Solve all complaints with one phone call – well, almost.
In April of 2003 the city of Fort Collins introduced the
Nuisance Hotline, 416-2200, a number where any citizen can call to
voice a concern within his or her neighborhood.
According to Fort Collins Neighborhood News’ spring 2004
edition, from March 17 to May 1 the city “increased police patrols
for party calls on Friday and Saturday nights.” These additions are
designed to better enforce the Public Nuisance Ordinance that
threatens more punishment to chronic neighborhood annoyances.
“There used to be no real consequence other than court fines for
complaints and nothing to make the landlord step up and change
anything,” said Ginny Sawyer, neighborhood administrator in the
Neighborhood Resources Office for the city of Fort Collins. “I
think the Public Nuisance Ordinance is good because it holds any
tenant and landlord accountable.”
With the Public Nuisance Ordnance, residents are issued tickets
for every complaint they receive and after three tickets the city
can put a lean on the property and eventually seize it. Many
complaints received by the city and the Nuisance Hotline center
around noise and parties.
However, some students feel that anyone who chooses to live in a
college town makes a choice to be surrounded by a loud
“It’s a college town, there are always going to be parties,”
said David Hager, a sophomore chemistry major. “People should try
to talk to the kids first then if they don’t listen the police
should become involved.”
Hager and his roommates had to sit down and have a meeting with
their own landlord after receiving two noise violations, one from a
neighbor and one from a cop who was passing by.
“I think if we would have gotten another ticket right away we
probably would have been evicted,” Hager said. “But our first
violation there were only like eight people over so it was kind of
Melanie Clark, administrative clerk 1 for the city of Fort
Collins, has answered nuisance complaints since the hotline’s
“I think it’s helpful for the community and most of the calls
that we receive are enforceable calls,” Clark said. “Barking dogs
and noise complaints seem to be the most common calls.”
The Nuisance Hotline makes an effort to advertise one number
where anyone with a problem within the city can call. Then workers
will deal with the complaint and the appropriate agencies. However,
there are some calls that are better left to the police.
“For parties and noise complaints people need to call the police
while it is going on,” Clark said. “Illegal parking, abandoned
vehicles and criminal complaints are also calls that will involve
In 2003, 60 residences received one ticket, 17 received a second
and two received third violations. For Sawyer this is proof of
success for the Public Nuisance Ordinance and the Nuisance
“I think the numbers show that people have taken things more
seriously since so few have received third and final tickets,”