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Shepherd Village finishes construction, welcomes residents

By Staff | Jun 19, 2019

Shepherd Village's homes have been completed, and residents are now moving into Shepherdstown's first cohousing community. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — A couple weeks ago, the last of Shepherd Village’s new residents received the keys to their completed homes and began moving in.

As the first cohousing community in West Virginia, Shepherd Village will soon be home to 30 family units at its 19-acre location off of East German Street and behind Sage Place Commons.

“All of them are finished, but not everyone is moved in yet. I was one of the first ones to move in,” said David Rampy, a retired opera singer who moved into his new home with his wife in August.

While Rampy and a few other residents moved in almost a year ago, construction on the homes and Common House has only just finished. Construction crews are currently completing the last few details of the community, including building a greenhouse shed for the community garden and garages for some of the residents’ cars.

According to Rampy, plans for building Shepherd Village started a few years ago, when a group of like-minded individuals decided to buy land on the outskirts of Shepherdstown.

Shepherd Village residents David Rampy, right, and Ellen Smith lounge on the front porch of Rampy's new house. Tabitha Johnston

“We’ve been meeting as a group and getting to know each other over three or four years, so we know each other fairly well,” Rampy said. “We’ve been meeting each month, working on teams to make sure each thing is done.”

For fellow resident Ellen Smith, navigating the steps of making the community’s dream a reality helped her and her future neighbors become closer and learn each other’s strengths.

“It makes for good community — working through these problems ourselves. When we look at this now, we say, ‘That’s so neat!’ because we did all of this,” Smith said, mentioning the community has people with a wide variety of skills, including an architect who took on the task of creating blueprints for all of the homes to ensure that they were environmentally friendly.

While the community is diverse in background and experience, composed of retired and employed individuals, single adults and families, as a cohousing community it is expected that all major decisions be unanimous. So when developing the location, the future residents had to compromise on a number of decisions — some as seemingly small as what lightbulbs to use on their front porches as they sought to be night-sky friendly.

“There was always a balance of sustainability, affordability and environmental concern,” Rampy said. “We didn’t want to be a a gated community — we wanted to be part of Shepherdstown, and not just an enclave.”

The Common House is Shepherd Village's hub for social connections, voluntary shared meals and community gatherings. Residents have the option of taking bi-weekly yoga classes in the building's meditation room, joining in potlucks in the building's kitchen and hanging out for movie nights in the building's media room. Tabitha Johnston

A few of the details in Shepherd Village’s blueprints were made with the goal of connecting Shepherd Village with downtown Shepherdstown, including building walking paths from the community into town and setting up an area in the Common House where art shows by Shepherd Village residents may include guest from the town.

Now that they have moved into their new homes, Smith and Rampy said they will look forward to aging in place, surrounded by their friends.

“It’s so different from your ordinary Homeowners Association community,” Rampy said. “We understand the idea of intentional community and being available for our neighbors. We’ve lost that in many parts of America.”

While Shepherd Village’s homes are all sold, their neighbor development, Sage Place Commons, still has a few remaining buildable lots available for purchase. Sage Place Commons is being developed by the developers of Shepherd Village, to offset the cost of the construction. To learn more, email shepherdstowndev@yahoo.com or call Jackie Lewis at 304-876-3737.

The kitchen in David Rampy's new home in Shepherd Village. Tabitha Johnston

The dining area and living room in David Rampy's new home in Shepherd Village. Tabitha Johnston