What is Cohousing?
Cohousing is a form of collaborative housing that offers residents an old-fashioned
sense of neighborhood. In cohousing, residents know their neighbors very well and
there is a strong sense of community that is absent in contemporary cities and
suburbs. Cohousing communities consist of private, fully-equipped dwellings and extensive
common amenities including a common house and recreation areas. They are
designed and managed by the residents who have chosen to live in a close-knit
neighborhood that seeks a healthy blend of privacy and community.
Facts & Figures
||2200 Lisa Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Contra Costa County, San Francisco Bay Area
||Condominiums. Managed by the residents.
|| 48 adults, 21 children
||1 month to 75 years
||5 dogs, 12 cats, 1 hamster, 1 gecko, 1 parakeet
Pet Policy (PDF file)
||Dining room, sitting room, kids room, teen room, guest rooms,
laundry room, crafts room, swimming pool, hot tub, organic garden, workshop, bike shed
|| February 1999 ($1,050,000)
|| September - December 2001
||The Cohousing Company, Wonderland Hills Development, and the residents
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We're conveniently located near Highway 680 and
public transportation, with easy access to Walnut Creek, shopping, and recreation.
View maps of the area.
Pleasant Hill, population 32,000, is located 30
miles east of San Francisco, 4 miles
north of the I-680/Hwy 24 interchange. Mostly a residential community
with scattered retail/commercial areas, it is bounded by the cities
of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Concord, and Martinez. Pleasant Hill has recently (2000) redeveloped its downtown to
create a contemporary shopping district just blocks from the site.
In addition, an abundance of good restaurants and shops are within
easy driving distance.
The city has good recreation programs
for all ages and regional walking/biking trails traverse it.
View virtual tour of the city.
Iron Horse Trail
A walking and biking trail - the Iron
Horse Trail (so named because it's on the old Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way) - runs alongside
the site and connects to the Pleasant Hill BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)
station (~1 mile)
and downtown Walnut Creek (~4 miles). The 24-mile trail goes north-south from Concord to Dublin and
connects to several other trails that traverse the county making for great biking opportunities.
A neighborhood park is located just the other
side of Fair Oaks Elementary School
adjacent to the site. Briones Regional Park and
Diablo State Park are located nearby providing numerous opportunities
for hiking and recreation. There are several health clubs in Pleasant Hill including the
YMCA and Bally's (walking distance).
Diablo Valley Community College and
John F. Kennedy University
located in Pleasant Hill, and there are several city and county adult education programs in the area.
There are multiple venues nearby for movies, theater, music and other performing arts including a
CineArts movie theater (art and independent films), the
Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek,
the Willows Theater Company in Concord, and the
Sleep Train Pavillion in Concord.
There are several farmers markets nearby:
Pleasant Hill Farmers' Market (open May-November),
Walnut Creek Farmers' Market
(open year-round), and the newest one Diablo Valley
Farmers' Market in Walnut Creek (open year-round).
Several of our households participate in a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm,
Terra Firma Farms,
with a weekly delivery of locally grown organic fruits and vegies made even more convenient because we
are the drop site.
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The idea for this community originated with Barbara and Ted Lynch back in 1993. The
first "recruitment" meeting was held in June 1997. The project took a similar course to
other cohousing communities: the first task is to find a site, then attract enough
members with money to acquire the site, then begin the design and development process,
then construction, and finally move-in. See Milestones below.
Read the whole story about our beginnings,
by Barbara Lynch.
We came up with an innovative financing idea thanks to two members who
served as our Finance Committee, Mark Goehring and Ted Walker. Read a description
of the "Sweet Deal", by Mark Goehring.
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|| Group forms (under original
name of Central Contra Costa EZ Cohousing)
| May 1999
|| Sign contract on Lisa
Lane site in Pleasant Hill
|| Design submitted to City
for planning approvals
| September 2000
|| Begin construction
| September 2001
|| First household moves
| December 2001
|| Last household moves in
| January 2002
|| First common meal
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In the News
Here are some articles that feature our community (available online or in the library).
- Co-housing residents enjoy relying on their
neighbors, San Jose Mercury News, September 2, 2006,
reprinted in Top Realty News
- A village in the city -
The village is alive and well in Pleasant Hill. For nearly five years, members of the 32 households clustered at the end of Lisa Lane have come together to work out the kinks that come with sharing a common house for meals and guests, a community pool and outdoor amenities. Here, in Contra Costa's first experiment with cohousing, everyone really does know your name.
"When I think about living outside of (my community), I think of it as an outside..."
Contra Costa Times, The Record, July 20, 2006 - with a cool
- One Large Family - "For Julie Hunn, cohousing is an extended family throughout the year. A cohousing community is
made up of individual homes, each with their own living and dining areas, but also with common facilities, such as
children's areas, lounge, a large dining room and meeting room. Cohousing aims to create neighborhoods in which the residents
are committed to living as a community, to sharing ongoing connections with their neighbors, and to fulfilling agreed-upon..."
Contra Costa Times, The Record, December 11, 2002
- Cohousing: How Green Is My
Environmental Building News, Vol. 11, No. 9, September 2002 (published by
- Co-housing Takes a Village - "Pat McBroom is running late this
Tuesday evening. The community dinner with her neighbors started 15 minutes ago. She's not scheduled to cook tonight --
a task that requires making food for about 60 people -- so she finds a bottle of wine in the refrigerator and leaves her
one-bedroom house. ... (she) sidesteps little boys and
girls on the way to the dining hall of the Pleasant Hill..." Contra Costa Times, The Record, March 31, 2002
- No fences make good neighbors at co-housing complex,
Berkeley Daily Planet, March 11, 2002
- Cohousing Coming of Age -
'Intentional communities' one answer to an increasingly alienated society,
San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2002
- Building Begins on What 32 Households Will Call Home -
"More than 60 adults and children -- 32 intergenerational, multiethnic households in all -- broke ground Wednesday in Pleasant Hill
for what will be California's largest, and Contra Costa County's first, cohousing community. ''It's a kind of a human dream, in a
sense, to go back to the way humans lived hundreds of millions of years ago when we were hunters and gatherers,'' said Pat McBroom,
a future resident...",
San Jose Mercury News, September 22, 2000
- Cohousing a first for Contra Costa,
Contra Costa Times, September 21, 2000
- Council Approves Plan for Lisa Lane - "Construction of a unique housing community may soon be under way in Pleasant Hill,
now that it's garnered support from members of the city's staff, City Council and Planning Commission.
Pleasant Hill City Council helped pave the way for the project by voting unanimously at its June 5 meeting to amend a land
use section of the city's general plan. The approval converts 2.22 acres at 2200 Lisa Lane, now occupied by a single-family
residence and a vacant..." Contra Costa Times, The Record, June 15, 2000
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