Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Zoning code rewrite pits trees against solar panels and gardens, private property against developers; Denver, CO

Welcome to the Washington Park Profile – one of Denver's finest newspapers - “Sustainability” Still Undefined, Elusive In New Zoning Code:
Another potential solar problem area that has traditionally been looked at as an untouchable environmental imperative – our city’s tree canopy – concerns DuVivier, as well. “Several states have trees as a hot button issue,” she said. “Some have restrictions on trees that might block solar panels. I know we want more trees for oxygen, but it’s about having the right trees in the right place. Not every tree is equal. We want to encourage species that provide shade and oxygen but allow the sun to get to solar panels and gardens.”
In addition to going farther to preserve solar access, 3PA’s McFadden would like to see Denver pay more attention to other issues including a broader allowance for backyard husbandry (chickens, goats, etc.), vertical gardening (indoor gardening in high-rise structures) and reducing rainwater runoff from residential lots through rainwater catchment (which is quite dicey due to traditional water laws that forbid such diversion of the gold that falls from the sky – although Colorado State Senate bill SB09-080, signed by Gov. Ritter last April, allows some rural residents with exempt wells not administered under the state’s traditional priority water rights system to begin capturing rainwater from their rooftops), rooftop gardens and other techniques for diverting the liquid gold to onsite needs rather than down the gutter to the storm drain, to the rivers."

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