In and Around our Homes

In and Around our Homes

See also: About our Homes

Agreements & policies about things that happen inside and just outside our individual homes.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:18



  1. Any structural changes inside or outside need trustee approval, not to be withheld unreasonably.
    1. Documents needed to grant approval include, but may not be limited to, proof of liability insurance from the contractor hired to make the structural changes.
  2. Any non-structural change needing a permit needs trustee notification prior to work beginning. 
  3. Any exterior changes (painting, awnings, propane tanks, solar installations, and the like) need approval from the other owners in the same building, not to be withheld unreasonably (as in the Trust).
  4. Any non-structural interior changes need no approval.
  5. When an owner applies for a government permit for any kind of change, a copy of the application needs to be provided to the trustees right away. A revised floor plan is also required.
  6. Any owner who makes a change thereby assumes responsibility for any maintenance or repair caused directly or indirectly by the change.  
admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:20

Back yards

Back yards

Back Yard MapSemi-private backyard areas are defined for each unit (see map). These spaces are intended for primary use by the residents of the unit for such purposes as BBQing, gardening, relaxing, drying clothes, etc. They are not legally deeded as "exclusive use" areas.

Residents are asked to respect their neighbors in how they design, use, and keep up their yards. Trash and any items that pose a safety hazard are not allowed. If your landscaping makes it difficult to mow the lawn, you become responsible for mowing your own lawn.

Neighbors are asked to respect residents' requests for privacy when choosing whether to pass through backyards.

A minimum of 30 days notice to the community is required before installing any large structures or plantings (including decks, fences, and trees), to allow time for feedback from neighbors. Some items (such as additions and paved areas; see condo documents) require the approval of the entire HOA before installation. Any items which will affect the HOA's liability insurance rates (as determined by the current insurance carrier) also require group approval.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:26

Owner's Rental Policy

Owner's Rental Policy

When choosing a Renter, Mosaic Commons encourages the Owner to select an individual or family which has an interest in cohousing and living in community. Mosaic Commons then encourages the Renter/s to become Associate Members of the community.

Definition of terms:
Household member: Any family member, partner or rent paying individual who spends a considerable amount of time in the Owner’s house.
Renter: Either a single person who is a housemate of the Owner or a group of people who rent an entire unit from an absent Owner.

The following requirements apply to both whole house Renters (when the owner is absent) and housemates and household members of the Owner:

  1. Renters and household members must agree to abide by all rules set forth by the HOA and the co-housing association.
  2. Owners are responsible for condo and cohousing fees.
  3. Owners are responsible for any property damage to common areas and/or individual units incurred by Renters or household members.
  4. Owners will work with the integration team to find mentor for their Renters. The mentor shall introduce the Renters to other members of the community and be available to answer questions and explain rules and customs to the Renter.

The following requirements apply only when the Owner is absent from their unit. These requirements can be waived at any time by the HOA Trustees.

  1. Rent is negotiated between the Owner and the Renter and a written lease must be signed by both parties. A copy of the lease must be given to the HOA Trustees.
  2. Leases have a maximum term of one year.
  3. Leases are renewable subject to the approval of the HOA Trustees.

Please note that this applies only to our Market Rate units. Affordable units are required by the powers that be to be owner-occupied

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:19

Recycling and Trash

Recycling and Trash

If in doubt, look it up at

All single-stream recycling in Massachusetts goes to one of about six materials recycling facilities (MRFs) in the state, where it is processed, baled and sold. Contamination in our recycling bins results in rejection. Massachusetts now permits only 2-3% contamination because any more means it can't be sold to China, where most of our recycling goes for re-manufacture.

That means we have to be very careful about what we put into our Lawrence Waste dumpsters! 

The single worst thing to put in single-stream recycling dumpsters like ours is plastic bags! They tangle the machinery, resulting in work stoppage, and sometimes physical harm.

When thinking about whether something can be put in our recycling dumpsters, first consider whether it could hurt someone when being processed in fast-moving machinery. Long, sharp pieces of metal are not OK, whatever they are. Hoses and cords of any kind should not be put in the single-stream dumpsters because they can tangle the machinery.

Items with food waste or soil are not recyclable.  Rinse!

It ALL goes in together:

  • Newspapers, Magazines, Catalogs
  • Telephone/Soft Cover Books
  • Junk Mail/ Envelopes (All types)
  • Paper (all colors, staples/paper clips are okay)
  • Paperboard (cereal/shoe boxes)
  • Milk/Juice Cartons
  • Cardboard/Brown Paper Bags
  • Plastic food & beverage containers marked #1-7
  • Soda/Juice/Water bottles (glass or plastic)
  • Mile Jugs, Bleach/Detergent, Shampoo Bottles
  • Food containers (cottage cheese/margarine/yogurt)
  • Glass bottles/Jar (any color)
  • Aluminum (pie plates/trays/foil)
  • Metal Cans (tin/steel/aluminum)

What NOT to include:

  • No plastic bags (or recyclables in Plastic Bags)
  • No Unmarked plastics (laundry baskets, chairs, toys)
  • No windows/light bulbs
  • No dishes, no Pyrex, No ceramics
  • No foam packaging, no styrofoam
  • No aerosol cans (paint, hairstray, cleaners)
  • No recyclables containing food waste

Massachusetts Statewide Waste Banned Items:

  • Televisions & Computer monitors
  • Mattressses & Box Springs
  • White Goods (large appliances)
  • Anything containing freon (air conditions, refrigerators, water bottle coolers & Freezers)
  • Tires & Car Batteries
  • Motor Oil & Liquid Paints
  • Propane Tanks
  • Asbestos & Hazardous waste items
  • Construction and demolition debris
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:54

Septic System

Septic System

We are all very excited to be here and to have this beautiful land to enjoy.  As custodians of the land it falls to us to care for it as best we can.  Part of that care is being mindful of what goes into our land by way of our septic system.  Taking care of what goes down the drain will benefit us by reducing the expense of maintaining our system and by keeping the land healthy.  Our waste is managed by a septic system that feeds into a leach field at the northwest corner of our land bordering conservation area.  What goes in will come out in one form or another so as you can see it is important to follow the guidelines below as much as you can.

Sound operation practices include water conservation and keeping harmful substances out of the system. Good operation and maintenance practices start with everyone in your household knowing what damages the septic system.

Household Cleaners, Chemicals and Other Waste
A septic system is essentially a living organism that processes waste through bacterial action.  These bacteria break down the solids in waste allowing it to pass back into the ecosystem through the leach field.  These bacteria can be poisoned by non-environmentally friendly cleaners and household chemicals causing the system to require expensive maintenance and repair.

Never Dispose of Any of the following by pouring down the drain or flushing down the toilet:

Automotive Oil


Chemical Fertilizers

Coolants (anti-freeze)





Motor Fuels


Paint Thinners


Photographic Solutions



Water from Washing Paint
Brushes and Buckets

Avoid as much as possible:


Drain Cleaners

Powdered Detergents

Anti-Bacterial Soaps

Harsh Detergents and Soaps

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Disinfectant Cleaners

Suggested Alternatives: (Need to get comprehensive list of alternatives)

Simple Green

Using too much soap or detergent can cause problems with the septic system. It is difficult to estimate how dirty a load of laundry is, and most people use far more cleaning power than is needed. If there are lots of suds in your laundry tub when the washer discharges, cut back on the amount of detergent for the next similar load.  It’s better for the system, and conserves soap.

It's generally best not to use inexpensive detergents which may contain excessive amounts of filler or carrier.  Some of these fillers are montmorillonite clay, which is used to seal soils thereby reducing the effectiveness of the leech field.  The best solution may be to use a liquid laundry detergent, since they are less likely to have carriers or fillers that may harm the septic system.

Household Cooking Oils and Liquefied Meat Fats (such as bacon grease) may pass through the septic tank and as they cool, solidify and clog the leaching fields. ALWAYS Dispose of the fats and greases in a container in the house hold garbage.

Sink Installed Garbage Disposals are not permissible- Coarse organic matter such as vegetable trimmings and ground-up garbage and coffee grounds increases household waste by more than 40% and will over load the septic tank. 

“Step Away From the Toilet!”- Things to avoid flushing

Never flush the following items:

Paper Towels

Facial Tissues

Diaper Wipes

Disposable Diapers

Cat Litter

Coffee Grounds

Sanitary Napkins


Cigarette Butts


Fat or Grease


Dental Floss

Other Non-Decomposable Materials

It is recommended to use a good quality toilet tissue that breaks up easily when wet. One way to find one is to put a hand full of toilet tissue in a fruit jar half full of water. Shake the jar and if the tissue breaks up easily, the product is suitable for the septic tank.


Reducing Water Consumption
Tips to help reduce water consumption:

  • Check faucets and toilets for leaks; make repairs if necessary.  You can check your toilet for leaks once a year by putting a couple drops of food coloring into the tank, if the color seeps into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.
  • Use aerators on faucets and flow reducer nozzles on showers to help lower water consumption.
  • Reduce water levels for small loads of laundry, or better yet, only run full loads spread out over the week.
  • Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Keep a bottle of water in your refrigerator instead of running the water till it gets cold enough to drink.
  • Take shorter showers and reduce water levels for baths.
admin Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:55

Vehicles on the Pedestrian Way

Vehicles on the Pedestrian Way

Pedestrian Way MapWe intend to limit powered vehicle traffic on our pedestrian paths while making it possible to load and unload heavy objects as necessary, and allow residents and guests to be dropped off close to their units as needed. This policy does not apply to emergency vehicles.

Unpowered vehicles and those with electric motors of less than 5 hp (e.g. electric wheelchairs, mobility devices) may be ridden on all parts of the pedestrian way (Green and Blue and Red on the map)

In addition, a car or small truck may be driven on the parts of the pedestrian way closest to the parking lots (Blue on the map) if the vehicle fits and stays on the paved area and not on the geoweb* and:

  • You are using it to help you move many items in or out of your unit that would be difficult to move with hand carts, or
  • It is delivering large article/s such as appliances or furniture, or
  • You are using it to bring a guest or resident who can not otherwise easily get from the parking to the unit.

Furthermore, a car or small truck may be driven on the north triangle access stub (green on the map) for any of the above reasons, or for the following reasons:

  • You are using it to help you move many items in or out of your unit, including routine loading and unloading such as of groceries or musical equipment.
  • You are dropping off or picking up residents or guests to avoid a long walk through undesirable conditions, such as ice.

Cars and trucks on the pedestrian way must be driven slowly and carefully, not left to idle, left unattended only while loading or unloading, and removed as soon as possible. Members are responsible for the vehicles of their guests or people working on/in their homes.

Moving trucks: If a moving truck does not fit on the pavement in the Blue zones, members must notify the community and seek help finding ways to avoid driving on the geoweb*. However if a solution is not found, or the community determines the ground is solid, moving trucks are permitted on the geoweb.

* Geoweb was installed under the soil on the sides of the blue pathways (and the arms of the red northern triangle) in order to provide a stable surface for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

admin Thu, 03/01/2012 - 18:29