Feb 042009
Authors: Shelley Woll

Student government leaders told a City Council member Wednesday that students feel “disenfranchised” by the city’s recent postponement of a re-evaluation of the city rule that restricts more than three unrelated people from living in the same house.

Kelly Ohlson, speaking to the Associated Students of CSU, was bombarded with questions from disgruntled students, who say the law discriminates against students.

Katie Fruedenthal, the director of community affairs at ASCSU, said the city needs to take a new direction for its zoning practices, which leave houses where students can gain more than two roommates few and far between.

City zoning allows landlords in certain areas to obtain boarding permits that let them bring more than three unrelated residents into a home, but Freudenthal said most areas zoned for boarding don’t have student rentals.

Ohlson said City Council has to please all constituencies, including Fort Collins residents, adding that student-rich areas are prone to disintegrating real estate values, adding difficulty to increasing the number of boarding zones.

“People have expectations of the neighborhoods they move into, and justifiably so,” Ohlson said to the senate. “To many families their (land holdings) are the most valuable things they own, and it’s frustrating to see [their value] decreased by neighborhood depreciation.”

Ohlson said he was “in the center of a hurricane” on the issue, suggesting that in fifteen years from now, 90 percent of current students would have homes of their own and a different opinion on the issue.

“There’s no silver bullet,” Ohlson said, but added City Council is open to pursuing a middle ground, conceding, “I’m going to work towards better zoning.”

ASCSU President Taylor Smoot questioned the necessity of the ordinance, saying “students feel very disenfranchised” by the city council’s stance on the ordinance.

Gearing up for the upcoming April 7 city election, Ohlson said he would fight to protect students’ rights by trying to rezone student districts, working on better public transportation, providing more affordable health care and decriminalizing noise ordinances.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Shelley Woll can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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