Credit: Valentin Brajon

Later this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) will institute more stringent, recalibrated Energy Star certification metrics in an attempt to reflect current market conditions. As a result of this recalibration, Energy Star scores are expected to drop an average of 10 points for office buildings and 16 points for retail buildings.

If maintaining your current Energy Star score is a priority, the EPA recommends that you apply for your building’s 2018 Energy Star certification no later than July 26, 2018. To accommodate as many applications as possible before the more stringent metrics kick in, the EPA will not enforce its typical 11-month waiting period between applications during this application cycle.  As a result, all buildings that earned a 2017 Energy Star certification will be eligible to earn a 2018 Energy Star certification before the deadline this summer.  Applications submitted after July 26, 2018 may be evaluated with the updated metrics, especially if extensive follow-up is required, and applications submitted after August 26, 2018 will definitely be evaluated with the recalibrated metrics.

For more information about Energy Star and this summer’s updates, please visit

Resolute’s proposed self-storage facility is shown in the graphic above. Source: Resolute Investments.

In May, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the City of Thornton’s approval of a specific use permit for a self-storage facility against a challenge brought by a competitor self-storage facility.  While the court’s decision in Stor-N-Lock Partners #15, L.L.C. v. City of Thornton was a victory for the defendants, including the city and the developer, the court ruled that defendants in Rule 106(a)(4) actions may not recover delay-induced damages through the imposition of a bond.  Otten Johnson attorneys Brian Connolly and Bill Kyriagis represented the defendant landowner and developer, CenturyLink and Resolute Investments, Inc., respectively, throughout the proceedings.

In the case, Resolute obtained the city’s approval of a specific use permit for its project.  A neighboring self-storage facility challenged the approval under Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 106(a)(4), which allows for judicial review of quasi-judicial decisions by local government bodies.  The plaintiff alleged that the approval of the specific use permit did not improve the welfare of its property, which was one of the Thornton code’s criteria for the issuance of a specific use permit.  The district court affirmed the city’s decision but denied the defendant’s motion to require the plaintiff to post security in an amount that would cover the defendant’s losses incurred as a result of litigation-related delays.  Continue Reading Colorado Court of Appeals: Court Should Defer to City Council’s Code Interpretations, But No Bond for Rule 106 Defendants

In the latest installment of an ongoing eminent domain controversy between the City of Glendale and the owner of Authentic Persian and Oriental Rugs, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the landowner, holding that Glendale should have provided notice of its “blight” determination affecting the landowner’s property, even though such notice is not required under applicable state law. The feud made headlines a few years ago when the landowner, who owns six acres that have been carved out of the area contemplated for “Glendale 180” Riverwalk, accused the City of repeatedly denying redevelopment applications for its property, then creating its Downtown Development Authority to condemn the property after negotiations to purchase the property fell through. Continue Reading Court Requires Notice of Decision to Declare Property “Blighted” under State Law

Law is what we do and a part of who we are, but our lives are fully immersed in the people, places and perspectives that create Denver’s identity.  Deeply entwined with our legal practice is our love of place.  This is our opportunity to share our personal insights.

Office environments are not exactly known for cultivating creativity.  However, well‑placed artwork has the power to create unexpected moments of reflection and imagination.  Before Otten Johnson’s renovation a couple years ago, these moments were few and far between.  There were several gems in our art collection, but they were relegated to the oft-ignored corners and corridors of the office.  With the help of Nine Dot Arts, we breathed new life into our existing collection and selected new pieces that captured the firm’s local and approachable culture.  Here are a few highlights from our art collection:

Echoes in the Distance by Craig Robb

It is hard to ignore this masterpiece when you first walk into Otten Johnson’s offices.  With intertwined wood and steel elements, it captures both the movement and stability of various landscapes, in both practical and creative contexts.  A closer look reveals smaller found elements that make subtle references to the firm’s real estate and land use practices.  This imaginative 3-D installation from a local Colorado artist sets the creative vibe for the rest of the Otten Johnson office space.

Architectural Drawings series by Frank Lloyd Wright

Artwork does not need to be expensive in order to be impactful.  This collection of Frank Lloyd Wright sketches was cut out from an old calendar (really!).  While the drawings felt drab when hung in a horizontal stripe down the office hallways, grouping them together in a gallery wall created a worthy tribute to the famous architect.  By drawing your eye to multiple sketches at once, it allows you to appreciate the innovative elements of Wright’s architectural designs.

The Drift by Georgia Amar

Otten Johnson has an impressive collection of artwork by Denver artist Georgia Amar, thanks to her husband and former Otten Johnson attorney Jack Pappalardo.  While our collection mainly features her signature landscapes with surrealist elements and soothing color palettes, The Drift presents an intriguing departure.  This abstract painting draws you in with an unexpected combination of blue, green and orange hues against an inky black backdrop.  The biomorphic forms echo butterfly wings, river patterns or whatever your Rorschach test says about you.  For me, it reflects the essence of abstract art—it can be whatever you want (or need) it to be at any given moment.

Otherscape Series by Tyler Beard

This inconspicuous collage series by Tyler Beard is my personal favorite.  Starting with double-page spreads from a 1950s book about national parks, Beard cut out geometric shapes from one page and transposed them onto the other page.  The landscapes are subtly transformed by layering unexpected dimensions.  The artwork encourages you to admire the picturesque scenery while reflecting on how your own perceptions can alter your surroundings.

The Colorado Court of Appeals recently upheld a land exchange between the City of Colorado Springs and the Broadmoor Hotel. The court’s decision in Save Cheyenne v. City of Colorado Springs affirms the broad power of home‑rule municipalities to “purchase, receive, hold and enjoy or sell and dispose of” property according to the dictates of their charters and ordinances.  Continue Reading Save Cheyenne v. City of Colorado Springs: What, if anything, has changed about the power of home rule municipalities in Colorado to alienate public park land?