The first residents moved in to Pacifica in 2006, but the community's history stretches back to about 2001. At that time, architect Giles Blunden, who lives in one of Carrboro's other cohousing communities, Arcadia, and a group of interested people sought to create a cohousing community close to downtown Carrboro.
After many meetings and an expanding group of people interested in creating the community, construction began in 2005. The community celebrates its anniversary on May 1, 2006, when the first homeowner moved in.
Features include two rainwater cisterns (5k & 15k gallons), organic community gardens, passive solar design, and solar hot water and radiant floor heat in many of the units. All homes meet Advanced Energy Corp "System Vision" green building specifications. The Common House has the largest residential photovoltaic solar array in the triangle area.
WHO WE ARE
Pacifica Cohousing is a community of 46 homes working together to create living spaces that offer privacy and community along with the values of old-fashioned neighborhoods: independence, safety, mutual concern and responsibility. Situated on eight acres a mile from downtown Carrboro, N. C., the community is guided by four core principles: Community, Diversity, Sustainability, and Affordability.
Cohousing is a relatively new approach to creating neighborhoods that fosters connection and responsibility through design choices, shared resources, and participatory decision-making. Most cohousing communities employ a consensus based decision-making model that builds relationships and shares responsibility for the well-being of the overall community.
The Cohousing idea originated in Denmark and was promoted in the U.S. by architects Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett in the early 1980s. Worldwide, there are now hundreds of cohousing communities, and as of 2015 there are at least five in the Triangle area.
The Cohousing Association of the United States (www.cohousing.org) provides information and synergy for groups forming or living in cohousing and defines six main characteristics: participatory process, neighborhood design, private homes supplemented by common facilities, resident management after move-in, non-hierarchical structure and decision-making, and no shared community economy.
The mission of Pacifica is to foster an enhanced quality of life inspired by our core values:
- Site design includes bio-retention areas and a pond for storm water management to protect nearby Bolin Creek.
- Unpaved overflow parking and pervious pavers used for sidewalks.
- Passive solar design and highly energy-efficient design for all buildings.
- Minimum site lighting to reduce night sky radiation.
- Bicycle accommodations, including covered storage and repair areas.
- All parking is around the perimeter of the community to create a safer and quieter area where our children play and the adults gather for spontaneous socializing.
- The common house uses cistern water, solar hot water collectors and a photovoltaic system that sells power to the local utility.
- Planting of non-native invasives and use of pesticides/herbicides are not allowed.
- Our Common House consists of a main building and a guest house. The main building includes a kitchen, dining room, laundryfacilities, children's playroom and meeting areas.
- The guest house includes three bedrooms and two baths for community visitors, and an office for community business.
- There are two large community gardens and a large playing field.
- Residents organize regular community meals in the Common House.
- Our Homeowners Association is supported through monthly dues as well as community work.
- Our neighbors are welcome on our playing field and to access Bolin Creek through our pathways.
- Our homes consist of attached townhouses, stacked houses, and a few stand-alone houses.
- Residences range in size from 600 sq. ft. to 1460 sq. ft., accommodating a range of income levels and lifestyles.
- One custom unit was designed for accessibility.
- Seven units are sold and managed through the Community Land Trust.
- Community-owned resources allow residents to purchase smaller dwellings.
- Standard floor plans and limited custom features reduced design and building costs.
- Expensive tools and other equipment can be jointly owned or shared by neighbors.
Shared responsibility for the work of the community is an important part of Pacifica. Working together builds connections and fosters commitment to and responsibility for the well-being of the entire group. Each household contributes a minimum of four hours of community labor (CL) each month. We usually organize Community Work Days on the 2nd Saturday of each month. This is a time we can join forces to complete community projects such as landscaping, cleaning, and repairs.