Cohousing development proposed for land off River Road

Cohousing development proposed for land off River Road »Play Video
The meadow where the cohousing project would be built

EUGENE, Ore. -  Oakleigh Meadows is a community of almost a dozen households who hope to develop Eugene’s first cohousing development.

The 2.7 acre plot is situated off River Road at the end of the Oakleigh Lane. 

The idea began four years ago when Joan Connolly and David Adee bought a lot adjacent to their home. 

They wanted to keep the land accessible to the community, while protecting the sustainability of the River Road neighborhood.

“There really isn’t enough density in this neighborhood to keep some of the small businesses going," Connolly said. "The idea came after buying the house and not knowing what the fate of the (neighboring) land was, and feeling kind of protective of it. Certain aspects of cohousing particularly appealed to me. At the time, I had a four year old, and so this car free center with many eyes and many hands was attractive."

Members of Oakleigh Meadow would like to expand the community to 28 households in seven buildings. 

RC Cross hopes to move into the development, along with his daughter and granddaughter. 

Even though they would reside in separate units, he is looking forward to being able to babysit his granddaughter and gain a sense of community.

“I’ve owned four or five homes in Eugene and never had a feeling of community," he said. "You have a relationship with your neighbor as they drive up their driveway, but you may or may not really know them. Here, I will know my neighbors and consider them friends."
 
While many neighbors are unhappy about the development of the area, Patricia Holtz believes that a cohousing development is the best option and will increase her neighboring property’s value.

“I’m old enough to know that change comes and it’s not something usually we can completely control," she said. "This is the best option for this property if it’s going to be developed.”

So far, 10 households are designated full members in the project, and there are three associate members.  The hope is that these three associate members will graduate to full membership within the next few months. 

Households participating in this project would each have their own living space but share common space and laundry facilities and participate in communal recreational activities. 

Parking would be restricted to the side of the property, allowing the land to be open and accessible to residents as well as member of the community.

The common house would have several amenities, including guest rooms for visitors, a music room, and play area for children. 

All decisions at Oakleigh Meadow are made through consensus.

Members are hoping 10 more households will commit themselves to the project in order to fund the construction.
 
Next week, a public hearing will take place to determine whether this planned unit development proposal will move forward. 

The Eugene City Council will consider preliminary approval of the plan during its October 2 meeting.