Opposition to Denver Green Roof Initiative Has Geared Up With a Big Fundraising Advantage

Campaign for $937 million Denver bond package raises nearly $700,000 more as it begins airing TV ad

Building and real estate interests seeking to defeat Denver’s Green Roof Initiative have quickly built up a 6-to-1 fundraising advantage over supporters of the grassroots ballot measure.

The initiative, which was certified for the ballot early last month as Initiated Ordinance 300, would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet to have gardens, solar panels or other “green roof” components. They would have to cover at least 20 percent of their roofs’ surface, depending on a building’s size, and the requirement also could be triggered by roof replacements on existing buildings.

On Sept. 18, members of the Colorado Real Estate Alliance filed paperwork forming an opposition committee called Citizens for a Responsible Denver. It aims to defeat the ballot measure by portraying it through mailers and  door-to-door canvassing as “a foolish mandate” that would drive up building costs, making the Denver market more expensive.

The committee’s first campaign finance report, filed Thursday, shows it has raised $41,500 from four donors — with $30,000 coming from the Issues Mobilization Committee, which shares an Englewood address with the Colorado Association of Realtors.

That compares to just $6,421.34 raised so far by the Green Roof Initiative committee. It raised that amount over several months, including $3,445 in September — with nearly all of it coming from small-dollar donations.

The initiative is spearheaded by a group of environmental activists that includes Denver resident Brandon Rietheimer. They argue that the requirement for green roof components would help reduce the urban “heat island” effect.

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