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Frequently Asked Questions

The big differences are:

-the form of ownership: each private residence is individually owned
-each residence is a fully equipped private home; only common facilities are shared
-no shared community economy; finances are not pooled

The differences are in design, self-governance, and shared resources. Cohousing communities are designed to promote social interaction. These communities decide on their own form of self-governance and make their own rules; they typically do not use property management companies. Community members share ownership and use of extensive common facilities such as the common house and the grounds.

We are highly environmentally conscious. We have shared recycling, reflective (high albedo) roofing, upgraded insulation, ceiling fans, double-glazed windows, solar panels and battery storage for common areas, passive solar design, separate temperature control devices for zones within our homes and the common house, chargers for electric vehicles, bicycle storage facilities, bioswales to retain rainwater on the property, organic garden, composting, etc. Our location is within walking distance of the downtown area, shopping, and public transportation.

Each of the households owns their own condominium. Each also has a partial interest in the common house, the land, and the other shared amenities.

Every unit is a complete living space, with a full kitchen, two or more bedrooms, two or more bathrooms, and hookups for a washer and dryer.

Members can do laundry in their individual homes, using their own washer/dryer, or may use the shared washer and dryer in the common house. There is also an outdoor clothesline.

We have used “universal design” throughout the common areas and the individual units to comply with ADA accessibility requirements. This includes lever openers for doors; wheelchair accessible doorways, bathrooms, and kitchens; Braille on signs and elevator buttons; elevator access to the garage, all three living levels, and all floors of the common house; and other accommodations for people with physical limitations. 

The community is governed by its homeowners association (HOA), which has the registered name Calderon Homeowners Association. All community members belong to the association, and are automatically members of its Board of Directors. The homeowners association adopts legal CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions); makes decisions for the day-to-day functioning of the community, primarily by consensus; and decides upon and assesses HOA dues. MVCC is organized into a number of teams to get the work done. The teams are empowered to carry out various aspects of the governance process. Teams include:

  • Come Together (social activities)
  • Community Culture and Processes (how we live together)
  • Interiors (oversight of interior common spaces and meals)
  • Information Technology
  • Legal & Finance
  • Landscaping
  • Marketing & Membership
  • Safety & Maintenance
  • Architectural Review

All teams have designated authority and responsibilities. Each team reports monthly to the whole group about its activities and can bring up matters that require a whole-group decision at our monthly business meetings.

Like many other cohousing communities, MVCC makes its business decisions by consensus. We discuss a topic until issues are understood by all and concerns have been resolved. Although this style of governance is not the most efficient, it assures that —when a decision is reached— it has the understanding and support of the entire community. We have found that this method of decision making is the most inclusive and results in better decisions. Consensus has been successfully used by MVCC for every community decision since its inception.

Every household is a member of the HOA and, as such, participates in the governance of the community. The work of our community is done by our Teams.  Every adult member of the community is expected to serve on at least one Team at a level realistic and reasonable for their interests and abilities. Community members are encouraged to participate in community events.

The condominium fees currently range between approximately $740 to $820 per month, depending on the size of the unit. These are somewhat higher than other condominium associations; however they include the major utilities of heat, hot water, and gas, as well as water/sewer/garbage/recycling, property insurance, and maintenance and utilities for the extensive common facilities, as well as internet access in the common areas. The condominium fees also cover the operating budget for MVCC.
Approximately 40% of the monthly fees are deposited into a reserve fund to pay for future major expenses for the community. For example, when a new roof is eventually needed, the money will already have been allocated, avoiding the need for an additional assessment. The remainder of the monthly fees pay for the blanket property insurance policy, and the operating budget for MVCC, including maintenance and repair, and the budgets for the individual teams.

In addition to their monthly condominium fee, each homeowner pays for the electricity used in their own home, as well as for their telephone and internet. They also pay real estate taxes based on the assessed value of their unit. Most also purchase a condominium insurance policy, covering the interior of their units and their personal possessions; because the HOA has insurance for the structures and general liability, the individual condominium policy costs much less than that for a single-family home.
Owners are responsible for furnishing, decorating, and maintaining their own homes. They arrange and pay for any customization of their homes, such as painting or minor interior structural modifications (per the CC&R’s, structural modifications require the approval of the Architectural Review Committee). 

Yes, although we have a rental policy that does impose some constraints on rentals. Notification of available rentals is usually announced in our Newsletters.

MVCC has a Marketing and Membership Team that maintains a list of prospects who have expressed an interest in moving into our community. These prospects are familiar with cohousing in general and MVCC specifically, have met members of our community, and have attended common meals and business meetings. In order to maintain MVCC as a cohousing community, we strongly encourage members of our community who are selling their condominiums to contact the Membership and Marketing Team to find buyers among these prospects.

This is the first condominium-style cohousing development in the Mountain View area.The approximate price per square foot is similar to that of other condominium complexes in the area. However, other condominium developments of this size do not have such extensive common facilities and common land, nor the mutually supportive environment of cohousing. 

Parking for residents is entirely underground, with each owner entitled to have two assigned spaces. An elevator from the garage provides access to each unit and to all common areas. The garage has charging stations for electric vehicles; owners pay for the electricity they use to charge their vehicles.

The condominiums are unusually large for cohousing units, with plenty of closet space. In addition, there is private storage space in the underground garage and shelf storage in the bicycle storage room. There’s also storage space for items that households may want to share with each other, such as coolers, tents, camping gear, and recreational equipment. Because we have extensive shared facilities, such as a well-equipped workshop, home theater, and exercise room, owners have less need to store duplicate items — after all, how many band saws or elliptical trainers can 19 neighbors need?

Common meals are the heart of our community. Twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, we share dinners prepared by community members. Approximately once a month each member participates on a meal team, as lead cook, prep cook, or set-up/clean-up. While attendance is optional, all of us benefit when we participate.
We also have informal times for dining together. Every Friday early evening, we gather informally for TGIF. Occasional small group potlucks are held at members’ homes, and other impromptu occasions often occur.

Pet cats or dogs are allowed. A household may have no more than three pets, of which no more than two may be dogs. Pet owners are expected to control their pets so as not to annoy, frighten, or pose a danger to others in the community. Pets are not allowed in any indoor common areas except as needed to be moved into or out of the owner’s unit. Dogs must be restrained at all times when outside; cats are not allowed outside.Residents of first-floor units have their own outside patio area, suitable for dogs.

No. Tobacco usage is prohibited everywhere on the property, including all public and private areas, indoors and out.

We minimize the use of building materials that release allergens. We don’t allow animals (including dogs or cats) inside any of the common areas. However, MVCC cannot be responsible for ensuring that any individual be protected from all substances to which they conceivably might have an adverse reaction.

Neighbors in this cohousing community often give more assistance to each other than those in typical single family, condominium or apartment settings. This mutual assistance as we age may enable us to remain living in our own units longer than would otherwise be the case. However MVCC is not set up to serve as a long-term care facility. If at some point a person finds they require ongoing assistance with the activities of daily living (such as dressing, bathing, cooking, eating, taking medications, paying bills), they are expected to make their own provisions for this assistance, such as hiring an outside caregiver.

MVCC has no age restrictions, as compared to retirement communities. Although some of the current MVCC members are retired, others are working full time. Cohousing communities do not provide concierge services or meals. MVCC members live independently in their own condominium-style homes. They expect to stay actively involved in creating a life of their own choosing, both within MVCC and beyond. By contrast, the residents of a retirement community are in a setting designed by others for their care and comfort, within the bounds of rules and routines created by others.

No. We are a group of independent-minded people who happen to want to live near other compatible people. Membership is not restricted to those of any particular faith, spirituality, or philosophical persuasion. We enjoy enthusiastic, respectful exchange of ideas.