Berkeley Cohousing

Berkeley, California, United States

  • Last updated: January 10, 2019 (2 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: October 9, 2004

Mission Statement

Being good neighbors

Community Description

Berkeley Cohousing, on Sacramento Street in the West Berkeley neighborhood (zip code 94702) near Strawberry Creek, was a family farm dating back to near 1900, with a farmer’s daughter’s cottage added. When the Coop Supermarket (formerly Andronico’s) on University Avenue was built in the 1950s, several small houses were moved to the property, and rented out.

Berkeley Cohousing now consists of 15 units (14 plus one “associate member” household nextdoor) — mainly cottages and duplexes — scattered around a green, that also helps filter and buffer runoff from the parking lot on rooftops.

The group has a “limited equity” arrangement with the city that limits price appreciation to area median income growth plus capital improvements, for 30 years from each resale; buyers have to earn less than 120 or 150 percent of area median income. As a result, prices are now around 50 percent below market, and turnover is very low, running about 1 unit resold every 8-10 years; the seller can select the buyer, subject to the above restrictions.

Half the founders still live in the community, after 18 years.

We have a dozen children living in the community, with the largest cluster around 8-12 years old, and the youngest less than a year.

We have occasional work parties and building projects. We celebrate everyone’s birthdays together. The Common House is used for many events such as movie nights, Balkan folk music concerts, housecleaner training, family get-togethers, bookkeeper training meetings, to name a few.

Children are a big part of the community. Parents share childcare, carpools and parenting life. Older kids babysit, mow the lawn and wash cars.

Community members have supported each other through a long development process, and through births, marriages, graduations, great adventures, illnesses, and death.

We would love to have neighbors who are familiar with cohousing principles and are choosing this lifestyle, are financially independent with a stable income; who value our three community meals a week and are willing to participate in cooking and cleaning rotations; who are willing to participate in our monthly general meetings and work on a committee.

Berkeley Cohousing does not maintain a waiting list, but invites interested people to come on regularly scheduled tours.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1992
  • Start Living Together: 1994
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: No
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address: http://www.ebcoho.org/pages/Berkeley/
  • Contact Name: Berkeley Cohousing
  • Community Address:
    Sacramento Street
    Berkeley, California, 94702
    United States
  • Location

About

  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Location: Urban

Housing

  • Area: 0.8 acres
  • Current Number of Residences: 15
  • Land owned by: The Community
  • Additional Comments:

    condominium ownership structure; owners own units dfrom wallpaper in

    14 units in 9 buildings, plus nextdoor associate member house

    group lived onsite during construction

    14 (plus associate member nextdoor)

    converted 1900-ish farmhouse; units above & adjacent

    operated as a coop prior to condo conversion (1997)

Membership

  • Adult Members: 34
  • Child Members: 9
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 61-70%
  • Percent Men: 31-40%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Contact us well in advance to make arrangements; guestroom available only to people hosted by a member.

  • Membership Process:

    purchase/rental opportunities rare; low turnover

  • Open to new Members: No

Government

  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Agenda Committee = Meeting planners plus rotating facilitator

    backup voting available in bylaws but almost never necessary

Economics

  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    if you can afford a unit and get a mortgage and otherwise qualify

    Committee work, workdays, plus cooking/cleaning in meal rotation

    purchase of a unit or rental in community

    $300-400/mo. in HOA dues per unit

Sustainability Practices

  • Current food produced: Up to 25%

Lifestyle

  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    3x/week. We assume everybody’s coming to every common meal unless they sign out.

    community garden supplements common meals

    We try to honor needs of all in shopping/cooking

    some vegetarians

    some bring wine to meals

    no smoking in public areas on the property

  • Education Style(s): Private School off the property, Public Schooling

Additional Comments

feels spread-out and less urban than it is

Some were in groups even earlier

construction/condo conversion through 1997

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

Coho/US

Community Affiliations

East Bay Cohousing

Keywords

Affordable,Berkeley,Cohousing