Community and The Law
Community and the Law can be uneasy bedfellows. Some intentional communities are hobbled by legal restrictions—especially zoning, building codes, and permitting requirements—or by other effects, both within and outside the group, of a complaint-driven legal system. Yet some groups are able to forge new approaches and help change codes and laws to support more cooperative and resilient ways of living. In “Community and the Law,” authors share on-the-ground stories and guidance for others hoping to coexist peacefully and productively with the Law.
Articles in “Community and The Law”
- Publisher’s Note—Sky’s the Limit by Laird Schaub
A new generation of FIC leaders is taking the reins.
- Notes from the Editor—It’s the Law by Chris Roth
Communal living is no escape from dealing with legal issues and challenges coming from both within and outside the group.
- My Intentional Community and the Law by Peter Moore
Breitenbush has a long history of dealing with legalities and illegalities, from installing a volcano as their “boiler” and blocking old-growth logging to successfully petitioning for a zoning variance.
- It Takes All Kinds to Raise a Village by Melanie Rios
After an engaged local citizenry creates cultural shifts, a city endorses rather than prosecutes code-bending strategies that promote resilient community.
- Intentional Communities: Informing the Next Generation of Land Use Law? by Robert Boyer and Rhonda Lambert French
Planned Unit Developments and other approaches offer inroads that can help us transcend restrictive, socially fragmenting zoning ordinances.
- My Struggle to Legalize Sustainable Living by Graham Ellis
After nearly three decades of activity, a pioneering eco-community collapses under the weight of legal attacks by a small group of neighbors.
- Zoning Nightmare: Hartford’s Scarborough Street House by Dave Rozza, Hannah Simms, Josh Blanchfield, Julia Rosenblatt, Kevin Lamkins, Laura Rozza, Maureen Welch, and Simon Raahauge DeSantis
An unconventional family fights to stay in their collective house in the face of antiquated local ordinances which suppress community living.
- Zoning Squabble: Family Is What Family Does by The Hartford Courant Editorial Board
The world has changed since the Ozzie and Harriet era. Zoning cannot live in the past if it is to be effective.
- Neighbor Nightmare in Northern California by Chris Roth
When the calling to cultivate community is combined with good intentions, what can go wrong? The answer is: a lot.
- May the Circles Be Unbroken: Life in Wetherweed by Michael Bridge
The more we share, the less we need, the less we use, and the more we have to give back to the Earth to heal her wounds.
- Land Use Regulations, Urban Planners, and Intentional Communities by Robert Boyer
A century since the United States’ first citywide zoning ordinance, community founders can find support in unexpected places when navigating land use laws.
- An Update from the Lemonade Stand by Kees Kolff
Port Townsend EcoVillage continues to have plenty of opportunities to make lemonade out of lemons as it deals with local authorities.
- The Law as Bad Parent: Oppressive Governmental Regulation of Citizens and Small Groups by Colin Doyle
In the realms of zoning, site plans, building codes, and permits, modern society has created a disempowering system based on distrust.
- The Changing Landscape of the Law: Experiences in Cohousing by JT Hinds
Asheville’s Westwood CoHousing provides case studies in applying new approaches to old categories when relating to the law.
- Immigrating to a Cohousing Project by Katharina Jones
As a stranger you can find welcome in the United States amazingly fast—unless you have to deal with the US Customs and Immigration Service.
- Raven Rocks and Fracking by Susan Jennings
A “community of purpose” provides leadership in reasserting local people’s rights to resist environmental exploitation.
- My Squat Law Journey by Steven DeCaprio
After years of advocacy, social justice work, and on-the-ground experience, a squatter passes the bar exam.
- Nobody Likes Bosses by Molly Shea
Even an anti-authoritarian household needs agreements—but who and how to enforce them is another question.
- Accountability: Conflating Task Monitors with the Police by Laird Schaub
What do you do when someone doesn’t deliver on a promise or is perceived to be breaking your group’s internal agreements?
- Seeing Red Flags: When a Community’s Biggest Threat Comes from Within by Peter McGugan
Egoic, authoritarian agendas can oppress communities from within, just as they can from without. Here are some warning signs.
- Review: Findhorn Reflections by Bill Metcalf
An ecovillager gets personal.
- Creating Cooperative Culture—Establishing a Community: Perspectives from the FEC by Matthew Cullen
These key lessons from others’ experience can make starting a new community easier.