I had to pleasure of attending a gathering to go look at the new Fair Oaks Eco housing community that’s currently under construction at 4025 New York Ave, in Fair Oaks, California.
We met in Fair Oaks Village behind the Fair Oaks Coffee House and Deli before heading over to look at the building site.
As each of us introduced ourselves and shared what brought us there, the common theme was about community, fellowship, and feeling connected.
Some of us reminisced about growing up in neighborhoods without fences and how as kids we had to learn to cooperate and get along with one another.
Among us were a few retirees, empty nesters, a school teacher with young children, a woman with her teenaged daughter, a few single people, and a married couple. All interested in co-housing and thrilled that there’s one in Fair Oaks.
John, a future resident, is enthusiastic about the project. He is most excited about the workshop with tools and a place to do creative work.
Dennis has fond memories of living in a 52 person cooperative when she was a student in Berkley and was one of the first members of the Fair Oaks Eco-Community.
Bob, is one of the organizers already living in a co-housing community. His wife has Alzheimer’s and with that comes loneliness and isolation. He wanted a community that he can lean on at times and that’s why he joined. It’s been an excellent move for him and his wife. The people have been wonderful to her.
Marty Maskall started the project for the Fair Oaks EcoHousing Community. She was carpooling with a friend, and she looked out his back window to see what his back yard looked like, but she saw all these nice homes with porches facing each other. He also had a front porch facing the street. She noticed that one of the homes was bigger than the others.
She asked, “What is this?” and he said, “Co-housing.” She said, “Co-what?” He explained that it’s a balance of privacy and community. Privacy in your home, and the community at your doorstep. “That was all it took for me!” says Marty. “I was like, I want to live that way but I don’t want to move downtown, and they don’t have any openings anyway, and I thought to myself, it can’t be that hard to start a co-housing community.” She laughs. “But luckily, I didn’t know; and so 15 years later.”
“In life, if we’d really known all the obstacles we would have maybe gotten a little afraid, but I didn’t have enough sense to be afraid,” she says. “Now it’s such a joy to see the smiles on peoples faces when they get it! Just like that!”
“This is a concept whose time has come! I can’t move in fast enough!”
What are cohousing neighborhoods?
Cohousing neighborhoods are composed of privately-owned homes clustered around shared open space and common facilities. A “common house” typically includes a dining room, kitchen, lounge, workshop space, kid’s playroom, and guest rooms; it is the heart of the neighborhood for a variety of other activities.
At the time of this article, they were down to two homes left and an offer was coming in that day.
Learn all about the project and the history of how it all began by visiting the Fair Oaks EcoHousing website.
Eco Housing Green Design