Berkeley Cohousing, on Sacramento Street in the West Berkeley neighborhood (zip code 94702) near Strawberry Creek, was a family farm dating back to near 1900, with a farmer’s daughter’s cottage added. When the Coop Supermarket (formerly Andronico’s) on University Avenue was built in the 1950s, several small houses were moved to the property, and rented out.
Berkeley Cohousing now consists of 15 units (14 plus one “associate member” household nextdoor) — mainly cottages and duplexes — scattered around a green, that also helps filter and buffer runoff from the parking lot on rooftops.
The group has a “limited equity” arrangement with the city that limits price appreciation to area median income growth plus capital improvements, for 30 years from each resale; buyers have to earn less than 120 or 150 percent of area median income. As a result, prices are now around 50 percent below market, and turnover is very low, running about 1 unit resold every 8-10 years; the seller can select the buyer, subject to the above restrictions.
Half the founders still live in the community, after 18 years.
We have a dozen children living in the community, with the largest cluster around 8-12 years old, and the youngest less than a year.
We have occasional work parties and building projects. We celebrate everyone’s birthdays together. The Common House is used for many events such as movie nights, Balkan folk music concerts, housecleaner training, family get-togethers, bookkeeper training meetings, to name a few.
Children are a big part of the community. Parents share childcare, carpools and parenting life. Older kids babysit, mow the lawn and wash cars.
Community members have supported each other through a long development process, and through births, marriages, graduations, great adventures, illnesses, and death.
We would love to have neighbors who are familiar with cohousing principles and are choosing this lifestyle, are financially independent with a stable income; who value our three community meals a week and are willing to participate in cooking and cleaning rotations; who are willing to participate in our monthly general meetings and work on a committee.
Berkeley Cohousing does not maintain a waiting list, but invites interested people to come on regularly scheduled tours.
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