Denver green roof initiative close to passage

DENVER -- A green roof initiative in Denver was heading toward a narrow victory on Wednesday.

Ordinance 300 had 52.2 percent yes votes to 47.8 percent no votes out of more than 96,000 ballots cast, according to the Denver Elections Division.

The difference was about 4,000 votes as of 2 a.m. when counting stopped.

Counting will resume at 10 a.m., with the next results expected to be announced at 3 p.m.

If it passes, the initiative would force all new large-scale buildings in Denver to have green roofs or solar panels.

But the proposal didn't have the support of some city leaders, including Mayor Michael Hancock.

In September, supporters said the idea to require rooftop gardens would be an effective way to reduce energy costs and air pollution.

The proposal was modeled after a law that's been set in Toronto.

Developers with 25,000 square feet or larger buildings would be required to install rooftop gardens, solar panels or a combination of the two.

Business owners argued an incentive program would work better than a mandate, arguing it would burden builders with extra costs.

Passage of the ordinance could slow several city projects that would be paid for from a $937 million package that passed Tuesday night.

The initiative would take effect on Jan. 1. In six months, the Denver City Council would have the option to repeal or make changes to the ordinance with two-thirds majority.