Re: affordable, rental cohousing! (No. Calif.)
From: Marganne Meyer (
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 11:30:53 -0700 (PDT)
At 1:03 PM -0700 7/28/08, Eris Weaver wrote:
The application period for units in Petaluma Avenue Homes has been extended
to August 30. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who may be
interested in an affordable, all-rental cohousing community!

The 45-unit project was designed by McCamant & Durrett and is in Sebastopol,
California, a pleasant and progressive community in Sonoma County. It is

Sorry I've been late to hear about this effort to create low cost community housing with a rental model. I checked out the above project website plus associated information presented in the second part of the three-part article published last year in the cohousing magazine.

Many of the difficulties of creating low cost cohousing have been discussed both here and on the Low Cost Community Housing (LCCH) mailing list. Finding developers for low cost projects was identified as a potential problem. The article author suggests most experienced cohousing developers already participate in creating low cost cohousing. This is a little confusing to me.

The Petaluma/Sepastapol project was created in connection with a company called Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) and is a government-subsidized project. The article author said the challenge is in finding and qualifying people for residency.

Does more than this one rental-based, low income project exist? If so, could someone please let me know where I can find information about these projects? I'd like to find out how those communities have worked out similar problems.

In prior discussions, it was suggested that combining larger and smaller units in one project would have a negative effect on the value of the larger homes. Have projects already been built that successfully combine large and small units?

In projects where a portion of the units are designated as 'low income' and qualify for government subsidy, how has integration of the occupants into the overall community worked out? Are the units in these communities the same size as all the other units, or were they purposely built smaller for economic reasons?

Another problem identified in the affordable cohousing article (and one we have discussed) is hoping to attract renters who will embrace the 'intrinsic benefits of cohousing'. A common belief is that lower-cost or smaller units, especially rentals, might not be maintained at the same level as larger, owner/resident units. The Sebastapol project specifically talks about how it will try to deal with creating community among residents who aren't familiar with the cohousing model.

Have other projects that include subsidized units found it difficult to find qualifying members? If the units are occupied, has there been any problems with encouraging those residents to join in community activities and maintain the residence?

Are there any projects already existing and occupied based on this all-rental concept? I'd like to check them out.

I guess I'm questioning the conclusions drawn about low cost cohousing after lengthy discussions on this list and on the LCCH list.

The cohousing, small house movement

Low Cost Community Housing

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