Want to know the details about joining Stone’s Throw? Email, phone, or stop us on the street! Most Stone’s Throw members live in Viroqua (click the Location tab) and our meetings are held here. We hold open houses each month. You can also visit our business meetings– to observe at first– then join our potluck which follows. These are the best times to ask your questions.
Below is all the information you need to join Stone’s Throw Ecovillage.
Information for Prospective Members
Thank you for your interest in Stone’s Throw Ecovillage. We welcome new members who share our vision of creating together a sustainable, healthy and people friendly community.
WHO WE ARE
The heart of our vision is a village-scale community where we share resources, communicate with respect, and wisely steward the land.
We are working to build a community of 15-18 households, in a mix of single-family and multi-family buildings that is located within easy walking and biking distance of downtown Viroqua. We envision growing a significant amount of our own food and sharing common facilities so we can cook, eat, socialize, and work on projects together. We place a high value on sharing resources and building resource-efficient homes utilizing local materials. The members of Stone’s Throw Ecovillage have a record of success in making decisions by consensus and communicating directly, honestly and with respect for each other. We want to steward the land to continuously improve its health, to serve as an educational resource to others interested in our goals, to welcome diversity, and to be a benefit to our larger community economically, socially, and ecologically.
LOCATION, SITE PLAN, OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE
We have purchased 12 acres of organic land with a house and an outbuilding located just outside of the city limits of Viroqua. The land has a south facing slope, mature trees, a year-round creek and springs, space for community gardening and natural areas for all to enjoy.
The existing house will make a fine common house with plenty of space for cooking and dining together, a play area for children, a workroom and rooms for guests. There is also room for storage and laundry in the house and additional space for storage in the outbuilding.
The master site plan we envision creating together is one that utilizes the principles of permaculture. The houses will be clustered near the common house, there will be gardens, well water, a grey water system, and perennial plantings that will provide food for people and wildlife, windbreaks, beauty and privacy.
Members will purchase a lot to build a home of their choice. All of the members will share in the ownership of the common facilities and common land.
Stone’s Throw Ecovillage uses the process of formal consensus to make decisions. Formal consensus involves a commitment to active cooperation, disciplined speaking and listening and respect for the contributions of every member. Each person has the responsibility to participate as a creative individual within the structure. This method of decision making is highly democratic and encourages the creative potential of the community to flourish.
We have found the booklet On Conflict and Consensus (http://www.consensus.net/pdf/consensus.pdf) to be a useful resource and recommend it to our new members.
We hold business meetings on an ongoing basis, most often every two weeks. They are announced ahead of time on our website, facebook page and email list. Prospective members must attend four meetings to become eligible for membership. This requirement ensures that you will become familiar with our goals and values. Meetings are usually accompanied by a potluck during which we can get to know each other and you can ask questions.
There is a joining fee (sliding scale $100 to $200 per household) and a monthly fee of at least $10 per month per household. These fees help pay for general expenses. As of March 2014, when we purchased the property for the ecovillage, there is also a $5000 equity contribution required of each household. This $5000 will be credited to the price of the household’s future lot. Additional equity contributions will be required as development proceeds.
In addition, each individual member must read and sign the Operating Agreement we have drawn up for the operation of our current legal structure, which is an LLC, Limited Liability Company, set up for the purchase and development of our property. You will become a member of the LLC upon signing.
PROJECTED COSTS AND TIMEFRAME
A final lot price has not been determined to date. Based on preliminary assessment of our needs and estimated costs, we project a lot price of $35,000 to $40,000. Lots may vary in size, which will affect the price.
Lots will be selected on the basis of seniority in membership, and will increase in price with time. Members joining before 10/1/14 will receive the base lot price. Members joining between 10/1/14 and the beginning of development will pay an additional $1500/lot. Members joining after development begins will pay $2500/ lot over the base price. Members joining after development is completed will pay a higher lot price, to be determined.
We are working with the national Partnership for Affordable Cohousing to develop affordable housing possibilities. There may also be rental opportunities.
At the 10 member milestone (we are currently 5 member households) we plan to assess the possibility of beginning site design and development. This would take several months, after which individual home construction could begin.
Our ultimate goal is 15 to 18 homes. We have decided to reassess feasibility if we do not achieve 10 members by June 2015.
FUTURE HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION STRUCTURE
There will be a legal structure similar to a Homeowners’ Association put into place when lots are sold. Through this association we will manage the common holdings and establish policies to create the community we envision. Founding members have discussed some issues such as pets, fences, guns, and noise, but final policies will be established by the larger community. Potential areas for consideration include any home design restrictions, policies on outbuildings and home business activities etc. All participating members will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas.
There will be monetary assessments and work requirements for members of the ecovillage, to cover maintenance and improvements and support the common holdings and activities as needed. Details will be decided by the group when we are at that stage.
We invite you to contact us if you’d like more information and to arrange a visit to the property.