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Barry Pharis, consultant for developer Millrace Neighborhood LLC, explains the details of a new co-housing community proposed near the Millrace Canal in Goshen. He met Tuesday, June 17, 2014, with the Goshen Plan Commission. (Angelle Barbazon/The Elkhart Truth)
Goshen Plan Commission hears from developer about proposed co-housing neighborhood

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 8:20 p.m.

GOSHEN — A proposed co-housing community where neighbors cook meals together and share responsibilities like lawn mowing and snowblowing is a step closer to becoming a reality along the Millrace Canal.

A developer laid out plans Tuesday evening, June 17, to build an innovative new community in Goshen, successfully gaining a positive recommendation from the city’s plan commission to rezone a property near the canal from industrial to residential. The plan commission also recommended approval of the project’s preliminary site plan that features 16 units, including new homes and a common house that would be shared by the neighbors.

Barry Pharis, a consultant to developer Millrace Neighborhood LLC, explained that “like-minded” members living in the community, similar to shareholders in a business, would work closely together and own parts of the neighborhood. He noted that four people have already expressed serious interest in buying property in the neighborhood.

Laura Coyne, who serves on the city’s redevelopment commission, spoke in favor of the project, citing the creation of a new type of housing that is not offered anywhere else in Goshen.

Goshen resident Gina Leichty spoke at the public hearing with mixed feelings. While she supports the development and the concept of co-housing, she is concerned about limited public access along the Millrace Canal, which she described as “one of the most valuable, beautiful pieces of property in the city.”

Plan commission members questioned developer Richard Miller about long-term plans for the community and cooperation among the homeowners to keep a harmonious atmosphere.

“What we’ve found and what we’ve read, this has been going on 30 years in different places across the world, and there are lines of people waiting to get in,” he said. “It’s a different kind of housing than what we’ve seen here, but we’re willing to be on the frontier and to provide that type of housing, and we’ve found that there is a real interest.”

The city council is expected to review the project in July.


  • The Goshen Plan Commission recommended approval of a change to the development plan for the former Hawks building to allow developer Hawks 1886 LLC to add a new hotel and brewpub and designate 30,000 square feet for commercial use on the north side of the building. LaCasa Inc. owns the building and is converting the south part of the building into loft apartments for artists and entrepreneurs.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.