Laytonville is a small rural town on Highway 101 in Northern Mendocino County and is about a three hour drive from San Francisco. The Laytonville Ecovillage is a mile out of town on Branscomb Road.
The land is ten acres legally subdivided into four parcels. Subdividing was required due to county and state regulations that restrict home building and septic system designs. Subdividing is time-consuming and expensive, but the upshot is that each parcel can legally support two homes which allows for the development of a neighborhood-scale community tied together by common values and interests.
On Parcel One there is an existing two-story farmhouse that’s about 65 years old, a barn with loft, carport, and several outbuildings. Parcel one is two acres and has road frontage on Branscomb Road. The farmhouse has a new standing seam metal roof, county approved septic system, new electrical service, rebuilt rear staircase, and new energy efficient appliances. A second one bedroom septic system has been approved which allows for an additional home.
Parcels Two and Three are two acres each and are undeveloped. Each have approved four-bedroom septic designs. Parcel Four is four acres and is situated at the back of the property. Parcel Four has forests, sunny meadows, and many possibilities as a community resource. It also has a four-bedroom septic design but could also be left undeveloped as a shared-community habitat space.
Now that the subdivision is complete, those interested in living at the Laytonville Ecovillage will create a core team. The core team will develop the documents, vision, and our own common vision and get down to the good work of creating a life together.
“An idyllic dwelling place to participate in cooperative living, food self-reliance, energy self-sufficiency and honor for the land. We will be stewards, friends, teachers and students and we’ll come from all walks of life to share a lifestyle that we all agree is in alignment with principles of ecology, economics, democracy and all that good stuff that draws people together to improve their lives and those of their neighbors and friends.”
—Dan Antonioli, Founder
Our vision is to develop the land and homes with community and sustainability as core values. Models of ecological design, permaculture, and green building will be applied as much as possible. Parcels will be sold to people who agree to a basic common vision, to a community lifestyle, and to working together to create shared guidelines for the development of the EcoVillage.
The design is along the lines of an intentional neighborhood; people will have privacy but will be close to neighbors in both physical space and in the designs that facilitate community.
There are many opportunities to create common uses that allow members to have more, while spending less. Some of the sustainable lifestyle features we envision could include: community house built with locally harvested materials, sauna/hot tub bath house, solar microgrid, biodiesel filling station, an electric car co-op, rainwater catchment, graywater, permaculture landscaping and shared gardens, etc.
A wonderful resource to support us in reaching a common vision is Diana Leafe Christian’s book Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. This book outlines some of the ways we’ll get to common agreements and a common vision.