Student government will host a rally today as one of its final pushes in its campaign to reform the city’s occupancy ordinance before City Council’s two-year comprehensive review next week.
The rally will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Lory Student Center Plaza and give students a final opportunity to endorse the campaign, write letters to city council members expressing their views of the ordinance, which prohibits more than three unrelated people living in the same residence, and ask for the changes outlined in the Associated Students of CSU’s proposal that was released last month.
These changes included:
Changing 3-unrelated to 4-unrelated,
Extra-occupancy rental availability, and
Increasing education and enforcement of other peace-keeping ordinances.
The proposal originally included changing the correction time from seven to 30 days, but the change was made administratively last month.
Alliy Barrell, associate director of Community Affairs, organized the event and said that the department tried to focus on fun ways to get students involved. Participants will make T-shirts and rally signs to show their support of ordinance reform.
“We’re trying to make it as rally-like as possible,” Barrell said.
ASCSU members will be facilitating the rally and collecting the submission of letter-writing packets and endorsement packets that were checked out to students at the beginning of the organization’s letter-writing campaign last month.
Barrel said the department has already received 1,503 signatures supporting ordinance reform and expect to receive 25 more endorsement packets tomorrow – 1,500 more signatures – in addition to the signatures it expects to gather during the event.
“We’re going to try and push the letter writing and endorsements pretty hard (today),” Barrell said.
Former Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez will be attending the rally and said that his job will be to act as an advice giver – helping students find more efficient ways to have their voices heard by City Council – and an advocate for student involvement in government affairs.
“Students are the bread and butter of the community/economically,” Martinez said, later adding, “Students should fill the City Council chambers” whenever a city issue affects them.
City Council members, including City Council Rep. Kelly Ohlson, D-5, encourage students to get involved in debate surrounding the reform of the highly controversial ordinance according to previous Collegian reporting.
However, most council members support the ordinance as written because it helps maintain the character of the city’s single-family neighborhoods, decreases the number of noise complaints and minimizes parking violations.
Martinez said 3-Unrelated raises rent rates and essentially forces the students to break the law. If four or five people – like nuns or priests – were to live in the same household, nobody would complain, he said.
“I think what the ordinance does is technically, legally correct. But from a human standpoint, it paints an ugly picture of segregation, which was outlawed in the 60’s,” he said.
“(The ordinance) uses the arm of the private industry to separate students through the arm of the government.”
Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.