Sep 022009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

In an attempt to reform a controversial city ordinance that allows only three unrelated people to live in a residence in Fort Collins, student government voted unanimously Wednesday to propose changes to a slew of stipulations in the rule.

The proposal, which was released to the Collegian earlier Wednesday, aims to make the measure, called U + 2 or 3-Unrelated, more student-friendly, as student advocates say it unfairly targets students and inhibits their ability to find safe, affordable housing within a reasonable distance of campus.

Major proposed changes include increasing the occupancy limit to four unrelated tenants, making extra occupancy rentals more accessible, extending the time limit allowed for violators to relocate and increasing education and enforcement of other peacekeeping ordinances.

The rule was implemented in the late 1960s after Fort Collins community members called for an umbrella policy that would quell complaints of parking violations and excessive noise.

In the spring, City Council voted to tighten the leash on enforcing the rule by implementing an immediate fine policy. Before then, violators were given a warning period before they were required to comply.

“It needs to be re-examined, and changes need to be made so the ordinance is not one-size-fits-all,” said Wade Troxell, the City Council representative for the campus district and a professor of engineering at CSU.

Troxell said the law is ineffective and has a number of adverse effects on the CSU community, including driving up the price of rent and reducing the availability of affordable housing.

“The U + 2 is a keyissue for students,” he said. “They are first-class citizens in Fort Collins.”

Other City Council members, including prominent 3-Unrelated advocate Kelly Ohlson, could not be reached for comment on the student government proposal.

The “working document,” written by Associated Students of CSU Senate members Whitney Ruffin and David Ambrose, is intended to address the housing issues students face while still allowing the law to help maintain a harmony between the students and permanent residents of Fort Collins.

Matt Strauch, the chief spokesperson for ASCSU, said the new proposal breaks with past administrations’ efforts because, rather than calling for a full repeal of the law, the current administration is “working toward compromise.”

Courtney Sullivan, the community affairs director for ASCSU, said her team has followed 3-Unrelated closely over the last year, and members have taken opinions from both sides of the issue.

“I don’t think it’s an anti-student ordinance,” Sullivan said in an interview with the Collegian. “I think it was proposed with the intention to solve problems within neighborhoods, and it’s just not doing that.”

However, David Crosson, a senior history major, said the ordinance “punishes students for being students,” and said compromise doesn’t go far enough.

“ASCSU rolled over and took it when it was first proposed,” Crosson said. “I think (ASCSU) should stand against this. It creates friction for students.”

Staff writer Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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