Apr 192004
Authors: Jesse McLain

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

the police.”

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,”

Sawyer said.

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