The new com­mu­nity


Many po­ten­tial home­buy­ers from out of town are ab­so­lutely over­whelmed by the di­ver­sity of our neigh­bor­hoods, and by the va­ri­ety of life­style choices avail­able for such a small town. Whether some­one is look­ing for ur­ban walk­a­bil­ity, or ru­ral life with goats and chick­ens, it can all be found here. And some­times you can find both ex­tremes com­bined to­gether. Re­cently, we have been show­ing homes in a cou­ple of “pocket com­mu­ni­ties” and want to in­tro­duce you to some of the spe­cial neigh­bor­hoods that Santa Fe has to of­fer.

Lo­cated only a cou­ple of miles from the Plaza along the Santa Fe River are two unique com­mu­ni­ties that of­fer a truly dif­fer­ent Santa Fe ex­pe­ri­ence. Known as The Com­mons and Tres Plac­itas del Rio, th­ese two sub­di­vi­sions are de­scribed as “co-hous­ing com­mu­ni­ties” whereby each owner res­i­dent has own­er­ship and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­yond his or her own home.

Co-hous­ing as a move­ment is about strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween per­sonal free­do­mand com­mu­nity living. It strives to unite peo­ple with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests and val­ues yet al­low for per­sonal pri­vacy and in­de­pen­dence. Each res­i­dent owns a home and has an equal own­er­ship in­ter­est in the com­mu­nity prop­erty. The legal en­tity is set up sim­i­lar to a con­do­minium; on pa­per it may look like a home­owner as­so­ci­a­tion or condo as­so­ci­a­tion, but in prac­tice it is much dif­fer­ent.

Each home is de­signed by and some­times built by the home­owner and even though there is ar­chi­tec­tural re­view to main­tain a gen­eral aes­thetic stan­dard, the home styles vary greatly, from tra­di­tional pue­blo to mod­ern con­tem­po­rary. And rather than out­sourc­ing man­age­ment to a na­tional com­pany, which seems to be a grow­ing trend, com­mu­nity gov­er­nance and de­ci­sion­mak­ing are con­ducted face-to-face at regular meet­ings and are con­sen­sus-based.

Above and be­yond the gen­eral groundskeep­ing are things like com­mu­nity meals, or­ganic farm­ing, and the keep­ing of goats and chick­ens. At Tres Plac­itas del Rio, the over­sight of the or­ganic gar­dens and the goat co-op comes from sep­a­rate com­mit­tees for folks who have stronger in­ter­ests in those ar­eas. (And there is noth­ing as cute as a baby goat.) The Com­mons of­fers com­mu­nity meals twice a week. For peo­ple who like to cook, this is a good­way to earn some work hours. There is a goal to pro­vide or­ganic meals. Sign-up sheets are posted sev­eral days ahead of time. Res­i­dents and their guests who wish to dine sim­ply sign up and the charge goes to the res­i­dent’s monthly fee.

The Com­mons is the larger of the two sub­di­vi­sions, with 28 homes clus­tered around four large, open green ar­eas called plac­itas, or lit­tle plazas, and a larger plaza next to the Com­mon House. Tres Plac­itas Del Rio has 11 homes that sur­round the com­mon grounds with lovely ter­races, walk­ways, and a dining pav­il­ion. There is a gated en­trance to the Santa Fe River bike trail, which will take you the mile to down­town or the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard. If you want more in­for­ma­tion, they each have web­sites, or, even bet­ter, ar­range to take a tour. There are a cou­ple of homes avail­able for sale, so if you have an in­ter­est in living in a spe­cial com­mu­nity now is a good time.

You can be as ac­tive as you wish or just ap­pre­ci­ate the bu­colic rus­tic­ity of th­ese ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties. It’s a per­fect sit­u­a­tion for any­one seek­ing a greater sense of com­mu­nity or for those with busy life­styles who oth­er­wise­would not be able to have gar­dens, chick­ens, and goats as their sole re­spon­si­bil­ity. Pat­terned af­ter more an­cient ways of living, th­ese two com­mu­ni­ties seem to be sur­pris­ingly ahead their time.

Roger and Melissa are Re­al­tors at KW. Call them at 505-699-3112, email twicethe­selling­, or fol­low them on Twit­ter @ Car­so­nandCar­son and at www.face­­so­nandcar­son. santafe­r­ealestate.

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