Hilltop picked for potential cohousing project
The Hilltop development has been chosen as Truckee’s first possible foray into cohousing.
Cohousing, a group of individually owned homes and communal space and communal buildings, has been popularized in California by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett, who took the idea from Denmark in the late 1980s.
The idea with the clustered communities is to lower costs and replicate an old-fashioned neighborhood, said Rhonda Herrin, the project manager for CoHousing Partners, which is based in Nevada City.
“We partner with a group of people interested in living together in a community,” Herrin said.
A core group of interested households work together closely with the developers to shape their community and create key elements like a community house, which has a kitchen, dining hall, and guest rooms where the community can get together and share a meal, Herrin said.
The process takes about three years, and by the time everybody moves in everybody knows one-another, she said.
“It’s like moving into the dorms for the first time; everybody moving in at once and getting together,” Herrin said.
As of right now, CoHousing Partners has 15 interested households in the cohousing development in Truckee, but plan for approximately 33 units in a 2.75 acre area above the Old Cottonwood Restaurant, she said.
Units will range from two bedroom flats to three or four bedroom townhouses, and prices will run from around $290,000 to $600,000. Cohousing is often not deed restricted or specifically designated for middle- or low-income families. But the housing style cuts costs by developing apartment-style homes and sharing infrastructure such as water heaters and other utilities.
The Hilltop location, just above downtown Truckee, was picked for the cohousing project because it is being designed as a walk-able community.
“Hilltop is part and parcel for cohousing,” Herrin said. “It’s a great site.”
Plans for cohousing are part of the Hilltop Master Plan, and will be a part of the approval of that plan, she said.
While the town is very optimistic about cohousing, it is not a sure thing, said Jaime Lechance, assistant planner for the town of Truckee.
“Cohousing is just one of the permitted uses for that project site,” Lechance said, “but it’s looking like it’s heading in that direction.”
As far as future cohousing in Truckee goes, Lechance says it’s up to the property owners and developers.
Bill Fitch, chairman of the board for Fitch and Cook Communities and owner of the property for the proposed cohousing, said he had followed cohousing projects in Sacramento and Davis for years.
“Every three or four years I would go by and see how they were doing, and it’s just a bunch of happy people,” Fitch said.
Kathryn McCamant, president of CoHousing Partners, and Vice President Rick Mockler will be discussing cohousing in Truckee on Monday. They will talk about the concept in general and about the site at Hilltop, what is envisioned, what past projects look like, and answering questions from the public, Herrin said.
“They will be answering a lot of questions, setting up tours of other sites, recommending books to read and people to talk to about cohousing,” she said.
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