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© 2015  Zephyr Valley Community Cooperative
Zephyr Valley Community Cooperative

Membership Information 

Membership Before joining Zephyr, you will need to work out your own answers to three questions: (1) Do you want to live in a community governed by consensus? (2) do you want to live in a rural area?  (3) Is Zephyr the right consensus-based rural community for you?  Zephyr’s route to membership is designed to give you the time you will need to answer these questions for yourself and to get the assistance you will need from Zephyr Members.  To help you to do this, you are invited to become a  Friend of Zephyr (FOZ) or a Prospective Member (PM).  FOZs are people who want to spend an indefinite amount of time just getting to know ZVCC and who don’t have an immediate time frame for joining.  PMs are people who are willing to put a good deal of time and energy over a period of at least 6 months exploring the possibility of joining Zephyr. Financial Requirements Members pay an initial fee of $10,000 per adult member. This was the amount each of the original members contributed toward the purchase of the farm.  This amount is refundable to departing members, but the Coop may limit repayments to no more than $100 a month plus interest on the unpaid balance.  Members make a monthly contribution to Zephyr’s expenses.  This is set annually during Coop budget discussions and is currently $50/month per member.  Other charges paid by those living at Zephyr include charges for trash/recycling averaging from $20 to $40/month per household depending on the number of adults & kids. Financial Health of Coop The Coop has no outstanding debt. Land and buildings are assessed at over $2 million.  Our operating budget for 2013 is $21,000. 31% of this comes from members and the rest from agricultural land and building rents, and from government programs. This additional income allows us to keep member contributions low. Home Ownership All land is owned by the Coop, including the foot print of buildings. There are six existing homes owned individually by members, which occasionally become available for resale to new members or rental to prospective members, plus more home sites. A new home is under construction. Homes may only be owned by members. This means they can only be sold to other members, and so cannot be sold on the general real estate market. In the 11 years since Zephyr began, there have been 7 new members in 4 families. Three of these families built or are building their own homes and one bought a home from a departing member. Most new homes have been financed through private personal assets. Coop financing is not available, nor are conventional commercial mortgages possible because of the restrictions on selling. However, North Country Economic Development provides mortgages and is currently financing the purchase of one of our houses by a new member. There are no restrictions on the kinds of homes that can be built, though they must be in sites pre-approved by the Coop. See the Build Your Own Home at Zephyr section below for details. Up to one acre of yard space is allowed around each home, in which members are mostly free to do what they want subject to a few environmental & safety restrictions Running Zephyr We hold 2-hour, meetings, twice a month, open to all Members and to those in the membership process. Here we thresh out issues and work toward agreement through consensus. Decisions about the land and community are made here. All other decisions are individual and are made privately. The option exists to resolve conflicts by majority decision, but this has never been used. Consensus can be frustrating for people who feel they have a reasonable request, but find that this is not the way the community wants to go or that the community will not meet their time frame. However, when consensus is working at its best, the eventual decisions reached are better than any of the ideas that individuals have initially. Through the years, the community adopted a meeting process that has been successful in leading efficiently to consensus decisions. Our ByLaws are available on request. Things To Do Life at Zephyr revolves around our community center where we have meals once a week and on holidays, parties, and meetings. Also we have a spring fed swimming pond, another pond where we ice-skate, a soccer/baseball field, trails for walking and skiing, and barns for animals and storage. There are 176 acres of woodlands, 81 acres of goat prairies and ---- acres of restored wetlands, plus many acres of pastures, high grass meadows, ponds, creeks and a trout stream. A wild spaces policy governs the use of these areas. Zephyr is an active participant in various Federal & State conservation programs. Winona has a rich cultural life for such a small town, largely because of the presence of two universities: Winona State & St. Mary’s. Earning a Living You should have a clear idea of how to support yourself before moving here. Opportunities are much more limited than in a major metropolitan area.  Most of us earn our livings in nearby communities. Winona, MN (population 30,000) is 15 miles away, La Crosse, WI (pop. 75,900 ) 30 miles and Rochester, MN (pop. 93,300) 50 miles away.  Occupations of members include school administrator, information systems, community organizer, forester, gardener, bookkeeper, massage therapist, and artist. Visiting Zephyr Advance arrangements are required for visits. Most of us are occupied with our jobs and families, which limits time and energy for visitors. First send us a brief email describing who you are and your interest in a rural, consensus-based, community. That way we can connect you up with the right member to make arrangements for your visit.  To make arrangements, contact us at zephyrcoop@gmail.com.  Here is a Map to Zephyr Building Your Own Home at Zephyr We live in separate homes. We do not want urban densities, but we do cluster homes to promote social interaction to the extent the topography of the valley allows, avoiding the visual dominance of ridge-top dwellings and the isolation of secluded areas. Sites must be pre-approved by the Coop. Zephyr places no restrictions on the type or appearance of new homes, but we do limit the size in the initial phase of construction to 2,000 sq. ft. Extensions are possible, subject to County zoning restrictions, providing the first phase has been completed and is occupied. Also, the Coop limits the length of construction to three years, although permission may be granted for extensions. For more information, see the Coop’s Home Construction Policy. Construction of additional homes is subject to the Winona County Zoning Ordinance which places restrictions on where homes may be built based on the gradient of the land, use of tillable agricultural land and other factors. Winona County requires a permit for new home construction, including location and design of the septic system and requires an electrical inspection.
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Overview Housing Photos Amenities
Zephyr Valley Community Cooperative

Membership Information 

Membership Before joining Zephyr, you will need to work out your own answers to three questions: (1) Do you want to live in a community governed by consensus? (2) do you want to live in a rural area?  (3) Is Zephyr the right consensus-based rural community for you?  Zephyr’s route to membership is designed to give you the time you will need to answer these questions for yourself and to get the assistance you will need from Zephyr Members.  To help you to do this, you are invited to become a  Friend of Zephyr (FOZ) or a Prospective Member (PM).  FOZs are people who want to spend an indefinite amount of time just getting to know ZVCC and who don’t have an immediate time frame for joining.  PMs are people who are willing to put a good deal of time and energy over a period of at least 6 months exploring the possibility of joining Zephyr. Financial Requirements Members pay an initial fee of $10,000 per adult member. This was the amount each of the original members contributed toward the purchase of the farm.  This amount is refundable to departing members, but the Coop may limit repayments to no more than $100 a month plus interest on the unpaid balance.  Members make a monthly contribution to Zephyr’s expenses.  This is set annually during Coop budget discussions and is currently $50/month per member.  Other charges paid by those living at Zephyr include charges for trash/recycling averaging from $20 to $40/month per household depending on the number of adults & kids. Financial Health of Coop The Coop has no outstanding debt. Land and buildings are assessed at over $2 million.  Our operating budget for 2013 is $21,000. 31% of this comes from members and the rest from agricultural land and building rents, and from government programs. This additional income allows us to keep member contributions low. Home Ownership All land is owned by the Coop, including the foot print of buildings. There are six existing homes owned individually by members, which occasionally become available for resale to new members or rental to prospective members, plus more home sites. A new home is under construction. Homes may only be owned by members. This means they can only be sold to other members, and so cannot be sold on the general real estate market. In the 11 years since Zephyr began, there have been 7 new members in 4 families. Three of these families built or are building their own homes and one bought a home from a departing member. Most new homes have been financed through private personal assets. Coop financing is not available, nor are conventional commercial mortgages possible because of the restrictions on selling. However, North Country Economic Development provides mortgages and is currently financing the purchase of one of our houses by a new member. There are no restrictions on the kinds of homes that can be built, though they must be in sites pre- approved by the Coop. See the Build Your Own Home at Zephyr section below for details. Up to one acre of yard space is allowed around each home, in which members are mostly free to do what they want subject to a few environmental & safety restrictions Running Zephyr We hold 2-hour, meetings, twice a month, open to all Members and to those in the membership process. Here we thresh out issues and work toward agreement through consensus. Decisions about the land and community are made here. All other decisions are individual and are made privately. The option exists to resolve conflicts by majority decision, but this has never been used. Consensus can be frustrating for people who feel they have a reasonable request, but find that this is not the way the community wants to go or that the community will not meet their time frame. However, when consensus is working at its best, the eventual decisions reached are better than any of the ideas that individuals have initially. Through the years, the community adopted a meeting process that has been successful in leading efficiently to consensus decisions. Our ByLaws are available on request. Things To Do Life at Zephyr revolves around our community center where we have meals once a week and on holidays, parties, and meetings. Also we have a spring fed swimming pond, another pond where we ice-skate, a soccer/baseball field, trails for walking and skiing, and barns for animals and storage. There are 176 acres of woodlands, 81 acres of goat prairies and ---- acres of restored wetlands, plus many acres of pastures, high grass meadows, ponds, creeks and a trout stream. A wild spaces policy governs the use of these areas. Zephyr is an active participant in various Federal & State conservation programs. Winona has a rich cultural life for such a small town, largely because of the presence of two universities: Winona State & St. Mary’s. Earning a Living You should have a clear idea of how to support yourself before moving here. Opportunities are much more limited than in a major metropolitan area.  Most of us earn our livings in nearby communities. Winona, MN (population 30,000) is 15 miles away, La Crosse, WI (pop. 75,900 ) 30 miles and Rochester, MN (pop. 93,300) 50 miles away.  Occupations of members include school administrator, information systems, community organizer, forester, gardener, bookkeeper, massage therapist, and artist. Visiting Zephyr Advance arrangements are required for visits. Most of us are occupied with our jobs and families, which limits time and energy for visitors. First send us a brief email describing who you are and your interest in a rural, consensus-based, community. That way we can connect you up with the right member to make arrangements for your visit.  To make arrangements, contact us at zephyrcoop@gmail.com.  Here is a Map to Zephyr Building Your Own Home at Zephyr We live in separate homes. We do not want urban densities, but we do cluster homes to promote social interaction to the extent the topography of the valley allows, avoiding the visual dominance of ridge-top dwellings and the isolation of secluded areas. Sites must be pre-approved by the Coop. Zephyr places no restrictions on the type or appearance of new homes, but we do limit the size in the initial phase of construction to 2,000 sq. ft. Extensions are possible, subject to County zoning restrictions, providing the first phase has been completed and is occupied. Also, the Coop limits the length of construction to three years, although permission may be granted for extensions. For more information, see the Coop’s Home Construction Policy. Construction of additional homes is subject to the Winona County Zoning Ordinance which places restrictions on where homes may be built based on the gradient of the land, use of tillable agricultural land and other factors. Winona County requires a permit for new home construction, including location and design of the septic system and requires an electrical inspection.
© 2015  Zephyr Valley Community Cooperative