We think co-housing is pretty great, but it’s not for everyone. To help you figure out if Pacifica may be a good fit, we offer a few cautionary notes, and some suggested ways you can get to know us, and co-housing more generally.
Things to Know about Cohousing in General, and Pacifica in Particular
Although each household has its own private space, cohousing communities are designed to be centered in shared spaces. Although everyone finds their own balance between privacy and community, the design of cohousing means you’ll interact with neighbors when you pick up your mail, walk to your car, or work in your garden. Cohousing neighbors collaboratively manage shared space. As with most homeowners associations, owners’ ability to change their outside physical space is somewhat limited.
Decisions affecting the community, from the small to the large, are made by the community. Our process is based in consensus and guided by our core values of community, affordability, sustainability and diversity. Decisions are led by what works best for the entire community. It requires patience and the ability to balance the best interests of the community with one’s personal needs. The process may not be quick, and may lead to a decision other than what you might prefer.
Living in an intentional community requires using interpersonal skills, more so than may be needed to get along in other neighborhoods. Conflict is sometimes part of living in community, and learning to work creatively with conflict is essential to individuals and the community.
Pacifica is a relatively large as cohousing communities go, with 46 households and around 100 residents. Advantages of our size include a terrific diversity of interests, talents, backgrounds and people who can lend a hand at odd moments. However, our social fabric may be less intense than in a smaller community. Although most cohousing communities are committed to one or more shared meals per week, this has not worked consistently here so far. However, this could certainly change. We currently have two regularly scheduled community meals each month, and many more ad hoc gatherings. Recent events include late-day drinks and snacks on the patio, a monthly documentary film nights with a themed dinners, snow day brunches, outdoor movies, and much more. .
It takes time to keep the community running. Although no set level of participation is mandatory, we encourage all to attend a monthly meetings and join at least one committee. Each household contributes four hours of community labor a month, either during our monthly workdays or at another time. Community labor opportunities include landscaping, caring for the common house, preparing community meals, participating in committees, running the business side of the HOA, and many more options.
We try very hard to mindfully manage our finances in a way that maintains our beautiful shared property. Households that do not do community labor are assessed a fee in addition to HOA dues. We contribute to a cash reserve fund monthly, and consider increased contributions as needed.
Want to learn more about Pacifica?
Contact the Pacifica Cohousing Outreach Committee to learn about:
Attending an HOA meeting.
Joining us for a community meal.
Participating in a work day.
Want to learn more about co-housing??
The National Cohousing Association has a wealth of great information. Not all of it applies to Pacifica in particular, but it’s well worth a look.
Substantially adapted from Cascadia Coho’s “No Surprises Checklist.”