Improving Sustainable Development Standards

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Lakewood residents care about the development that occurs in their city, and staff is currently working with the Planning Commission and City Council to update and expand sustainable development standards so new development in the coming years reflects our community’s adopted Comprehensive Plan and Sustainability Plan goals.

The guiding principle for updating these standards is the expectation that upcoming new development should both minimize unwanted impacts on the community while also contributing its share to the collective effort to conserve our natural resources, minimize pollution, and support the community’s vision for a vibrant and sustainable city. The Planning Commission will make recommendations on the updates to City Council, which will have a public hearing when considering the updates.

This project page will help the community in the following ways:

  • Keep residents, businesses and community members informed about the proposed updates to the existing sustainable development standards in Article 13 of the Lakewood Zoning Code, which were originally adopted in 2019.
  • Provide a way for residents to provide feedback and stay updated about the process and meetings.

Review the proposed updates in the Project Information tab below. Also, track the public meetings in the column to the right.

The Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the proposed amendments to City Council on Jan. 5. View the draft documents and watch the recording on LakewoodSpeaks.org!

Lakewood residents care about the development that occurs in their city, and staff is currently working with the Planning Commission and City Council to update and expand sustainable development standards so new development in the coming years reflects our community’s adopted Comprehensive Plan and Sustainability Plan goals.

The guiding principle for updating these standards is the expectation that upcoming new development should both minimize unwanted impacts on the community while also contributing its share to the collective effort to conserve our natural resources, minimize pollution, and support the community’s vision for a vibrant and sustainable city. The Planning Commission will make recommendations on the updates to City Council, which will have a public hearing when considering the updates.

This project page will help the community in the following ways:

  • Keep residents, businesses and community members informed about the proposed updates to the existing sustainable development standards in Article 13 of the Lakewood Zoning Code, which were originally adopted in 2019.
  • Provide a way for residents to provide feedback and stay updated about the process and meetings.

Review the proposed updates in the Project Information tab below. Also, track the public meetings in the column to the right.

The Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the proposed amendments to City Council on Jan. 5. View the draft documents and watch the recording on LakewoodSpeaks.org!

  • Project Background

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    In 2015, the Lakewood community established a vision for a sustainably built environment in the adopted Comprehensive Plan and Sustainability Plan. To help implement that vision, several standards for new development have been adopted in recent years:

    • 2018 amendments to the Building Code
      • Solar-ready and electric vehicle-ready construction requirements
      • Construction and demolition waste recycling requirements
    • 2019 amendments to the Zoning Ordinance
      • Electric vehicle parking standards
      • Enhanced Development Menu

    Over the last two years, city staff has been tracking the impact and progress of the adopted standards and evaluating opportunities to improve them. Together with a recommendation from the Lakewood Advisory Commission and direction from City Council to explore additional requirements that reduce the impact of new development, these updates have been proposed as a holistic, more complete approach to achieve the community's goals for sustainable development.

  • Proposed Updates (Click here for expanded view)

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    The proposed updates build upon the existing sustainable design standards that City Council adopted in 2019. They will expand the scope of Article 13 of the Zoning Ordinance to create a holistic program for sustainable development throughout the city, including three key elements:

    • Enhanced Development Menu (EDM): Expand the existing EDM, a point-based menu of options intended to minimize impact and promote specific benefits that advance the city's adopted sustainability and community goals.
    • Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program (GHGMP): Create a new greenhouse gas mitigation program designed to ensure that new development aligns with the community's climate goals and commitments and prevents excess emissions. This builds upon the Lakewood Advisory Commission's report to City Council in early 2021 recommending a Renewable Energy Mitigation Program.
    • Construction & Demolition Waste Recycling (C&D): Add supplemental standards to reduce the volume of debris generated and sent to landfills and increase compliance with the city's existing construction and demolition waste recycling requirements.

    A fourth piece of the program, Benchmarking, is envisioned to be implemented at some point in the future to ensure ongoing long-term compliance of existing buildings with city emissions and conservation goals, but is not a part of the proposed updates at this time.

  • Enhanced Development Menu - Applicability & Points (Click here for expanded view)

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    The Enhanced Development Menu currently applies only to large-scale developments over 20,000 square feet in size. However, even smaller developments also have impacts to the surrounding area and add up over time as more and more small properties redevelop. The proposed updates to the EDM pertaining to the applicability and point requirements would ensure that the community receives benefits from development of all sizes, yet not impose a heavy burden on small-scale projects.

    • Expands applicability and updates the point structure to more accurately relate to the size of development.
      1. Single-family detached and attached homes would be exempt, except for new residential subdivisions requiring Major Site Plan review.
      2. There would be considerations for affordable housing by excluding the square footage of affordable units from the development size for the purposes of determining how many EDM points are required.
    • A new fee-in-lieu of compliance with the standard would be offered for required points over 50 at a rate of approximately $3,500-$4,000 per point. Final value is still being determined. The fees would be used to support projects advancing sustainability in the built environment through the Climate Protection & Sustainability Program.
    • New items added to the EDM options to allow for greater variety, flexibility, and ability to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Many of the new updates would help implement other city goals, such as enhanced streetscape design.

    EDM Applicability: Required: All new development over 2,500 sf Major remodels and additions of >20% of existing site Exceptions: Individual single-family and duplexes Affordable housing units (reduced points) Designated historic landmarks (reduced points)

  • Enhanced Development Menu - Menu Options (Click here for expanded view)

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    The Enhanced Development Menu (EDM) is designed to be flexible and context-specific, allowing for a wide variety of items to be implemented within a development site that promote city goals. Examples of these items range from using renewable energy sources to providing local food access and public art.

    The majority of existing menu options would remain:

    • Green Building Certification
    • Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting
    • Renewable Energy
    • Recycling & Compost
    • Outdoor Water Conservation
    • Urban Heat Island Reduction
    • Bike Amenities
    • EV Charging
    • Social Connection Amenities
    • On-site Food Production
    • Public Art


    New Menu Options: •	Building Electrification •	Provide full or partial electric space heating and cooling and fully electric water heaters to reduce usage of natural gas. •	Enhanced Streetscapes •	Provide enhanced design consistent with city planning efforts. Elements could include benches, trash cans, shelters, wayfinding, additional landscaping, etc. •	Universal Design •	Provide dwelling units designed to accommodate people of all ages and ability levels to make housing more inclusive and allow for aging in place. Examples of Universal Design elements include lever door handles, no-step entries, adjustable closet shelving, etc. •	Adaptive Reuse •	Integrate existing buildings into the plan for overall development of a site in such a way that they remain publicly visible. Bonus points for buildings over 50 years of age. •	Reclaimed & Recycled Materials •	Incorporate reclaimed and/or recycled materials into the public-facing building design (exterior façade, open space areas, and public interior areas such as a lobby). •	Deconstruction •	Remove existing buildings by deconstruction (methodically taking them apart in the reverse order as they were constructed) instead of demolition, and donate or recycle the resulting materials. •	Pollinator Habitat •	Provide a contiguous area of pollinator-friendly landscape design, including plantings which provide food and habitat, and Integrated Pest and Weed Management strategies. •	Low-Impact Development •	Integrate low-impact stormwater design principles into the hardscape and landscape design. May include features such as swales, permeable pavement, rain gardens, etc. •	Low-Carbon Concrete •	Use a certified low-carbon concrete product instead of traditional concrete.



  • Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program (Click here for expanded view)

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    The new proposed Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program (GHGMP) evolved from the Lakewood Advisory Commission's Renewable Energy Mitigation Program recommendations to City Council in early 2021, and it is intended to ensure upcoming new development aligns with the city's air quality and pollution commitments. The program consists of a performance standard (maximum allowed emissions), mitigation opportunities to reduce a proposed project's estimated emissions, and a fee-in-lieu of compliance option where the estimated emissions exceed the performance standard.

    The proposed updates to the Zoning Ordinance to establish the GHGMP would include:

    • Broad applicability to all new construction of single-family and multi-family residential developments, and non-residential construction, as well as major alterations/additions requiring Major Site Plan review for multi-family and non-residential developments.
      • This would not apply to alterations or additions to existing single-family dwelling units, such as room additions, detached garages, accessory dwelling units, or basement finishes.

    Proposed Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program Applicability. New construction: no minimum size threshold. Suburban house outline, single family: Checkmark yes. Large building outline, multi-family: checkmark yes. store outline, non-residential: checkmark yes. Major Remodels and additions greater than 20% of existing: suburban house outline, single family: X mark no. large building outline, multi-family: checkmark yes. store outline, non-residential: checkmark yes.

    • A performance standard for greenhouse gas emissions to align new development with the community’s climate goals and commitments.
      • The performance standard for residential developments would be calculated based on the target emissions per person, while the performance standard for non-residential and commercial developments would be calculated based on the target emissions per square foot.

    The Performance Standard for residential developments is calculated based on the target emissions per person, while the Performance Standard for non-residential and commercial developments is calculated based on the target emissions per square foot.

    • A methodology to calculate estimated CO2 emissions for a proposed development using publicly available and credible data sources, including Denver Regional Council of Governments, Xcel Energy, Environmental Insights Explorer, the Energy Information Administration, and the city's 2018 GHG inventory.
      • Estimates for residential developments would include emissions from energy, transportation and waste, while estimates for non-residential developments would be based on emissions from energy and waste.

    Residential projected emissions are based on: Energy – annual typical Energy Use Intensity (EUI) per square foot for the type of development being proposed (single-family detached, townhome, multi-family, etc.) Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Xcel utility data from Jefferson County Waste – annual waste emissions per person Source: 2018 Lakewood Greenhouse Gas Inventory Transportation – annual average Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) per person for Lakewood Source: DRCOG Travel Model Non-Residential projected emissions are based on: Energy – annual typical Energy Use Intensity (EUI) per square foot for the type of development being proposed (office, restaurant, retail, etc.) Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA) and/or Xcel utility data from Jefferson County Waste – annual waste emissions per square foot Source: 2018 Lakewood Greenhouse Gas Inventory

    • Opportunities to mitigate emissions exceeding the performance standard, including but not limited to, incorporating renewable energy for electricity and space conditioning needs, improving building efficiency, installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and providing waste diversion services.
      • Many mitigation opportunities would overlap with the Enhanced Development Menu and could count toward both programs, creating a further incentive for sustainable development.
    • A fee-in-lieu of compliance for any emissions above the performance standard that have not been addressed through approved mitigation measures. The amount of the fee would follow state and federal guidance for the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC), currently $76 per metric ton of CO2 emissions. The fees would be used to support projects reducing communitywide emissions through the Climate Protection & Sustainability Program.
  • Construction & Demolition Waste Recycling

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    The proposed Construction & Demolition Waste Recycling Supplemental Standards are intended to increase compliance with the existing requirements in the building code. There is no proposed change to the existing standards in the building code, which apply to all demolition projects and all construction projects greater than 2,500 square feet. The standards require recycling of concrete, asphalt, metal, untreated wood, cardboard, and interior fixtures/salvageable items. The proposed supplemental standards would include:

    • Ability to collect a deposit on any project required to comply with construction and demolition standards in the building code.
    • Requirements for a comprehensive waste management plan (CWMP) and ongoing material tracking for projects to be reviewed under the EDM. Specific requirements of the CWMP would include:
      • Designating a single on-site waste manager.
      • Projecting types and volumes of waste materials likely generated.
      • Identifying haulers and disposal and recycling facilities for all materials hauled from the site.
      • Planning for on-site waste stream separation.
      • Training plan for employees and subcontractors.
      • Final reporting requirements including material specific waste receipts.
    • A deposit to be paid prior to issuance of building or demolition permit in the amount of $1 per square foot (minimum $2,500 – maximum $100,000).
      • Deposits to be refunded in full upon successful compliance with waste management plan and reporting requirements.
      • Deposits to be partially refunded or forfeited for non-compliance with waste management plan or incomplete reporting.
Page last updated: 26 January 2022, 11:28