Mountain View Voice

News - October 2, 2009

Senior co-housing project proposed for Calderon Avenue parcel

by Daniel DeBolt

A property adjacent to Landels School has been secured by investors with the intent of building a unique co-housing community for seniors where meals and other chores would be shared by over a dozen households.

The one-acre property, located at 445 Calderon Ave., contains the remnants of an old orchard and the 1880s home of Anne Bakotich, a long-time resident who died in 2007.

A first of its kind on the Peninsula, the proposal includes 20 condos on the one-acre lot and "extensive common facilities," said Architect Charles Durrett. A 4,000-square-foot common building could include "kids rooms, a dining room, guest rooms, music rooms and workshops," Durrett said. The zoning allows up to 25 homes.

The homes would cost between $750,000 and $1.1 million for units between 1,400 and 2,000 square feet in size, according to an e-mail from Sue Burwen posted on the project's online discussion group.

The development would be designed by the people who will live in it, Durrett said, in partnership with local developer Wayne Aozasa. More seniors are sought for the project, but so far five seniors who already know each other have committed to it, and many more have shown interest by attending social events. So far the group is made up of people in their 50s and 60s, said Burwen, a Mountain View resident who has committed to the project with her husband David.

"We are very interested in the concept of 'aging in place,'" Burwen said. "We can remain independent much longer because we can pool our resources."

Architect Durrett is known as a co-housing guru and author of books on the subject. He spoke at Books Inc. on Thursday about the project after the Voice went to press.

In a press release, Durrett says senior co-housing is "the best hope for seniors to both significantly enhance their quality of life (I haven't seen anybody have as much fun since the college dorms) and live much lighter on the planet at the same time. First big hurdle —get past the myth of the single family house."

By a narrow margin, the City Council voted against buying the property in 2007, as many council members were interested in preserving the property's history. It was for sale for $3.2 million.

"I've seen a lot of developments where they did save the house and restore it as part of the development — we need to look at that," said council member Jac Siegel in 2007, adding that "several of us feel strongly that way."

More information about the project can be found on yahoo groups at groups.yahoo.com/groups/mountainviewcohousing, by e-mailing mvcohousing@earthlink.net or by phoning 650-965-9590.

Comments

Posted by annonymous, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm

What senior citizen would be able to afford that kind of housing? I think it's a good idea, but will most likely fall short.


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