by Maggie Flickinger
In late March, the Barrett Studio master-planned Twin Buttes Ecovillage received unanimous Final Plan approval from the Durango City Council. This marks the culmination of a four year approval process, the finalization of the property’s annexation into the City, and the official dedication of 290 acres of open space from the land owners to the City and People of Durango. This open space includes much of the upper reaches of the property, including the iconic Buttes themselves. From the beginning, we knew this wasn’t development as usual. We were thrilled to partner with a land owner active in the land preservation community, a developer with a wild-west meets zen attitude who had recently fallen hard for sustainable living, and a prescient Planning Director interested in smart growth. Our hallmark process of listening to the land resulted in multiple on-site charrettes and site walks, as well as sophisticated GIS layering maps. Ultimately, the developer himself has taken up residence at the future site of the Artisan Core, directing the nascent Twin Buttes Farms and Ranch from his home.
With approvals in hand, what are the next steps for this new Durango community?
The solar gas station recently opened at the Twin Buttes Eastern Entrance on Highway 160. Industry leading sustainability features result in 45% less energy consumption than neighboring stations, daylighting creates an inviting interior environment, the organic exterior materials palette feature wood & stone from the site, and innovative water treatment recycles 70% of the water used in car washes. The store’s features were recently profiled in the Durango Herald.
The team is gearing up for another growing season at the Twin Buttes Farms! Local partnerships and initiatives will build on last years distribution of produce to local schools and restaurants, and Twin Buttes Salsa will make its second seasonal debut.
Forestry Management and Wildlife Protection Initiatives are ongoing, with funding recently secured from CDOW to continue an Urban Bears Study.
The Twin Buttes Mill is up and running, ensuring that trees targeted for removal by the Wildfire Mitigation team are used for their greatest potential as building material elsewhere on site.
Ground will be broken in the West Meadows cluster, with Barrett Studio focusing on architectural development of the Community Barn, first homes, and cottage industry that will establish this as a vital and activated neighborhood core. These will all be developed within our stringent Sustainability Mandates & Guidelines. This area will also link to new open space trials being envisioned by the City, functioning as a new gathering place for active Durangoans.
These community features and amenities are just the beginning of this addition to the growing City of Durango. Having been diligently forwarding our passion & ideas for sustainable development on this spectacular land for the past four years, we’re excited to see this project continue to move forward. We strongly feel that projects such as Twin Buttes have an important role in impacting how we inhabit our planet, and can lead us toward a more sustainable future. If you feel the same way, keep in touch, as we’ll be posting more updates and images as things unfold!