Frequently Asked Questions
How did EcoVillage get started?
A group of friends sharing a vision of a positive alternative for residential development pooled their resources to create a limited liability corporation to finance the development of EcoVillage. They began with an exhaustive search for a suitable piece of land on which to build, and a number of investors toured similarly chartered communities here in the US and in Europe in order to assess best practices in design and governance. Once the 180 acre, original site was identified and feasibility studies concluded, the LLC constellated a blue ribbon panel of experts in sustainable architecture and site planning to create the master site plan and multiple house designs that reflected the commitment to environmentally sensitive building. Nothing was left to chance. A group of investors and future residents, working with professionals, developed the community's declaration, covenants, and bylaws, as well as architectural and environmental guidelines. These governing documents ensure that people buying into EcoVillage are assured of the ongoing commitment to preserving the charter of the community and the integrity of the land - an essential element to protecting the investment of every EcoVillage homeowner.
Ninety of the original 180 acres were subdivided into 28 lots – 25 smaller hamlet lots and three, 10 acre lots - with shared common area and over 85% of the 90 acres placed into “permanent open space conservation easement. Home construction began in 2001. A similar development plan was originally envisioned for the second 90 acre section and subdivision approvals from the County were pursued for an additional 25 hamlet lots and 3 conservancy lots with shared common area. To speed up the development and construction of homes, the LLC decided not to be the developer of this section of the property, and with the consent of the EcoVillage Community Association, sought a builder to purchase the 90 acre area, bond for and install the infrastructure (roads, wells, septic and utilities) and build homes on a “spec” basis. The infrastructure installation and the house plans and construction would all still be subject to meeting the Architectural and Environmental Guidelines. Although several proposals from builders were made, the builders were not prepared to construct to the rigor of the Architectural and Environmental Guidelines. Then it was suggested by several members of the EcoVillage Community Association’s Board that the LLC investigate ways to place a conservation easement over the property that would preserve the land and restrict its development in perpetuity. A conservation easement was placed over the 90 acre property in 2006 and donated to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.
How much does it cost to live in EcoVillage?
Lot prices average $140,000, which includes your lot, enjoyment of the shared acreage, and use of the Common House, EcoVillage's own community center. The construction cost of one's house depends on the size, amenities, and finishes that are selected. However, home prices [including the lot] are averaging in the $500,000s. Residential property taxes in Loudoun County, VA, are approximately one percent of assessed value. This rate is only applied to the private lots. The remaining shared acreage is not taxed.
Do I have to be an environmentalist to live in EcoVillage?
Joining EcoVillage is like contributing to the creation and maintenance of a land preserve. EcoVillage was founded on a dual commitment to live responsibly with regard to the natural environment and with respect to one's neighbors. By moving to EcoVillage, you are agreeing to contribute to the preservation and conservation of our shared land, which is protected by clear declarations, covenants, easements, restrictions and bylaws to which all residents must adhere. So, while not all EcoVillage residents self-identify as environmentalists per se, by building our homes here, we are explicitly agreeing to uphold the spirit and letter of those protections.
How do I get involved in community life?
Join a committee - or several! EcoVillage has a range of committees that do important work to support the ongoing needs of the residents and the land.
• Land Stewardship Committee
• Social Committee
• Covenant Compliance Committee
• Common House Committee
• Architectural & Environmental Design Review Committee
• Facilities Maintenance Committee
• Finance Committee
• Economic Development Committee
What are the community service requirements?
In order to encourage participation in the life of the community, a community service hour system was developed by the EcoVillage Community Association. Activities sanctioned by the Committees qualify as community service hours. Adult residents are asked to provide 5.5 community service hours each month and young adults, 10 to 17, are asked to provide 2 hours each month. Examples are: hosting a potluck, planning community social events, helping with community finances, tree planting, invasive removal, maintaining the trash and recycling area, monitoring contracts for community association work (putting a new roof on a barn, maintaining the road, etc.), pond cleanup, work related to the common house, reviewing landscape and construction plans of new homes, finding homes for feral animals, and more, Residents can select, “buffet style,” the activities they wish to perform in support of a given Committee(s) – and yes, Committee meeting time counts if you are a member of the Committee!
What if I can't or don't want to do community service?
Most EcoVillage residents value community service as a way to socialize and connect with their neighbors. Adult residents are asked to provide 5.5 community service hours each month and young adults, 10 to 17, are asked to provide 2 hours each month. However, if time constraints or other issues preclude all or part of your community service, you may find someone to contribute those hours on your behalf or pay a stipend of $12.50 per hour not worked in a given month. . In the event of a permanent disability, a system is in place to release individuals from this commitment.
How many houses will be built in EcoVillage?
Upon completion, EcoVillage will consist of an estimated 26 homes in the northern section of the community, governed by the EcoVillage Community Association. The 100 acre area to the south, is not governed by the EcoVillage Community Association; it has extensive environmental restrictions and is governed by a conservation easement that is held by the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust. Under the terms of the easement, at maximum and subject to Loudoun County approvals, 5 lots can be created or an environmental/health facility can be built with one caretaker residence. All structures on the 100 acre property must be Certified as LEED® - Gold or better (see www.usgbc.org).
What is cohousing?
Cohousing is a form of residential development that is said to have originated in Denmark in the 1970s. It sprang from the Danes' need to make the most of their limited land resources. The clustered and/or attached houses reduced land use while providing ample outdoor recreation area. The Common House - or community center - provided additional space for shared activities like community meals or overflow space for storage or guests. Best of all, the proximity and self-management of the community contributed to a greater sense of connectedness and familiarity among neighbors. Cohousing remains a popular form of residential development throughout Denmark and has been gaining broader popularity in countries struggling to find alternatives to suburban sprawl and among individuals pursuing a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity.
What makes EcoVillage a cohousing community?
While it's true that the majority of cohousing communities in the US and abroad provide multi-family or attached housing, a growing number, like EcoVillage, offer single-family homes on privately owned lots. In EcoVillage, this reality was driven by Loudoun County's zoning requirements more than anything else. However, single-family homes are also more desirable in most American real estate markets, and EcoVillage's clustering provides for both privacy and connectedness - the best of both worlds.
Furthermore, EcoVillage residents will have the cohousing benefit of a Common House, which can be used for community meals, fitness activities, home schooling, meetings, out-of-town guests, and a myriad of varied functions. And, like other cohousing communities, EcoVillage is managed by the residents through their participation in the EcoVillage Community Association.
What makes EcoVillage an ECO-village?
In addition to creating a healthy social environment, EcoVillage contributes to the preservation of a healthy natural environment. The original 180 acres are organically managed and the entire site is sheltered by strict covenants, declarations, and bylaws or a conservation easement that serves to protect the natural beauty of the ecosystem – as well as enjoyment by residents! Shared pedestrian paths wind throughout the 180 acre area. Furthermore, all EcoVillage homes must meet rigorous energy performance standards that help reduce consumption and lower energy bills. The combination of careful development practices, land stewardship and reforestation, heightened energy performance, and reduced energy consumption makes EcoVillage a model for residential communities of the future.
How do I learn more about EcoVillage?
Join us for a tour! You will meet current residents, explore the natural beauty of the land, and tour one or more homes of the families already living here. The other parts of our website are also chock full of information about the land, the residents, and what is involved in building a home here. If you still have questions, contact us at the office.
Why wouldn't I just buy a house in a regular residential subdivision?
Everyone who decides to build in EcoVillage does so for very individual reasons. Some families want a safe, clean, wholesome environment in which to raise their children among neighbors they know and like. Others are empty-nesters looking for a beautiful environment in which to retire or downsize. Some folks have deep personal commitments to the environment and wish to live more lightly on the land among likeminded neighbors. Some have had it with sprawling subdivisions where people drive into their garages at night, close the door, and never know the guy next door. A regular residential subdivision may be the best choice for you. Only you can decide. But, if you've tried that and feel like you want something more, something different, something warmer and more like home, check us out.