Autumn Sun History

I purchased the first 4.5 ac property in 1969. It was part of a subdivision platted in 1966 when I-95 was completed north of Richmond, headed up the East Coast. Intended for a specific purpose — land on which to build a shop for friends racing sports cars. Serendipity has ruled since then. We found and purchased a former aircraft hangar, dismantled and stored it, purchased the land, cleared it, and re-constructed the building for our shop. This was all a cooperative effort which resulted in low rents for those using the shop. The Racer’s Shop did not survive past the 70’s but it has served my business, CommonWealth Solar, well through the years.

Due to a pending change in Hanover County zoning laws, I divided the land into 2 parcels, 1- 2 ac. and a remaining 2.5 ac. Now semi-retired I have been pursuing the ideal of Intentional Community for more than 5 years. Testing several ideas, studying other communities, and learning from experience.

We have gradually been making improvements, finding some new residents with some of the skills needed to continue progress, and getting a better understanding of how we can continue given the constraints of zoning, my personal energy level, limited community funds available for improvements, and determining legal structures for allowing member equity as improvements are completed. These may be improvements that accrue to the community land value OR they may be those meant for personal use and resulting equity. More about that in the Mission statement on the home page. 

As an owner/ builder from 1969 till the present, having completed the construction of the house for my family, [ and many other projects] I am committed to the self-help model. Here’s why—short version— 

Land cost was $800/ac–current land costs for comparable parcels and location, are typically around 35-40K/ ac. and increasing rapidly due to pressures such as climate change migrants and a booming local economy! 

With a recent BA in Psychology in 1970 I went to work as a Foster Care Caseworker at the Richmond Welfare Department, earning $7500/ yr. The current pay for a similar job is about $30k. 

So, land costs have risen at least 40 times and wages have risen about 4!