In March of 2016 while visiting family in Sebastopol California I dropped by Petaluma Avenue Homes, a Cohousing project featured in a book by Katheryn McCamant and Charles Durrett called
Creating Cohousing : Building Sustainable Communities
Petaluma Avenue Homes was completed in 2010 and had been up and running for 6 years when I dropped by.
It was a rainy dreary day but still I was able to speak with three different tenants. One was a single mom living in a three-bedroom townhouse The other two a handicapped young man and his neighbor an older single woman were both in one-bedroom apartments. All were happy with the surroundings and management. All three had front porches large enough to sit on facing the gardens and common areas.
Petaluma Avenue Homes is a low-income rental community that had been designed and built with basic cohousing structural designs but without the usual planning and financing from the occupants.
Here is an excerpt from an article published the first year Petaluma Avenue Homes was completed. Follow the link below below for the entire article.
“Sebastopol’s Petaluma Avenue Homes is truly a special project because it brings the concept of community that is unique to a co-housing project to low income renters, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to live in a co-housing model,” says Christine Carr, manager of community development finance at Silicon Valley Bank.
Located in Sebastopol in Sonoma County, the $16.5 million development is similar to other low-income housing tax credit projects in its financing package and compliance requirements.
However, its design and attitude are different. For example, all the parking is pulled out to the perimeter, leaving the interior of the property car-free and available for children to play and residents to garden. It also means people have to walk through the complex to get to and from their cars, a move aimed at promoting interaction. The development also features large porches, another design feature that encourages socializing.
Clustered in six residential buildings, the apartments are located around the community space. A large community house is available for group meals and other activities.