•Thirty-three individually-owned townhouses, duplexed pairs, and detached single-family homes with around 50 adults and 25 children
•An ecologically sensitive building and site design that preserves the land’s natural beauty
•An intergenerational, friendly atmosphere that is safe for children and conducive to visiting with neighbors
•A large community building, called the common house, for optional shared meals, celebrations, and other activities
•A rural location within 5-10 minutes of shopping, Virginia Tech, and downtown Blacksburg, with city water and sewer
•Near good public schools as well as several private schools that go up to 8th grade
•Residents are business owners, construction workers, dancers, homemakers, artists, engineers, writers, entrepreneurs, CPAs, musicians, university professors, administrators, bodyworkers, chefs, landscapers, IT people, counselors and retirees
•Households are expected to give volunteer hours back to the community, to keep costs lower and to build relationships. Generally households are expected to spend 6 to 10 hours a month in volunteer hours, though many households do far more.
Residents have many opportunities to meet one another while they’re getting their mail at the common house, strolling on the pedestrian walkway on which the houses all front, playing outdoors with their kids or their dogs, or walking to their cars. Because the center of the community is a pedestrian area, kids have a safe place to play away from cars.
In Shadowlake Village, our common areas include the common house, two large community gardens, a central area we call the “Green”, a gazebo, playground, pathways, and the parts of our 33 acres that will never be developed, such as the woods and lower meadows. Part of the hillside meadows is being re-naturalized with native trees and wildflowers so we can pay back some of the debt we owe to Mother Nature for having developed this beautiful ridgetop. Other open spaces include a small entry park, areas to camp and picnic, an informal ball field, and a fire pit for occasional bonfires.
Our homes are clustered on a small portion of our site to preserve several acres of green space and 17 acres of mature woods, which include well-tended trails. The woods is an important part of our common space. It has wildflowers, footpaths, and mature stands of poplar, oak, maple, cherry, hickory, and ash trees, and offers cool sanctuary in hot weather and enchanting views in winter snow. We are fortunate that our wooded acreage is directly adjacent to the 169-acre Brown Farm that was purchased by the Town of Blacksburg in 2000 and is now called Heritage Park.
The Common House
The Common House has 5500 square feet on two stories. The main level includes the central mail pickup and bulletin boards of upcoming activities as well as a computer terminal to access the internal electronic bulletin board; a professional-grade kitchen; a multipurpose room for eating, holding dances, play-readings, musical events, you name it; a smaller lounge with comfortable chairs and reading lamps that is also our library and committee meeting room; and a children’s playroom. Outside are porches and decks with beautiful views of the woods and the nearby mountains. The lower level includes a laundry area, exercise room, two guest rooms for members’ and residents’ family and friends, and some general purpose space that is yet to be developed.
At SLV, as in all cohousing communities, residents can enjoy having meals together a few times each month. We’re currently having two common meals a week, one as a potluck dinner and one prepared for the community by a cooking team that we take turns signing up for. During the winter months, a brunch is available on Saturday mornings. Participation in meals is voluntary, as with all social events available to residents.
Shadowlake Village is entirely managed by its residents, within the limits of what is permitted by the zoning document. As in many cohousing communities, consensus decision-making is used at meetings when a decision is required.
Community governance is via the Homeowners’ Association and its covenants. Monthly HOA dues are based on several factors including size of household. It is our intention to keep the dues as low as possible but at a level which will permit us to build up a realistic contingency fund for predictable as well as unexpected maintenance, repairs, and improvements.