Q: Where does the name Miller’s Corner come from?
Miller’s Corner is on a parcel of the land which was part of the home estate and owned by John Dunn who was one of the early settlers in Mount Barker. John Dunn was a miller who from 1844 began ‘grist’ milling for local farmers and after many successful years owned eleven mills within the district. The blocks at Miller’s Corner have been named after mills in England where John Dunn was born.
Q: What is a co-housing community?
An co-housing community is: a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. It is a community designed and planned around social ideals or collective values and interests, often involving shared resources and responsibilities.
Miller’s Corner is dedicated to building a small village community which is committed to being socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable and age-friendly.
Q: What makes Miller’s Corner unique?
Socially inclusive community focus
Shared community facilities – eg Forest House
Unique design which reflects community engagement and privacy
Its proximity to the hub of Mt Barker and public transport
Sustainable and cohesive design
Community library - potential to share any many items eg internet, washing machine, lawn mower, tools, cars, bicycles, trailer, camping equipment – in fact anything you can think of.
Q: What is the Forest House and how will it be used?
Forest House is the heart of our village, making it a place where residents can meet, interact, collaborate and celebrate. The Forest House is jointly owned by all residents and can be used as additional space to their own home. It provides a recreation hub for residents and a place where children can play. It has flexible and multi-functional interior and exterior spaces which can be used by various groups or individuals at once. Forest House has kitchen and dining facilities to be used for cooking and sharing meals or could be a place to conduct meetings, workshops or celebrate occasions. It will have some spaces for computer use and there will be a shared laundry. The outside courtyard will include a space for an undercover workbench and community tools storage area.
Forest House will provide a venue and space for idea sharing, educational sessions, creative projects, skills sharing, and community library (tools, books, toys etc.). Tours and awareness raising sessions could be run, highlighting the benefits of community living and strong social connectedness.
Q: Miller’s Corner is a tightly built village, what is the balance between community and private space?
The community has been laid out and houses designed to combine the best aspects of private space and community areas for interacting and connecting with others. We are striving to create a harmonious living environment, with community use of the common house for entertaining and meetings, shared laundry, common space and play areas helps to promote these ideals. We hope to balance these aspects while respecting individual needs for privacy and personal space.
Q: How do I buy a block of land?
As a community title, land will be sold with conditions regarding the development. These include acknowledgement of the Scheme Description (see below) which outlines where on the block a house can be built, the types of building materials to be used and agreement with the Community Bylaws (see below). Once an indication is given regarding the desire to purchase, a contract will be signed by both parties and a 10% deposit is required to be paid at that time. This deposit will be held in trust by the conveyancer until the subdivision is complete, at which time the balance of the payment will be required.
Q: How do the prices compare?
In coming to the selling price of the blocks, a real estate agent was engaged to research recent sales in the area. The most relevant sale was for a 300m2 block at Druids Ave which sold for $275,000 in 2016.
Q: I have bought my block of land, what do I do next?
The next steps are to consult with the architect (Lucy Crawford) as to how your needs can be met in the building design and construction. We have a number of requirements regarding placement on the block and each house has been designed with a community side and private side and each member has a choice in their level of engagement.
Q: Can I buy a house?
There are no homes already built as part of this community apart from the existing residence. Therefore a new community member will be required to build their own dwelling. That being said, we have committed to building dwellings Lots 6 & 12 to allow early building of duplexes which could not be otherwise built.
As part of the community design, we have engaged an architect to help us visualise how the community might look once completed. It was important for us that the character of the existing building was reflected in the new dwellings. To this end a plan and streetscape were drafted along with potential designs for several of the houses. The designs have delighted us meeting all of our needs for new buildings on the site.
Q: Do I need to use the same architect as everyone else?
We have worked closely with an architect (Lucy Crawford) to transform our vision into the practical. Lucy also has been charged with working with each new resident to ensure their needs are met while remaining true to our vision. She has prepared a statement for the development which can be found on our website.
Lucy has prepared draft plans for a duplex building as well as a free-standing dwelling. We are quite excited with her work and can already sense the how it will be once the buildings are constructed.
To this end we are encouraging new residents to utilise Lucy’s services. She has expressed her commitment to the project vision and will offer a very competitive rate for her services.
Q: Is there a design brief?
One of our main aims in the buildings is to minimise our carbon-footprint for the materials we use and how they are constructed. To this end a design brief is outlined within the scheme description and is indicative of our understandings on how to best meet our objectives.
Q: Which builder do I use?
While there is no designated builder for the property, it is envisaged that there would be significant savings if a single building group was used to construct the dwellings.
Q: Who will be my neighbours?
Members of the community are anticipated to be diverse and reflect society as a whole. Miller’s Corner will be built on ideals of community, sharing, ecology and sustainability, and as such it is expected that whoever is willing to share this vision will make the choice to live here. We have tried to share a vision of the type of community we would like to live in. We are welcoming to all people who want to share this vision and hope to have a diverse neighbourhood which reflects society as a whole.
Q: Can I rent a house?
It is possible for owners of the blocks to rent their house but at this stage it is envisaged that owner-occupiers will form the bulk of the residents.
Q: What is Community Title?
A community title is the division of land into at least two lots and an area of common property. Common property relates to those parts that do not form part of a lot and typically includes the service infrastructure and driveways that are shared. How the property is developed is governed by the Scheme Description and managed by the By-laws of the new Community Corporation.
Q What are the key points in the Scheme Description?
The Scheme Description relate to how the community is developed. It is expected that community members are very clear about these before making a decision to join the development. The Scheme Description places a number of requirements on the structures placement on the block, with each house being designed to combine both a community element and private space.
One of our main aims in the buildings is to minimise our carbon-footprint in the materials used and how they are constructed and operate. To this end a design brief is outlined within the scheme description and is indicative of our understandings on how to best meet these objectives.
The key points are:
· All parking is to be at the allocated parking spaces at the front of the community
· There will be a Aging in Place Facility in Lot 20
· There will be no fixed fencing at the front of the buildings
· At the rear of the buildings privacy screening are permitted with the exception of colourbond or similar fencing
· Dogs and cats are Ok but subject to certain conditions (see by-laws)
· Chooks are OK but not roosters
Q. What is the Community Corporation?
The Community Corporation comprises the registered owners of the lots in the Community Scheme and is formed at the time of deposit of the Community Plan with the Land Titles Office of South Australia. The Community Corporation’s role is to administer the by-laws and manage the common property and any fixtures erected on it.
Q. What are the By-Laws (Rules)?
The by-laws are a compulsory document for all schemes. By-laws set out the obligations of the corporation in administering the scheme and are the rules by which the scheme is to be run. A set of by-laws have been developed for Miller’s Corner. The original by-laws document is held at the Lands Titles Office and may be varied by a special resolution at a meeting of the Community Corporation.
Q: How does the Community make decisions?
As the development will be classed as a Community Title, we are required to have a Community Corporation which must have a presiding officer, treasurer and secretary and hold general meetings at least once in a calendar year. Ordinary, special and unanimous resolutions are required for different motions at meetings. The members of the Community Corporation are the owners of the community lots. Lot owners have one vote each. After all lots in Miller’s Corner have been sold, a revision of the by-laws will be undertaken. It is envisaged that we use a consensus model that seeks the consent of all participants in decisions.
Q: How do we govern ourselves?
We are looking to use a sociocracy model as a basis for governance within Miller's Corner.
"Sociocracy, also known as dynamic governace, is a system of governance which seeks to achieve solutions that create harmonious social environments as well as productive organizations and businesses. It is distinguished by the use of consent rather than majority voting in decision-making, and decision-making after discussion by people who know each other".
For specific areas it is likely that smaller groups are delegated the responsibility of decision making – eg Maintenance Committee would have a community-approved budget for which they were responsible.
Q: Ecological and sustainable. Talk more about what this means
To us ecological and sustainable means making a conscious choice to reduce the impact of our activities on the planet and to ensure that future generations will still be able to enjoy the amenity which we enjoy today. This means looking at the source and transport of materials used in the building – are these recyclable, do they have low-embodied energy used in their manufacture. Are they renewable? Did they travel great distances to get here? What can be bought locally? One concept that could be considered is the use of materials such as hempcrete. This material has great potential to meet many of the ecological and sustainable requirements.
In addition to the building materials, the operations of the buildings and the community will strive for low to zero impact. The design and orientation of buildings will be such as to minimise the need for heating or cooling (both significant energy consumers). The installation of energy and water efficient appliances and fixtures will be strongly encouraged to further reduce operational expenditure and environmental impact. The location of Miller’s Corner, with its proximity to public transport, shops, medical facilities, and recreational pursuits will facilitate a focus on walking, cycling or car sharing, as well as promote social and positive lifestyle activities.
Q: What do we do with waste management in all its forms
In our consumer society we all generate large volumes of waste through our purchases. It is our intention to manage our waste in a pro-active manner. Firstly, we look at minimising our purchasing in the first instance – Do we need it? Can we share it? Can we fix it? We would then look to recycle all organic materials into compost which would be used in the garden. Any other waste would be then suitably recycled/reused to minimise ground-fill waste.
We would look to adopt the “Rs” of waste management:
Rethink, reduce, repair, recycle and recover.
Q. How is water used on the site?
Each home will be required to have at a minimum a 5000lt rain water storage tank. Further water retention and uses could be considered.
Q. Do I have to participate in the community?
While we are welcoming a high level of participation in the community each member has a choice in their level of engagement.