Pleasant Hill Cohousing
(Central Contra Costa County, California)

About Us


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. Read More...

Facts & Figures

Location: 2200 Lisa Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Contra Costa County, San Francisco Bay Area
Households: 32
Ownership: Condominiums. Managed by the residents.
Site: 2.2 acres
Community Members: 44 adults, 20 children
Age Range: 3 years to 80 years
Pets: 4 dogs, 11 cats, 2 parakeets Pet Policy (PDF file)
Common Areas: Dining room, sitting room, kids room, teen room, guest rooms, laundry room, crafts room, swimming pool, hot tub, organic garden, workshop, bike shed
Found Site: February 1999 ($1,050,000)
Began Construction: September 2000
Moved in: September - December 2001
Project Cost: $9,300,000
Development Team: 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.

The City of Pleasant Hill, population 33,831, 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. In 2000, Pleasant Hill 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.

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 Mt. Diablo State Park are located nearby providing numerous opportunities for hiking and recreation. There are several health clubs in Pleasant Hill including the YMCA.

Diablo Valley Community College and John F. Kennedy University are 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 the Century 16/Cinemark movie theater in downtown Pleasant Hill, the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek and the Concord Pavillion.

There are several farmers markets nearby: Pleasant Hill Farmers' Market (open May-November), Walnut Creek Farmers' Market (open year-round), and the 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 the late Ted Lynch back in 1993. The first "recruitment" meeting was held in June 1997. The project took a similar course as 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.

Financing - 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.

Household Composition System - We also created a "household composition" system to help us make sure we'd be an intergenerational community. The idea was to hold some slots (i.e., before the units were sold) for households with children. Read about it here: Household Composition System (PDF).

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June 1997 Group forms (under original name of Central Contra Costa EZ Cohousing)
May 1999 Sign contract on Lisa Lane site in Pleasant Hill
December 1999 Design submitted to City for planning approvals
September 2000 Begin construction
September 2001 First household moves in
December 2001 Final 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
  • 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



  • PBS News Hour - We were featured on an episode of "How We Live" with Ray Suarez on the PBS News Hour, December 23, 2002. View the 11-min video
  • 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 Village?, Environmental Building News, Vol. 11, No. 9, September 2002 (published by BuildingGreen, Inc.)
  • 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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