Public input meetings are expected to be held into May by the City of Denver’s Public Health and Environment Department as it sorts out the details of the controversial Green Roof Initiative.
That ballot question, which ended up being passed in November by a 54 to 46 percent margin, proposed that all new buildings, 25,000 square feet or larger, be required to install a green roof feature. That feature could either be a rooftop garden or solar-powered panels, or combination of both.
Proponents of the initiative said such rooftop green projects would stabilize building temperature, mitigating what is known as the “heat island” effect, which creates a higher temperature in urban areas with large clusters of buildings, compared with surrounding suburban or rural areas.
The initiative specifically called for the creation of green features for 20 percent of the rooftop space for a structure measuring between 15,000 to 49,000 square feet. The amount of required green features would top out on a building of 200,000 square feet or more with 60 percent of the rooftop space.
Developers and builders have said that the initiative will prove a downer on the market, with the green roof requirements adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of a project.
Besides the Public Health and Environment Department’s hearings on the initiative, Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department is also in the process of sifting through the requirements of the new law.
A webpage for the planning and development department says that it is trying to “harmonize existing laws and policies with this new law and to build its requirements into our permitting and contractor licensing procedures."
Exact city planning requirements regarding the initiative could be announced later this spring.
By Garry Boulard
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