Truckee prepares for first cohousing development | SierraSun.com

Truckee prepares for first cohousing development

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Image courtesy of Rick MocklerThe Muir Commons cohousing community in Davis. Sunday's slideshow will focus on the Davis community, the oldest of its kind in the county.
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Planners and future residents of Truckee’s potential cohousing development are focusing on environmental sustainability and community.

The area’s first cohousing project planned for the Hilltop development in Truckee continues to move forward ” solidifying a core group of households, attracting new members, and refining the cooperatively-planned neighborhood’s design.

CoHousing Partners of Nevada City is working with a core group of about 10 households to meet those goals through a series of meetings and workshops, said Rick Mockler, vice president of CoHousing Partners.

“We will be checking in and getting the group organized,” Mockler said. “We will start talking about membership and thinking about a name for the project.”

One way both CoHousing Partners and prospective members are preparing to create the new community is by looking to other cohousing groups.

“California has 22 complete cohousing communities, mostly in Northern California between the Bay Area and Sacramento,” Mockler said. “I’ve been to most of them and there is a real diversity in architectural style, but the commonalties are greater than the differences.”

He said that most of the communities were similar in size, layout, and use of common facilities.

This will be the first cohousing project high-up in the Sierra Nevada, however, and will present some unique challenges, Mockler said.

“Obviously the buildings will have to be designed for snow load,” Mockler said. “But the most unique challenge in the Truckee area is it is the most vacation-driven town that we have done a project in, and cohousing is most successful with year-round residents.”

He said the type of people attracted to cohousing were similar in that they tend to be community-minded, “culturally creative,” interested in the environment and health, and are socially aware.

Cohousing also has environmental benefits, Mockler said.

“First-off, the design in the site plan and building are more green, using highly efficient insulation and low-toxic building materials,” Mockler said. “Second, the lifestyle of cohousing by its nature encourages sharing of resources ” every home doesn’t have its own snowblower or table saw because they have a common workshop.”

John Toth, a prospective community member and bio-energy-technology developer, said in a release that creating a green community rather than just a green building would better achieve “true sustainability.”

Final approval of the cohousing project hinges on approval of the Hilltop development, which is still going through drafts, said Jaime LaChance, assistant planner for the Town of Truckee.

“We are expecting a new draft of the plan soon ” it could be tomorrow, or it could be a month,” LaChance said.

If the project proposal gets on the fast track the Hilltop plan could go before the Truckee Planning Commission in February, and to town council in March for final approval, LaChance said.

Cohousing meeting on Sunday at the For Goodness Sake meeting room, 10157 Donner Pass Road, Truckee.

3:30 p.m. ” Orientation for interested households.

4:00 p.m. ” Core group business meeting.

6:00 p.m. ” Slideshow on cohousing community in Davis.

For more information, call CoHousing Partners at 487-1970, or on the Web at http://www.cohousingpartners.com

Number of units planned: 33

Cohousing site area: 2.75 acres

Price of home in community: $290,000 TO $600,000

Project completion: Early 2010