PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: STAR Sustainability Program

The City of Durango has been formally certified in the STAR Community Rating System (STAR). The City earned a Certified 3-STAR Community Rating and has been recognized for sustainability leadership. Durango is the 3rd community in Colorado and
the 61st nationwide to achieve certification from STAR Communities, a nonprofit organization that evaluates and certifies sustainable communities. Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs are the other STAR-Certified Colorado communities. STAR is the nation’s leading framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability
and recognizes achievements both by local government and the wider community. Durango was awarded points in a total of 163 performance measures across STAR’s seven goal areas: built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education; arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. With a final score of 275.9 points, Durango far exceeded the minimum 200 points required for a 3-STAR Community Rating. Some highlights of the City’s application include:

  • Built Environment: Access to high quality parkland, open space and public transit contributed to a high score in the Built Environment goal area.
  • Economy & Jobs: In recent years, the economy of Durango has experienced growth. Over 1,200 new businesses were established from 2013-2015 and unemployment has also dropped over that same time period.

  • Equity & Empowerment: Childhood poverty has steadily decreased in Durango since 2012 and between 2014 and 2015 there was a 9% decrease. This progress is supported by City programs such as the Food Tax Rebate and the Utility Refund, which reduce the financial burden of basic needs.

  • Health & Safety: Durango’s access to quality parks and open spaces provide residents with diverse opportunities to be active. This led the City to score well in the Active Living objective by reporting 88% of residents as being physically active in the past month.

“Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community,” said Hilari Varnadore, Executive Director of STAR Communities. “We commend the leadership in Durango for prioritizing data-driven decision making and are proud to award the City with the Certified 3-STAR Community Rating.” Over the coming months, the City will work with community partners and Durango citizens to identify priority action areas, enabling the City and others to direct resources efficiently and effectively to the greatest areas of need.
To review Durango’s STAR results, visit https://reporting.starcommunities.org/communities/123-colorado-durango
To learn more about the STAR Community Rating System, visit the STAR Communities website: www.STARcommunities.org
For information about the City of Durango’s sustainability initiatives, contact Imogen Ainsworth, the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, imogen.ainsworth@durangogov.org, or visit www.durangogov.org/sustainability



  • The new Fired-Up Pizza received their Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the City, and the restaurant is now open.
  • The 1304 Florida Road Apartments (20 units) received their Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the City. 

  • Mercy Hospice received their Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the City.

  • 10 new Townhome Building Permits were issued in Three Springs.

  • The Rocket Apartments (194 units) at Escalante have submitted building permit applications for the 8 structures that make up the development.

  • Excavation has begun on the extension of Escalante Drive between Baker Lane and Home Depot.

Development Review Project Submittals

Below is a list of the major development review projects that were submitted for review in August:

project review

Building Permit Monthly Report

Below is a breakdown of the types of Building Permits issued in August:


Code Enforcement Monthly Report

Below is a breakdown of the types of calls Code Enforcement received in August:

Code Enforcement

Parking Division Monthly Report

Below is the Parking Division Monthly Report for August:


Sign Code Update

The City of Durango is requesting professional services to assist with an update to the City’s 1989 Sign Code located in Article 3-6 of the Land Use and Development Code (LUDC).  The update will begin in January, 2018 and will ensure that the sign code language is legally sound, straightforward, easy to use and practical to enforce.
For more information on bid documents and/or supporting information, go to the following website:  www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado.

Emergency Bear Ordinance

The City’s Code Enforcement Officers have responded to an overwhelming number of Bear/Trash complaints this summer.  Therefore, on Tuesday, September 5th, the City Council adopted an Emergency Ordinance (O-2017-11) related to the use, placement and security of trash containers. The Ordinance covers the following: 

  • Trash containers may not be out in alleys or streets except on the day of collection between the hours of 6:00am-8:00pm.  Otherwise, trash containers must be stored on the property, preferably in sheds or garages if available.
  • There are 2 types of violations as follows:

    • 1) Trash container placement and time violations: $100 for first violation, and $200 for each subsequent violation.

    • 2) Scattering of trash by wildlife violations: $100 for first violation, and $200 for each subsequent violation.

  • Example: On a non-collection day, if the trash container is out and trash is scattered, then there will be a $200 fine.  The second violation will be a $400 fine.

 For more info, visit www.durangogov.org/wildlife or call (970)375-5004.


Steve Barkley and Shane Roukema, City Code Enforcement Officers, handling the City's bear problems.



The Community Development Department has gone through another reorganization and the following changes have occurred:

  • The Sustainability Division is now part of the Community Development Department;
  • Keith Dougherty has been promoted to Assistant City Engineer; and

  • Kris Johnson has been promoted to Engineering Inspector II.


Upcoming September Meetings

  1. City Council Meeting (Council Chambers) – Tue. Sept. 19th @ 6:30pm
  2. Historic Preservation Meeting (Council Chambers) – Wed. Sept. 20th @ 5:30pm
    1. Walton Alterations Certificate
    2. Turner Buildings Demo and Re-Use Plan
  3. Planning Commission Study Session (River City Hall) – Thur. Sept. 21st @4pm
  4. Planning Commission Meeting (Council Chambers) – Mon. Sept. 25th @ 6pm
    1. City CIP Update
    2. LUDC Text Amendments
    3. Albert Boundary Adjustment
    4. Three Springs Parcel F
    5. Character Districts Update
  5. City Council Study Session (Council Chambers) – Tue. Sept. 26th @ 4pm
  6. Public Art Commission Meeting (River City Hall) - Tue. Sept. 26th @ 9am
  7. Board of Adjustment Meeting (Council Chambers) – CANCELLED
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