May 042009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Fort Collins City Council will discuss tonight changes that could potentially strengthen the city ordinance preventing more than three unrelated people from living together.

Student government leaders and select council members said they were upset that the meeting — in which City Council will review an amendment to the Three Unrelated ordinance that would allow a landlord to issue a citation without a warning — was rescheduled during the week before finals, a time they anticipate little student participation.

“I think that it’s very unfortunate that not only they are doing it during it during finals week, but that students haven’t been able to give adequate input yet,” said Aislinn Kottwitz, city council member for District 3. “I think it is imperative (the students’) voice is heard.”

The amendment would “authorize enforcement staff to serve civil citations on violators of the occupancy limit regulation without first serving a notice of violation,” according to the executive ordinance summary.

Up for discussion are two possible changes to the citation process: one that would apply only to those individuals who had previously received a warning for a violation and the other, which would apply to all individuals in violation.

Under the latter change, a citation may be issued to any person in violation without previous warning.

Current provisions require that staff serve a notice of violation to allow the party seven days to correct the violation before the City can issue a citation.

Avid student opponents of the ordinance, commonly known as U+2, said it was odd City Council is discussing changes to the ordinance as it is up for full review in August and October.

“In my mind I feel the council is putting the horse before the cart, doing small revisions beforehand,” said Katie Freudenthal, director of Community Affairs for the Associated Students of CSU.

One City Council member said the amendment comes in response to a number of cases in which there are “people who are intentionally scoffing at the law.” Ben Manvel, District 1 City Councilman, said he did not know whether or not the number of these specific cases had increased as of late.

“I think the impetus is mostly from staff as they implement the law,” Manvel said of a change that he said is aimed at making the law “the most effective.”

He said the overarching ordinance is aimed to “keep the neighborhoods, neighborhoods” but encouraged students to attend the meeting tonight and consider the discussions among City Council members.

While Kottwitz wants to review the potential changes further, she said, “I have a lot of difficulty with U+2 as it is, so generally speaking I’m opposed to what they are proposing.”

The amendment will go through a first reading tonight and according to the executive summary available on the City Council Web site, the “staff recommends adoption of the Ordinance on First Reading.”

While it is possible, Kottwitz said this scenario is unlikely and that the ordinance will probably go to a Second Reading.

There is a time scheduled in the meeting for citizen input during which members of ASCSU will address the council with concerns and suggestions. Freudenthal encouraged all students and community members to attend.

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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