Green roofs rules grow closer, and Denver roofing permits hold steady

Developers and property owners now have the opportunity to make the green roof rules work.

staff photo
A green roof concept on a model of the new DaVita being built behind Union Station in the office of the real estate brokerage firm Slifer, Smith & Frampton, Oct. 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A green roof concept on a model of the new DaVita building in the office of real estate brokerage firm Slifer, Smith & Frampton behind Union Station, Oct. 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver property owners don’t seem to be flooding the city permitting process ahead of the new green roof rules going into place next week.

City officials were keeping an eye on whether property owners looking to roof or re-roof would rush to avoid the requirements to add vegetation atop their buildings. But 2017 is quickly wilting away, and planners are seeing the typical year-end dwindling of permit applications, according to Denver Community Planning and Development.

Property owners with buildings 25,000 square feet and larger have until midnight New Year’s Eve to get a roof permit application in if they want to play by the current rules. After that, 20 to 60 percent of available roof space is required to be green.  People who successfully get an exemption from the Denver Planning Board are required to pay a cash-in-lieu fee of $25 per square foot for each square foot of coverage of available roof space that doesn’t sprout some sort of vegetation.

Source: Denver CPD; The Green Roof Initiative passed Nov. 7, 2017.

“By our read so far, it doesn’t appear like the green roof initiative has sparked a notable increase in requests for roofing permits,” Community Planning and Development spokeswoman Laura Swartz said. “The roofing trend is more or less the same as last year after accounting for our overall increase in volume.”

CDP isn’t expecting many new developments to get around the new rules either unless city planners are already reviewing the projects. That means developers and property owners will have to make the new green roof rules work.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment plans to lead a formal stakeholder engagement and public input process to review and possibly modify the ordinance on either Jan. 12 or 19. Any changes to the initiative would require a super-majority of 10 City Council votes, and that could not happen until mid-2018 at the earliest.

CPD shared draft rules for the ordinance Wednesday and is taking public feedback 3 p.m. Jan. 17 in the City and County Building. The draft rules and regulations aim to clarify key terms and requirements of the ordinance and help explain what types of projects must have green roof coverage and which are exempt or able to request a variance.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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