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Important:We are sending this letter one time and with a one-week hence reminder. After that if we do not hear from you, you will not receive any further communications about this project. A few people are on a private list and therefore might receive this twice, once as direct email and once through our email service at “Constant Contact”.Link to download full document with questionnaire:
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Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Greetings from Alex and Tish in Montana!
There are many good reasons to consider the notion of a planned intentional community: High commonality of values, natural beauty, shared cost for various commons, peace and privacy, security, potential for cooperative economic enterprises, and more. The current “handwriting on the wall” offers the evidence of a severe social, economic, political breakdown concurrent with major changes in our planetary environment. Some may choose to relocate and be part of awakened community as a pro-active response.
How often do you get to choose your neighbors? For some of us, it may be appealing to be part of a small community of people with complimentary skills and interests that relocate in an area of relatively unspoiled nature. What such a community does with itself will be something to emerge over time.
This letter is to help gauge the level of interest and feasibility of such a project. Only one reminder letter will be sent via email in approximately one week. If after that we do not hear back from you with the enclosed survey and your comments, you will not receive any further communications concerning this project. As well, we have no interest or plans to advertise this project in any other way. If you are NOT likely to make such a move in 2009, 2010, or 2011 you may choose not to complete the questionnaire. Regardless of your choice, at least read on
Our primary interest at present is to gauge the level of interest and feasibility from a self-selecting group of people who are part of the Global Awakening, New Earth Summit, and Mission Ignition networks. For those who may be reading this for the first time, please know there are no gurus or saviours or religious agendas here, only a group of aware individuals who are interested in creating something worthwhile that relates to a new earth and a new paradigm based on trust, caring, service and within a larger context of connection to a greater spiritual intelligence. To get a little more insight into one perspective on awakened community, please see the article at this link: http://www.pfcn.net/Bulletins/Awakened%20Community-%20Nov%2007.pdf.
Why Montana? It is one a few states with large areas of relatively unspoiled land and a moderate climate. It is possible to be within a reasonable drive of a city center, yet feel as though you are in a remote location. There are also large expanses of wilderness and national forest lands. The areas we are looking are generally in what would be considered the western portion where there are ample forests, meadows, streams, mountains and meadows. The eastern portion tends to be vast open high plains. The climate is moderate in summer and winter. Rain and snow fall tends to be light to moderate. There are few locales available in North America that meets our overall desirability criteria as does western Montana. We do have a question in the survey as to whether anyone in this group has a large parcel of land under their control that could be used for an intentional planned community and this may become useful in the future.
Land and Locale
The land would be located in Western Montana and would encompass between 150 acres to 1,500 acres, depending on locale and available financial resources. The overall elevation would most be in the range of 4,000 to 5,000 ft. A few candidate sites could be in the 5,000 to 6,000 ft elevation range. The property would be accessible from a county or state maintained paved road and within one to two hours drive from a major population center and within one-half to one hour from a nearby small town.
The land would include forest, meadows, streams or creeks, etc. It would likely be adjacent to or very close to national forest or wilderness lands and would likely have nearby land available for future leasing or purchase. There would also likely to be good natural soil in places for agricultural activities Well water would be abundant. We are also considering areas that are relatively free of major earthquake history.
In Montana there is very little by way of restrictive zoning or other legal impediments beyond the basics of water and sanitation and electrical safety. It is likely there were be a combination of off-grid and public power. Where there is public power, there is usually telephone and thus the potential for high speed Internet. If necessary this can be augmented by high speed satellite service. These would all be considered potential shared costs.
Areas of the land would be reserved for nature preserves and waterways, agriculture, keeping of certain kinds of animals, private residences, rental units, guest quarters, and commons. Commons could include greenhouses, food, flower, and herb gardens, shops, studio, and storage for fabrication and maintenance work, food and other type of general store facility, a common use hall for dining, meeting, child care and school, medical aid, etc. These are limited only by imagination and common sense as well as material and financial resources.
Housing and Structures
A combination of separate private residences, detached and attached rental residences, and short term guest quarters are anticipated Initial design concepts would be prepared to facilitate the process for people and computer design services used for greater efficiency.
While some of these structures will be custom designed, there is likely to be a series of style templates developed to facilitate low cost yet high quality and healthful construction and to provide some measure of general visual harmony with aesthetic distinctiveness. A primary builder would be engaged who could handle complete or partial construction thus allowing some residents to take a hand in their own building.
It is expected that there will be advantages to shared costs of important common elements that would otherwise be the obligation of a single household. These include power, water, Internet, septic, shop, storehouses, common halls, gardens and greenhouses, stabling and corrals, office services, guest housing, grounds and roads, taxes, etc. To provide a simple example, to drill a 200 ft deep water well can cost $6000, plus $3000 or more for pump and piping, public power pedestals cost $2000 to $3000, high speed (DSL/T-1 grade Internet access can cost $500 per month, and then there are water storage systems, etc., These costs can better be spread between multiple households. In Montana many people have substantial garage/shops/etc., and these are seldom fully used. A common shop and fabrication facility can be used for both construction and future community enterprises. And households can minimize the space otherwise needed for such activities. Tractors with implements are expensive, but one that is for community use is a huge cost savings. Roads need regular grading and in the winter snow clearing becomes important.
Since this is not a commercial development project to generate profits to the developers and sales people, this is very different from 99% of planned communities or developments. It is anticipated that there could be certain community enterprises that would have economic value.
It is hoped that among those individuals receiving this letter, there may be one or a few who would be willing and interested in helping to secure the land and basic development costs in exchange for certain considerations such as reserving of certain portions of the land, etc.
In the absence of “angel” contributors, we are seeking ways to involve a few private lenders. The outcome in any event would be relatively low cost housing given the reality of the costs of land and construction.
Governance and Ownership
There are many ways to approach this and we have not deliberately defined this at such an early stage. One approach would be shares in a form of cooperative land ownership and that privately owned structures be saleable with a land use agreement such as a land lease. This is preferable to formal subdivision. Rental income would be used to cover investment in the building costs and private loans as well as common needs. Ample precedent for this exists in Montana where it is possible to obtain long-term state leases, build on it, and be able to convey title in the event of a need to sell. And yes, formal subdivision of lots is also under consideration since it is a more traditional approach and would allow those who prefer to involve a commercial lender.
A type of resident time credit would also be included that would address common maintenance and development needs. Those with a penchant for gardening might consider accepting some sort of “subscription” gardening compensation from those who are not included toward gardening.
If a positive indication comes of this letter, we will be encouraged to begin outlining more of certain financial and ownership models as well as principles and processes. This initial set of processes and protocols would be set-up by the initial residents and founders and with consideration to growth and maturing of the community in the future.
Furthermore, it is anticipated that this project will conduct itself quietly and not advertise itself. New residents would come through existing networks of people that share a higher set of common values.
There are three parts to this:
· Part one is simply about likely personal needs and preferences.
· Part two is about money and related
· Part three of derived from the IOOW-2000 national values study and takes barely several minutes to complete. This is not a test, it is simply an experiment in common core beliefs and values. One that may prove very helpful in the future
Please feel free to include any comments and questions in your response.
We would greatly appreciate receiving these within one to two weeks. A summary of results will be sent out to all those who do respond with completed questionnaires.
At some point, if this moves ahead, a private online forum will be set-up as well as conference calls.
As candidate land is identified this too will be uploaded to a private website for viewing by those in the respondent group.
As a former research professionals, we want to assure you that any remarks you provide will never be given out to anyone without your written permission.
ew Earth Community Feasibility
Monday, September 15, 2008
See link at for full document –
Contact Information~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Global Awakening Press and Positive Future Consulting: www.pfcn.netNew Earth Summit Online Forum: http://www.newearthsummit.org/forum/E-mail: •••@••.•••~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~