Durham, NC: The Durham City Council has approved a rezone and annexation to allow for the first LGBT-focused cohousing community in the United States. The Council voted 7-0 on June 19, 2017, enthusiastically supporting the plan to build Village Hearth Cohousing in North Durham.
Council members Steve Schewel, Cora Cole-McFadden, Jillian Johnson, and Don Moffitt commented respectively, “Wish we had more of these…,” “Welcome to my North Durham neighborhood…,” “Exciting and innovative…,” and “A great idea…”
Village Hearth co-founder, Margaret Roesch, remarked, “It was so amazing to watch the council members’ faces as Village Hearth members spoke about our project. They moved from interest to head-nodding to smiles…”
Village Hearth invites the public to a celebratory reception on Thursday, July 18, when they will unveil the architectural design for the community. The event will run from 5 to 8 pm at the Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd, Durham, NC, just off the 15/501 bypass.
Located a short 20-minute drive from downtown Durham, Village Hearth will be a lively and supportive 55+ community of lesbians, gay men, friends, and allies. Co-founder Pat McAulay says, “It took many of us a lot of time to come out; many LGBTs wind up going back into the closet to safely get the care they need as they age. We want to be able to live comfortably, without having to hide any aspect of ourselves.”
Village Hearth hired Chuck Durrett (McCamant & Durrett Architects) and Katie McCamant (CoHousing Solutions), the people who brought the highly successful cohousing concept from Denmark to the US in the late 1980s, to design and guide its development. The two award-winning companies have a strong track record designing dozens of cohousing communities across the United States.
Cohousing is a modern take on an old-fashioned village. The physical environment enables knowing your neighbors while retaining the ability to balance social interactions with privacy, independence with mutual support. Efficient design and shared responsibilities simplify maintenance and lowers costs. Legally a condominium complex, each home is privately owned. Common facilities and a sharing culture will present opportunities for residents to follow their passions while lowering dependence on cars and driving.
The common house is the heart of the community. An extension of one’s home, it will include an inviting terrace, large kitchen, dining/meeting room, sitting room, laundry, exercise room, and guest room. Communal and private gardens, fitness trails, a dog park, fire pit, art studio, workshop, and quiet spaces for visiting or contemplation will dot the natural landscape.
Village Hearth residents look forward to being good neighbors - learning each other’s skills, interests, and passions. The group will build 28 accessible, single-story, attached homes, with big front porches and private backyards clustered on one end of 15 beautifully wooded acres. Floor plans include one- and two-bedroom homes, each with a fully equipped kitchen, living, and dining area. Target home prices are expected to range from the mid $200s to the high $300s.
Part of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Triangle and home to Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, and the Research Triangle Park, Durham is nationally recognized for medicine, collegiate sports, and technology.
Durham has a large, visible gay community and a vibrant LGBTQ Center. Innovative repurposing of historic tobacco, textile, and furniture factories and warehouses support a lively arts scene, renowned sports venues, and city parks, giving the city its unique character. Award-winning restaurants abound. The scenic Eno River, one of many places for outdoor recreation and popular with fly fishermen and kayakers, is a quarter mile away and accessible by a foot path from Village Hearth.
Construction on Village Hearth is proposed to begin in spring 2018, with completion expected in spring/summer 2019. Availability and seniority for home selection is determined by date of membership application, and discounts on home prices are still being offered.
For additional information about cohousing and the Village Hearth Cohousing project, contact Pat McAulay or Margaret Roesch by telephone at (561) 714-8009, or email at VillageHearthCohousing@gmail.com. To learn more about this exciting first for the LGBT community, visit their website at www.VillageHearthCohousing.com.
Contact: Pat McAulay