WHO WE ARE
Sustainable Community Partners (SCP) is a corporation formed specifically to develop a one of a kind sustainability-themed planned community in the downeast section of Maine. Many members of the leadership team, and all of the partners and backers of the corporation, will be members of the community.
THINGS WE LIKE
There are many books, movies, people and places that have contributed to our vision for Merriwood. Here are some of them. To those of you that join Merriwood, we look forward to learning about the things that inspire you as we shape the future of the community together.
The Biggest Little Farm. How can Merriwood’s farm thrive in balance with Nature? This film tells the story by chronicling the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream. By embracing the opportunity provided by nature's conflicts, the Chester’s unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma. “Eat (real) food, mostly plants, not too much”. While we don’t agree with every point, Michael Pollen’s book remains the seminal work on sustainable eating and is filled with critical insights.
Patagonia: From Merriwood founder Randy Solomon - I met Yvonne Chouinard while working for the Resource Renewal Institute in San Francisco where Yvonne was serving on the Board of Trustees. I found meaningful inspiration in Chounard’s advocacy for the environment, and in his book “Let My People Go Surfing”. I also highly recommend their gear.
The Resilient Farm and Homestead. Ben Falk is a visionary who is reinventing the practice of human settlement that combines living in balance with nature with human self sufficiency. His book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead, brings his perspectives together with his practical knowledge. Ben and his colleague Cornelius Murphy at Whole Systems Design are members of the Merriwood Design Team.
Blanche Garcia. Blanche inspires us with her sustainability vision, colorful personality, and refined design sensibility. That’s why we added her to Merriwood’s design team. You can see her work on shows on Travel Channel, HGTV and various other networks. You can also check out her website VLog and Instagram account for a cool design fix.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization. And he explores some of the hopeful seeds of change that could prevent it.
An Inconvenient Truth. The movie about Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about climate change has been credited with raising international public awareness of global warming and reenergizing the environmental movement. Merriwood will contribute to the effort to stem climate change, while simultaneously ensuring that we are prepared for it.
Dwell Magazine. The places we live should inspire us. Dwell is a magazine and online community of designers and design enthusiasts sharing their passion, vision, and their amazing works.
Star Trek. What’s not to like about campy-preachy sci-fi that shows us that human beings can live together with peace and justice? Just don’t forget the phasers and the occasional Romulan Ale.
A Soldier of the Great War. Sometimes you need a great novel to read while relaxing by the lake. This one will do.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is this a commune or or intentional community?
A: No. Most of the members of Merriwood will use their homes in the summer and for family gatherings around the holidays but will maintain the bulk of their social lives and livelihoods outside of the community. However, it is our intent that members of the community share a similar vision and set of values, and are committed to maintaining and growing the vibrancy and resiliency of the community.
Members can be as involved and engaged in the social life and governance of Merriwood as they want. Each family has a private home and lot. Privacy is guaranteed. Some will want to keep a low profile. Others will want to dig in and help plan the next farm expansion or community event.
Q: How much will I need to be involved in community governance and decisions?
A: Every household will be required to vote in annual elections for the Board of Trustees. Beyond that, involvement is as much or as little as you want. Once the development phase is complete, Merriwood will be governed by an elected Board of Trustees, and committees will be formed to oversee areas such as the agricultural operation, sustainability, and community activities and events.
Q: Why only 51 units on 1,000 acres?
A: Merriwood is not a traditional development. The 1,000-acre landscape provides resources that will add to the resiliency and enjoyment of the community. The built footprint of Merriwood will only encompass 15% of the entire site. The forests will be managed for wildlife and biodiversity and will provide a sustainable source of wood for fires and stoves, and for construction. The farm will provide sustenance, income, and a connection to the land. A network of trails will provide opportunities for hiking, camping, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and much more.
Q: Will I have to work on the farm?
A: No. The farm will be professionally managed and has everything it needs from the paid staff to thrive. All engagement with the farm is voluntary.
Q: Can I engage with the farm?
A: There are numerous opportunities to become engaged. Especially around spring planting and fall harvest, every helping hand is welcome. Members of the community collectively own the farm, and we encourage people to engage with it to become better managers and stewards. The farm will work to improve and expand every year. What would you like to see in the future? Honey, semi-wild mushrooms, cheese, wool...it is all possible. The involvement of community members is welcome in the planning and execution of the farm’s future.
Q: How will farm produce be shared?
A: Every household will receive weekly credits that they can use at the farm store to select whatever they like that is in season.
Q: Can I rent my home?
A: No. Merriwood will be a tight-knit community, and a constant stream of renters is not compatible with our vision. However, you are welcome to share or lend your home to family and friends as often as you like, as long as there is no monetary transaction. Listing homes on websites or platforms for public rental is strictly prohibited.
Q: Are firearms allowed?
A: Yes. No firearms will be allowed in common areas (the lodge, wellness center, or other places people hang out) except for the dedicated shooting/archery range. Hunting will be allowed on dedicated parts of the forested areas.
Q: Is the lake powerboat friendly?
A: By state law, yes. But to maintain our tranquil natural environment, Merriwood will be exclusively providing non-motorized watercrafts to the community.
Q: Can I add on to my home or add an accessory dwelling unit?
A: Yes. But expansions to your home within the first 5 years of the purchase must go through Merriwood and it’s dedicated builder.
Q: Will I have to go out and chop or buy my own wood for heating/fireplaces/woodstoves?
A: No. Cords of wood (harvested from our own sustainably managed forest) will be provided to each homeowner by the association team.
Q: Can I buy my lot and have my own builder?
A: Generally not, but exceptions can be made for exceptional circumstances.
Q: Can I park an RV on my property?
A: Yes, with some reasonable restrictions.
Q: When will Merriwood be completed?
A: Construction of our first residences will begin in 2021 with an expectation to have all homes and community amenities completed by 2024.
Q: How much input can I have in the design of my home?
A: Materials, finishes, appliances, furniture, can all be individualized with professional design support (or you can just leave it to us). Individual accommodations beyond this will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What is internet access going to be like?
A: Merriwood will have robust broadband access.
Q: Will there be backup generators for the community?
A: Each home will have a rooftop solar system that can power the home with battery backup storage. Each home will also be integrated with the Merriwood Micro-Grid that can provide emergency power beyond what can be provided with rooftop solar systems. A long-term power plan will develop local sustainable fuel and energy sources that can meet all of our power needs.
Q: What security will be provided?
A: Homes will have security systems installed and Merriwood staff will provide monitoring and basic security during times of normal operation. Provisions will have been made for enhanced security if the community needs to enter into “Offline Operations” mode (Defined as Merriwood moving into a mode of 100% self-reliance - power generation, sustenance, etc.)
Q: What restrictions will there be from the HOA on the use of my property?
A: The philosophy of the HOA is to allow people to do what they want on their property. Most homes will not be visible from the road or from another home. Merriwood has no interest in the color of your house, or whether or not you mow your lawn, or even have a lawn. There will be restrictions on the use of non-native invasive plants for landscaping, limits (but not a prohibition) on livestock, and some other basic rules to protect the water supply (no chemical lawn treatments).
Q: Are pets allowed?
A: We love animals and most pets are welcome. Dogs must be kept on a leash while in common areas and other common-sense restrictions will be in place.
Q: Why are there no houses directly on the water?
A: Merriwood owns 1.5 miles of pristine lakefront. With the exception of Sundragon Lodge, the developed footprint of Merriwood is pulled away from the shoreline to preserve the natural aesthetic, and keep the lake pristine.