The Final Review

Aaron Jagiel

Posts by Aaron Jagiel

What’s Changing Under Denver’s Revised Green Roof Ordinance?

Dec 13, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Last November, the Denver City Council enacted the Denver Green Roofs Initiative (the Initiative) after voter approval. The ordinance mandates “green roofs” for all large new construction projects and designates rules for retrofitting qualifying existing buildings at time of roof replacement with new environmentally-friendly roofs.

Green roofs, according to the first version of the ordinance, consist of either rooftop green space or solar panels on a percentage of the roof space. At time of passing,  the Initiative was the most stringent green roof requirement in the United States and surpassed San Francisco’s “Better Roofs” mandate. It is one of the few mandates nationwide that require developers to install green roofs rather than offering incentives that encourage environmentally-responsible design. Advocates cited the benefits of green roofs - including a reduction in the urban heat island effect, lower heating and cooling costs - as key to a healthier, sustainable city.


Denver Bans “Slot Home” Design to Prioritize Human-Scale Development

Jul 24, 2018 10:30:00 AM

In May 2018, the Denver City Council voted to ban “slot homes” in an unanimous vote. The residential design is an unusual type of multi-family construction, most often featuring two separate structured situated around a narrow driveway, mews, or pedestrian walkway that forms the “slot.” 

Though the design bears a passing resemblance to courtyard apartment buildings such as the ones prevalent in Chicago, slot homes are constructed around much narrower space than courtyard buildings with entrances cut off from the street. Though they are prevalent throughout the City of Denver, they are most common in the West Colfax, Jefferson Park, Highland, Five Points, Sunnyside, Berkeley, and Cherry Creek neighborhoods. image via CARTA at CU Denver


What Does Denver’s Progressive New Green Roof Ordinance Require?

Nov 28, 2017 10:30:00 AM

On November 8th, voters in the City of Denver passed an ordinance mandating environmentally-friendly roofing for all large new construction as well as requiring that many existing buildings be retrofitted with these same “green roofs” - either rooftop gardens or solar panels - on a percentage of the roof.

Developed by the Denver Green Roof Initiative (the Initiative), the ordinance started as a grassroots movement and is now the most stringent rooftop requirement in the United States, surpassing San Francisco’s “Better Roofs.” While other cities, such as the City of Chicago, also have rooftop garden and green roof ordinances, these usually offer incentives to developers to add environmentally-friendly rooftop coverings and are not code requirements. 


Denver’s Development Strategies Focus on Sustainability, Population Growth

Sep 12, 2017 8:00:00 AM

As City of Denver’s metro-area population growth continues, the need for more housing with access to transportation and walkable amenities remains a priority. However, the City is also contending with planning for a sustainable and resilient city by avoiding sprawl due to population increase. Previously profiled in a recent urban planning overview, in this post, we’ll further examine some of the ways that the City of Denver is approaching these challenges and how strategic planning can benefit mid- and large-sized cities growing similarly across the country.

image credit: Aditya Chinchure


Changes to Denver’s Permit Processes Promote Efficiency

Jul 28, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Earlier this year, the City of Denver unveiled changes to their permitting processing within the City’s Community Planning and Development Department (CPDD) and Development Services Department (DSD). The updates affect commercial building permitting and expedite application submittals by combining some eligible Zoning and Building Code Reviews into a concurrent process. Detailed below, the City of Denver’s changes offer new procedures for obtaining necessary permits more quickly for projects of all complexities, sizes, and scopes.


Evolving Colorado Construction Defect Laws: Latest Critical Changes

Jul 6, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Colorado’s problematic construction defect laws have recently seen some important developments. It has been difficult to strike a balance between protecting the rights of homeowners and the interests of developers and other construction professionals. Stakeholders have been working over the last several years to reform Colorado’s construction defect laws, blamed for reducing the building of much-needed housing in the state. A new statutory amendment and recent court decision may ease some of the pressure felt by the construction industry.


Denver’s Arapahoe Square Zoning Changes Using Form-Based Zoning

Aug 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Denver City Council adopted in June of this year important zoning changes for Denver’s Arapahoe Square district directly north of the City’s downtown area. The zoning amendments are important because they will encourage growth in an area of Denver that needs to be revitalized. The Arapahoe Square rezoning is an excellent example of a newer model of urban planning called form-based zoning. We at Burnham thought we would take a closer look at the Arapahoe Square zoning changes.