Denver green roof initiative passes

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DENVER — The votes were still being counted Wednesday, but it was clear the green roof initiative on Denver ballots will pass. This means changes for a lot of the city’s large buildings.

The results are not a big surprise to the business community, but definitely a disappointment. The group not only had the mayor on its side, but also lots of fundraising dollars.

The initiative forces all buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to add some sort of green space to their roofs.

“It increases energy efficiency of a building, it filters our air, it manages stormwater, creates biodiversity for birds and bees, the lists go on and on,” green roof initiative organizer Brandon Rietheimer said.

Organizers got the idea from a law already in place in Toronto.

“We believe Denver’s way is to do things in a collaborate stakeholder involved way,” said Kathie Barstnar, co-chair of Citizens for a Reasonable Denver.

Like anything, there are two sides to every story. Citizens for a Responsible Denver is the group that campaigned against the mandate.

It included Visit Colorado, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Denver Partnership and more.

“Mandates are challenging,” president and CEO of Downtown Denver Partnership Tami Door said.

While the business community said it’s all for eco-friendly spaces, it’s not for raised rents or elevated costs.

“When mandates are placed on buildings that impact the cost of running, maintaining or developing that respective building, those costs are passed on to the tenant,” Door said.

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