On Thursday, the Denver Election Division released the final unofficial vote totals for the 2017 municipal election, and it appears that Initiative 300 will pass with 54% of the vote.  We discussed the Green Roof Initiative in a post on October 24, but now that the measure has passed, we need to take another look at how its requirements will affect real estate development in Denver moving forward:

  • The Ordinance only applies to buildings of 25,000 square feet or more of Gross Floor Area, a term defined in the Denver Zoning Code.
  • “Industrial buildings” have a lesser coverage requirement than other buildings.
  • “Residential buildings” less than four stories are exempt.
  • The ordinance only applies to “building permit application[s]” and “site plan[s]” submitted on or after January 1, 2018. Because neither of these terms is defined in the Zoning Code, we expect the Community Planning and Development Department to provide some guidance as to which applications and site plans qualify.  When the City passed the Affordable Housing Fee in 2016, the City did not impose the fee for projects that had Concept Plans officially logged with the City by December 29.
  • The ordinance applies to all “roof replacements” for buildings with 25,000 square feet or more of Gross Floor Area. The ordinance does not define “roof replacement,” so again we will be looking to Community Planning and Development for guidance on this provision.

We will closely follow the implementation of this ordinance and provide updated information as it becomes available.

On Monday night, the Denver City Council approved an ordinance creating Denver’s fifty-third historic district: Packard’s Hill Historic District. Located in the West Highlands neighborhood, the District spans north to south from 35th to 32nd Avenue, and east to west from Lowell Boulevard to Perry Street.  The new district encompasses eight city blocks, and includes thirty-nine Queen Anne-style houses, twenty-nine bungalows, and twenty-six classic cottage houses dating from the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Continue Reading Denver City Council Designates Packard’s Hill Historic District in West Highlands

Tuesday evening the Boulder City Council unanimously approved the $9.5 million purchase of the 615-acre parcel located at 4536 N. 95th St. (pictured below) to add to the city’s 45,000-acre open space network.  The parcel is the fourth most expensive open-space parcel purchased by the city, will be one of the largest, and will become the easternmost piece of the city’s open-space network.  Because of its 1.5 miles of Boulder Creek frontage, eight ponds, mountain views, and abundant wildlife, the city believes the parcel has tremendous potential for recreational and agricultural purposes.  The city will spend approximately 18 months evaluating the parcel after acquiring it before opening it to visitors.

Image result for boulder valley farm

David Brewster, a summer law clerk with Otten Johnson, authored this post. David is a rising third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Rapid population growth and lagging infrastructure development in the Denver Metro Area are re-energizing a debate between advocates of long term growth strategies and “slow-growth” advocates. Recently, a Lakewood-based grassroots group known as Strategic Growth for Lakewood submitted more than 7,500 signatures supporting a growth management initiative for the upcoming general election. The initiative’s proposed ordinance would limit new residential unit developments to 1% of exiting units in a given year. Additionally, the ordinance would require City Council approval and public hearings for projects of 40 or more residential units. Continue Reading Revitalizing a Rocky Mountain Debate: “Slow-Growth” Strategies v. Long-Term Planning

A survey of the two lots in question. Source: Pacific Legal Foundation.

In a 5-4 decision announced today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Wisconsin could prohibit development of a subdivision lot—while allowing development on an adjacent lot owned by the same family—without paying just compensation.  The Court’s decision is a victory for states and local governments and a loss for property rights advocates. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Finds No Regulatory Taking in Wisconsin Case