Our Development Plan Is Approved by the Town Planning CommissionSeptember 2016
Thumbs up! Our Development Plan is approved!

On a beautiful Monday evening in September, 14 Shepherd Villagers crowded into the Shepherdstown Town Hall to witness the approval of our Development Plan by the Planning Commission. It was a momentous night. The Development Plan is the much fuller version of our Outline Plan, which was approved by the Town Council in April. The Development Plan includes detailed engineering of our roads, homes, and storm water management design (which uses rain barrels, biorentention ponds, and conservation areas). The Plan was submitted to the Planning Commission at the end of August, and on this night in September we were to find out whether it passed muster. Everyone was excited and a bit nervous. We needn't have worried. Our presentation team was well prepared: Kay Schultz gave a thorough introduction and calmly answered the various thoughtful questions from the commissioners. She was ably supported by our Project Manager, Civil Engineer, and Storm Water Designer. In the end, the Planning Commission gave unanimous approval to our Plan, contingent on regulatory approvals from various State agencies (the usual way these things work). Hearty applause filled the room, and then we all trooped outdoors for a few minutes of lively conversation and a happy photo. Now it's thumbs up and full steam ahead.

Step by step, we continue to progress
By the end of September, we expect to have completed the architectural drawings for our beautiful Common House and lovely private homes, in conjunction with the guidance of structural engineers. We will soon submit these plans for contractor bids.  We have already begun soliciting bids for infrastructure work. 
We are working to complete our list of "specs" - the detailed description of materials for building our homes.  So many decisions!  Trying to balance functionality, sustainable practices, aesthetic preferences, accessibility, and affordability!

Our community is more than plats and specs
The land we tend and the houses we build are the scaffold for the heart of what we are creating at Shepherd Village--a common life. That common life requires careful construction and nurture too. Last May we came together for a day-long workshop to explore the richness and possibilities of the diverse personalities and life experiences that shape us. We experimented with ways to talk and listen to one another when the inevitable differences of opinion and thought arise. Out of that workshop we wrote a set of ground rules to guide us through these times of conflict, large and small. We affirmed the rules in our most recent Members Meeting. They are a way to remember to listen to one another with an open heart, to assume that others are acting with positive intent, and to take responsibility for any thoughts and feelings that may inhibit our ability to trust one another and work together.
Going out to the movies?

If you're going to the American Conservation Film Festival in Shepherdstown, keep an eye out for our Shepherd Village ad in the program. Since we have an intention to build and live with planet-friendly practices, we're thrilled that ACFF is our neighbor!  Check out the festival

And speaking of fun
More than a dozen Shepherd Villagers had dinner together before seeing Mountain Stage host Larry Groce perform songs from his new album, Live Forever, at the Opera House In Shepherdstown. The old-school Opera House was a perfect setting for Groce's collection of wistful, sometimes haunting, songs. We loved listening together and conversing afterwards about the tears and laughter Larry's music evoked in us.
We have 21 member households and four explorer households!
Shepherd Village is growing!  As of this writing, we have 21 Member and four Explorer households.  Explorers spend three months participating in the life of Shepherd Village and, with the help of their Village mentors, get better acquainted with the people and processes as the community gets to know them.  We are well on our way to reaching full capacity at 30 households!
If you are considering joining Shepherd Village, please check the website for more information about our cohousing community.  If what you see is of interest, consider joining us for a two-part orientation.  You can follow the orientation schedule and register at upcoming events.

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