undeveloped land in Wendell (19 acres with 2 existing homes) came on the market, a member of the group purchased it and our focus shifted to this new opportunity. This member moved onto the site and is acting as “developer” and another member purchased the second structure and is renovating it and will move there in the fall of 2021. The rest of the group continues to be involved in decision making and the exploratory work. Site plans to subdivide the land into ~14 lots have been filed with the town and an engineering firm engaged for the detailed site preparation has been retained. While timing is not firm, the expectation is the development plan will be approved and lots available for purchase in the summer of 2022 and anticipated occupying homes in mid-2023. Given the parcel of land is located on Acorn Creek Lane (and us nearly its sole occupant), the group decided Acorn Creek Community would be a fitting (and logical) name for the cohousing group.
How large will the community be? – the proposed site plan includes 10 lots arranged close together in a horseshoe shape –these would be utilizing city water and sewer. There are 2 more [larger] lots (utilizing well & septic) a bit further down the driveway. Additionally, there will be 1-2 lots along the original driveway a short walk away.
What is expected price range of the homes? Preliminary estimates have the cost of joining the community (share of development costs) are approximately $150,000. This is preliminary as the engineering work is just beginning. Additional costs of each home construction will fluctuate depending on the lot chosen, buildings costs at the time, and the size and plan of the respective home you choose to build. We would expect final costs to be in the $340k-$450k range.
What will be ongoing costs after construction? The community will share the costs of upkeep of the roads, pond, and other systems. With preliminary information, we expect monthly HOA dues of ~$50/month.
What is the nature of the land? The site is 19 acres including a pond. Most of the area is currently wooded but there will be some clearing to allow for construction. About 15 acres will remain undeveloped because of easements and other wetland restrictions. The site is adjacent to a school and a large and growing community (Wendell Falls) but there are buffers between our site and both. The site is easy access to Raleigh (~20 minutes.) There are plans for a large new county park near the site and a satellite campus of Wake Medical Center in the works. In Fall 2021 a Publix will open a 3-minute drive away as well as a Treelight Square, small shopping area that should open Q1 2022.
Are there any age or other restrictions? All ages and household arrangements are welcome. Currently the core group of 9 are in their late 50’s to late 60’s.
Will there be common space? There will be trails, gardens, green space for the community but not a dedicated common house per se. The existing house on the property is ideally suited to accommodate community meals, events, celebrations, etc. It will also serve as the home of one of our members.
Who are the people involved? See Member Profiles – coming very soon!
I’m Interested in learning more!
I’m interested in learning more; what’s my next step? – while our legal LLC was disbanded, the core group of 9 “families” continues to meet regularly both for social activities and business meetings focused 100% on the Acorn Creek parcel. After our re-zoning request is approved, they will be (in stages) moving onto the property. Other interested individuals will initially be invited to social activities before participating in business meetings as an observer. We expect to use the Fall of 2021 to meet those “explorers” (beyond the “core group.”) It’s really important to us to find time for “explorers” to get to know us, and us them. To this end, we’ll prioritize time in August through December for [safe] social times together.
We are pretty sure we’ll have 11 lots and maybe 12. So, given the core group of 9, we are likely open to 2-3 new members of the community. With the current level of interest, it is likely that in Q1 2022 we’ll find good [mutual] matches to our values and afterwards we will then be encouraging people to consider being placed on a waiting list. Your next step, if interested, fill out the website form and starting this important time of mutual learning and exploration.