Altair EcoVillage

Kimberton, Pennsylvania, United States

  • Last updated: March 11, 2017 (2 months ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

We at Altair are forming a cohousing community built around the following objectives:
-A diverse community providing the opportunity for all generations, economic levels, and religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds to live together in supportive relationships.
-Where the architectural design promotes a comfortable balance between community interaction and privacy.
-Where attractive homes and common facilities will be designed on a model that is ecologically sound, emphasizing moderate consumption, resource sustainability, and horticulture.

Community Description

Altair is going into its 18th year, and currently consists of four families who have invested in the project. We follow the traditional Cohousing model, but are more of an EcoVillage. We are looking to build 35 units for multi-family, ranging in size from studios to four-bedroom units. We have purchased an 8 acre site in Kimberton village and have purchased homes adjacent to the open land to assure we have access. Currently, we are working with the Planning Commission of the Township to update the Zoning to include an EcoVillage.

We hold two meetings a month – a Discussion Group and a Site Development business meeting. We are soliciting new members and friends to help with the pre-approval costs.

Our goal is to build homes that are close to LEEDS platinum, with net-zero energy heating and cooling. We would like to be able to help provide housing for the Waldorf School and the Camphill Village close by.

We anticipate having a Getting-it-Built workshop and design retreats for the site, Common House, and housing designs in the coming year. We have contacted banks and foundations to help with the funding.

We seek people of all ages and income levels. We have a competent developer, a zoning consultant, a land planner, and an architect. We have formed a non-profit to create a funding stream to support local members. At the moment, we need a solid group of investors! You can visit our website or contact us by email or phone.

About

  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience
  • Location: Small Town

Housing

  • Status: We have land in the permitting or zoning stage
  • Area: 9.5 acres
  • Planned number of residences: 35
  • Planned Residence Types: Multi-family homes
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental
  • Land owned by: A subgroup of community members
  • Additional Comments:

    For the future!

Membership

  • Adult Members: 7
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 41-49%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Please contact us by email or by phone. We have Discussion Groups and Site Tours every third Sunday of the month. For orientations and site visits, please contact us.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    A Contributing member (or family) puts in $1000 non-refundable initially and $25/month for dues. Friends give what they can. The Contributing members have a say in how the money is spent and are party to major decisions. We are taking refundable deposits on homes at the $1000 level. We also have Members Investors whose monies go toward the cost of their home but also gives them a return on the investment should we have to resell the land. All members join one of our Task Circles to contribute with the work that needs doing – legal, membership, healthy green living, marketing, site development, sustainability, and financing and affordability.

  • Additional Comments:

    We are looking to have services for elders provided by an outside group such as a Community Supported Nursing. We also plan to have parts of the site open to the community at large, including active play areas, a trail, the Common House, and a community garden.

Government

  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    We are re-examining consensus and exploring Sociocracy. We may hire a process person to help with meetings, decision-making, facilitation. We have a Project Manager representing the residents and interfacing with the professional team.

Economics

  • Join Fee: $1000
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Regular Fee per Month: $25
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution: Encouraged or suggested
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debt)
  • Additional Comments:

    Work Fair share program to be determined. We have been using the Phoenixville Area Time Bank to supplement our shortage of members to help with marketing, graphics, and other tasks.

    $20/month

Sustainability Practices

  • Planned renewable energy generation: Almost All, around 90%
  • Current food produced: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Planned food produced: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Food produced locally: Up to 25%

Lifestyle

  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers)
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We are open to determining how are common meals are made and what they consist of.

    We want plenty of garden space available.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices)
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual
  • Additional Comments:

    As the Contributing Membership grows, we expect to discuss and agree on how we want to live together.

Additional Comments

Looking for members to make a down payment on their home, and/or to invest in an undividable interest in our land and help pay professionals.

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Coho/US

Community Affiliations

Kimberton Village Business Association

Keywords

sustainable, EcoVillage, Cohousing