Oct 272009
Authors: Matt Minich

The housing ordinance that has prevented residents from living in homes with more than three people since 2007 will continue to restrict Fort Collins renters in years to come.

In an anticlimactic finale to years of heated community debate, Fort Collins City Council decided Tuesday night that it was largely satisfied with the implementation of the city’s occupancy ordinance as it stands.

The ordinance, commonly known as U+2 or 3-Unrelated, mandates that no more than three unrelated persons share a home in Fort Collins. The City Council finalized its comprehensive two-year review of U+2 Tuesday, leaving the law largely unchanged.

Council members flatly rejected a proposal to allow for the creation of a new zoning category for fraternity or sorority lodges that would allow up to six students to share a single residence.

The proposal was “one of the most ridiculous proposals I’ve seen since I’ve been on the council,” said Rep. Kelly Ohlson, District 5, who said he had been unaware of the proposal before the agenda was released last week.

“This (proposal) needs to die a quick death.”

The council did agree to consider a zoning consideration first introduced by city government, which would allow for Extra Occupancy Rental Housing — homes not controlled by the ordinance — in two of the city’s housing zones. The proposed changes would affect housing on the southern and eastern ends of CSU’s campus.

Council members were split on the idea of allowing for the EORH homes in the neighborhoods, but enough expressed interest for it to be placed on the council agenda at some point in the future.

The council also agreed to discuss changing the wording of the ordinance to avoid what Mayor Doug Hutchinson called “unintended consequences,” such as making it difficult for families to have extended house guests.

Council members will examine a system that would allow residents to apply for a permit to house non-rent paying guests such as ministry workers, foreign exchange students or athletes.

Any consideration of the changes will not take place until city officials have compiled information on these topics for the council, a topic that could put the discussion months into the future, said Neighborhood Services Manager Beth Sowder.

City Manager Darrin Atteberry agreed to provide the council with information from a 2005 meeting regarding rental registration and licensing, a topic that was discussed at the meeting Tuesday.

Senior Reporter Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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