Until people have experienced life in a cohousing community, they often have questions and concerns about the details of daily living. But once they have moved in, they find their concerns mitigated by the trust, respect and commitment neighbors feel for one another. In this atmosphere, long discussions of policy give way to human interaction.
Is there a screening process? Who decides who lives there?
Most cohousing communities, including Tierra Nueva, do not screen new residents. Potential residents need to understand the nature of the community and expectations for participation. We let them decide whether or not the community meets their needs.
We describe our process as “self selection,” meaning that we expect prospective buyers to get to know the community and decide for yourselves whether you are a good fit. With that said, we hope that you will really consider us thoughtfully and at the minimum, we hope that you will do the following:
– Come to at least one community meal
– Get to know as many people as possible by meeting and talking with folks at dinner and during work days or meetings
– Read over our member agreements to see what our commitments to one another are here and to be sure you can make the same (member agreements can be emailed to you upon request)
– Review our website’s information (which you’re already making progress on!)
Are cohousing homes more affordable than other types of housing?
Cohousing houses are as affordable (or more so right now in some cases) as surrounding area housing. The added value are the common areas that are shared by homeowners, and enjoyed by all residents. This includes the Common House, Gudrun Hus Studio, Workshop, Community Gardens and Orchard. Financial and realty institutions historically have not been able to quantify the value of these shared Commons. Tierra Nueva homes on the market include this very undervalued asset… shared ownership of the Commons, which we believe adds to the value of our homes.
How is the community managed?
Residents manage the community through consensus-based business meetings. Affinity Teams carry out the work.
What is expected of community members?
Please see our “The Work” page.
What about pets?
Pets are a welcomed part of Tierra Nueva as long as they are a positive influence on our community. Dogs are required to be on leash when not in homes or fenced-in areas.
How much participation is required?
A minimum level of participation includes cleaning in the common house, working on the land once a month, attending twice-monthly Business Meetings and once-monthly Community Life meetings, and participating in committee work.
For those who participate in meals, it is expected that people will assist with a cooking team and a cleaning team at least once a month.
New residents are expected to participate in a “Buddy” system of getting to know the community’s resources and expectations.
Are rental opportunities available?
There are rental units, owned by people who intend to move in later or who are away for a period of time. Most residents agree that rental units are a positive addition to a community. Please sign up for our Mailing List if you’d like to be informed of rental opportunities.
What if I don’t like someone in the group?
It is not essential for everyone in a cohousing community to like each other. In fact, a variety of personalities adds interest to community life. Cohousing residents need only share a similar goal of making their lives more enjoyable through cooperating with their neighbors.
What about privacy?
Many of our members have been very clear about an intrinsic personal need for indoor and outdoor private space. We are working to achieve a balance between personal privacy and community interaction. The homes have small yards which can be privatized, and the social mores of the group promise to respect individual needs for time (and space) alone.
You’re near Diablo Canyon, aren’t you?
The property is within the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Evacuation Zone. This is common to all of the surrounding areas and has had no past negative effect on property values or marketability.
What is the weather like in Oceano?
Our climate is mild, with moderate summers and winters and spectacularly brilliant spring and autumn days. We’re on the coast, so a certain level of coastal moisture is a part of life here.
Where do the children of Tierra Nueva go to school?
We’re located within the Lucia Mar Unified School District. Tierra Nueva falls within the Fairgrove Elementary School district lines (within walking/biking distance) and was designated as a California Distinguished School in 2007.
Mesa Middle School and Paulding Junior High are both within 2-3 miles of the community. Mesa is a new facility for grades 6-8 on the Nipomo Mesa and its standardized state testing results (CLAS) are among the highest in the area. Paulding Junior High in the Village of Arroyo Grande is a California Distinguished School and a National Blue Ribbon School. Both are serviced by the district school buses, with a bus stop within 2 blocks of Tierra Nueva.
Arroyo Grande High School is also a California Distinguished School and offers innovative science, technology and fine arts programs. We have two excellent community colleges, Cuesta and Allan Hancock College, each within twenty miles of Tierra Nueva. California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) is located in San Luis Obispo (19 miles north) and offers a four year state college curriculum.
In addition to public schools, there are quality Montessori schools, a charter school (Bellevue Santa Fe), and home schooling options. Tierra Nueva is very home school-friendly with its safe acreage, proximity to the ocean, dunes, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara for day trips. There are several home school groups and many independent classes (such as a home school fieldtrip class) available.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions that haven’t been answered here!