In an unanimous 4-0 vote, the Durango Planning Commission recommended approval of the development and annexation of 584 acres just west of Durango near Lightner Creek at a meeting Thursday.
The Twin Buttes development, which includes an additional 13 acres already within city limits, will host 595 housing units along with 70,000 square feet of commercial and civic space.
Were very grateful to be to this part of the project, said Eric Flora, owner and developer.
As a part of the 597-acre total, 290 acres of open space will be deeded to the city by the time the decision for final approval reaches the City Council on March 15, said Greg Hoch, city planning director.
The 290 acres are a gift from Edward A. and Florence L. Pauls.
According to city documents, in addition to the gifted open space, there will be more than 180 acres of open space within the project, as well as an additional 46 acres for agricultural use.
Park use is designated on 7.4 acres, and about 3 acres are dedicated for future development of an elementary school.
Flora, who consolidated ownership of the area in 2006, said he intends to break ground on the commercial and housing developments when the economy rebounds, hopefully by summer 2012.
I dont think youre going to see any rush to get the infrastructure put in or anything built in 2011. We anticipate it will all start in 2012, said Denny Ehlers, Floras attorney.
This spring and summer, Flora said he will add another acre of organic gardens, revegetate damaged area and finish the access bridge, started last year.
Flora completed the new Giant gas station on Dec. 15, a project that had been ongoing since April.
Using the new stations green-building as an example, Western Refining, owner of the Giant, touts the service station as a model for other service stations around the country, Ehlers said.
Its pretty exciting to see a developer willing to build to this extent, as far as building green, said Comissioner Brad Broyles.
Because the gas station was built green, construction costs were higher. Rents were raised about $1,200 to $1,300 per month, payed for by Western Refining, Ehlers said.
The projected utility cost savings will outweigh the cost in rent, he said.
Likewise, Ehlers said, the homes might cost 10 percent more to build, but the cost of ownership will be cheaper because of the homes energy-efficient standards.