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Cohousing project approved in MV

Original post made by Paul Berry on Sep 29, 2011

Three Palo Alto households (of whom my wife and I are one) were delighted Tuesday night when Mountain View City Council approved 7-0 our application to build a new cohousing project. We've planned it, designed it, and now we'll get to live in it! (It'll be in Mountain View, rather than in Palo Alto --- but that's where the opportunity was.)

This will be the first time that Silicon Valley has seen such a project built from the ground up. Council members were eloquent in their endorsements; they said they were impressed by the many favorable e-mails they'd received from MV residents. We also got an endorsement from the Greenbelt Alliance for our environmentally-sensitive planning.

We've found it very exciting --- and demanding --- to work with our architect in designing our own apartments, buildings and grounds. We've also been dismayed at just how long the whole process can take. A major detour was working out how to integrate a historic farmhouse (on the land since 1885) into the new environment. The picturesque old structure will be renovated so it can accommodate guests and local meetings. With a view to "aging in place," we hope eventually to use part of it as a suite for a resident caregiver.

Cohousing is like building a new "old-fashioned neighborhood." It combines the benefits and features of private homes --- these condos are quite spacious. At the same time it fosters social contact and community activities. Residents enjoy shared facilities such as open space, courtyards and gardens, as well as a large common house with spaces for entertainment, crafts, exercise, and frequent (but optional) shared meals. The location is midway between El Camino and Evelyn, within walking distance of downtown shops, light rail, CalTrain, buses, Castro Street's restaurants, Performing Arts, and the library.

Thirteen of the 19 homes are already spoken for, leaving six still available. Construction, starting with the project's underground garage, should begin after the winter rainy season. We hope to be living in our new homes there by the fall of 2013.

There's a whole lot more about the project on our website, Web Link.

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