Greyrock Commons is located on 16 acres of land about three miles northwest of "Old Town" Fort Collins, Colorado. With a spectacular view of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, beautiful gardens, and connected neighbors, Greyrock Commons does not resemble typical housing developments. Designed as a cohousing community, Greyrock includes 30 energy efficient townhomes of various sizes clustered on six acres, each with its own small private yard or garden. The front doors of the homes face common areas or the central green where much community activity takes place. The site layout was designed to be pedestrian friendly and to minimize the impact of vehicles. Ten acres of the site are dedicated to open space that supports wildlife, walking paths, community vegetable gardens, and a large playing field. Within a half mile is the Poudre River and access to numerous bike and walking trails that follow the river and wind through Old Town Fort Collins.
In addition to 30 homes, the community includes Common buildings: a spacious and functional Common House, a large storage shed with adjoining chicken house and yard, and a passive solar shop with an adjoining garage for short term auto and equipment repairs. Last, but not least, is our irrigation pump house which allows us to use our shares of irrigation water delivered the old-fashioned way by a small ditch that bisects our property.
Our community values living lightly on the earth and is enriched by the diverse experiences, ages, and perspectives of its members. We view Greyrock community-building as a positive, on-going, and, at times, challenging process based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and consensus decision-making. Our mission helps us to remain focused on this community building endeavor.
Greyrock uses a consensus based decision making process. This allows everyone to have a voice in decisions that affect the community. Consensus prevents a minority or majority of people from imposing decisions on everyone. Greyrock has established systems for setting up community work teams around specific tasks, obtaining community input on an issue, generating alternative proposals, considering budget requests, using consensus to arrive at a decision, and finally, implementing the decision.
For example, in 1997 and 1998, the community saw a growing need for functional storage space to house the community tractor, garden tools, equipment, lumber and the like. A small team volunteered to look at the issue and work with the community to establish parameters for an eventual solution. (What purpose would a storage structure serve? What size? At what cost? What construction approach? A combination of community and hired labor?) A final proposal with detailed plans, a budget, and a schedule were developed and presented to the community for a consensus decision. The final result is a beautiful shed and while we were at it, we also decided to build a shop building. Nearly every member of the community participated in some way from swinging a hammer to preparing food and watching children.