RE: Is the Common House a Public Building?
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 23:12:14 -0800 (PST)
I am surprised to hear that you had to consider your common house a public building. You aren't serving public meals there. You are serving meals to residents of your community on a part of the property that belongs to all of you, How is that any different from any one of your neighbors having a bunch of his/her neighbors in for dinner at his/her house? Or folks who live in a conventional condo having occasional--or even regular--potlucks in their community room. I'm also surprised to hear about the requirement for stall toilets. Did they require you to have separate men's and women's bathrooms too?

Joani Blank
Swan's Market Cohousing
Oakland, CA

Eileen McCourt wrote:

As far as I know, we were able to avoid the health dept. rules for a
"commercial" kitchen, but we do meet the standards for a "public" building -
one of the reasons we have the stall toilets that we do.  We were not
allowed to have regular residential bathrooms because of the use of the
building.  As far as the city is concerned, we are a public building, same
for the pool, etc.  We are following all of those requirements.


-----Original Message-----
From: normangauss [at] [mailto:normangauss [at]]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 11:22 PM
To: Developing cohousing - collaborative housing communities
Subject: [C-L]_ Is the Common House a Public Building?

Does anybody know whether California regulations for public buildings apply
to cohousing common houses?

We have a kitchen that serves public meals.  We have restrooms that serve
groups of visitors.  We have guestrooms in which visitors are lodged.  Are
these kinds of facilities considered "public" and therefore expected to be
held to standards set by the state government?

Norm Gauss
Oak Creek Commons Cohousing
Paso Robles, CA  93446

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