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Cohousing group frustrated in search 

The Flower City Cohousing Community is having a tough time finding the right site to build its planned multigenerational development.

The group has been looking for three or four years, says coordinator Jane Ellen Bleeg.

"This is dragging on a little longer than we had really hoped it would, but you have to have the right site," she says.

Flower City Cohousing wants to build a 20-unit development with apartments, condos, and a common house in one building, and another building that would possibly have townhouses. Most of the units would be owner-occupied, with maybe a few rent-to-own units. Four of the 20 are planned as affordable units, Bleeg says.

Cohousing is essentially a planned community where residents have their own homes or apartments, but there are shared spaces, too, including a common house for residents to eat together or to hold gatherings.

Flower City is currently eyeing a site downtown for the development. But Bleeg says the property has challenges, including environmental issues, a common problem with building in the city. She wouldn't identify the site.

"We have to figure out whether it's going to work for us or not," Bleeg says.

If it does, Flower City may announce the site next month, she says. If it doesn't, the group has another downtown site in mind, as well as a property in the city near the Irondequoit border, she says. If it can't find a suitable site in the city, the group may reluctantly consider an inner-ring suburb, Bleeg says.

Another problem is finding a site that's big enough. The group wants two acres, ideally, but it's finding that not many lots that size are available in the city. As a result, it has downsized its plan, eliminating standalone houses from the development.

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