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Brandon Rietheimer, campaign manager for Denver's Initiated Ordinance 300, stands in the rooftop garden at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center on March 3. Initiative 300 aims to reduce Denver’s urban “heat island” effect by requiring the roofs of large new buildings to incorporate rooftop gardens or solar panels.
RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file
Brandon Rietheimer, campaign manager for Denver’s Initiated Ordinance 300, stands in the rooftop garden at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center on March 3. Initiative 300 aims to reduce Denver’s urban “heat island” effect by requiring the roofs of large new buildings to incorporate rooftop gardens or solar panels.
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We’re big fans of trees here on the Denver Post editorial board, but we’re asking voters to reject Initiated Ordinance 300, which would force owners of many buildings to install rooftop gardens or solar panels. Residents should thank environmental activists for raising awareness to the usefulness of gardens atop buildings, but they should reject this misguided overreach.

The activists placed the measure on this year’s ballot through a petition campaign. City officials aren’t responsible for the request, and Mayor Michael Hancock — a big friend of the environment — rightly stands against the measure.

Should Initiative 300 pass, new buildings of 25,000 square feet or more would have to install rooftop gardens or solar panels, and any existing building of that size would be required to have them when renovating or expanding. Commercial and real estate experts say the added cost would raise rates for occupants.

Should the measure pass, Denver’s rule on the matter would be one of the strongest in the nation.

The intention is to help reduce the real problem of Denver’s “heat island” effect, caused by lots of pavement and abundant sunshine. We argue that building owners should be allowed to decide for themselves, and that the city’s ongoing efforts to increase its urban canopy continue apace.

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