May 052004
Authors: Danny Byers

The historical struggle in Fort Collins between college

students, notorious for having effervescent social gatherings long

through the night, and non-student residents, who prefer a calmer,

quieter atmosphere, was recently epitomized when four CSU students

living together received the dubious record in Fort Collins for the

most citations from the police.

“We have eight tickets, which is the record,” said James Purvis,

CSU student and tenant of the house that has been red-flagged by

the city. “We’ve been labeled a public nuisance twice, two times


Derek Breier, the Associated Students of CSU’s director of

community affairs, said Fort Collins has red-flagged zones, one of

which is the grid centered near Prospect Road and Constitution

Avenue. This is where Purvis resides.

Purvis said when he and his three roommates had their last

offense (two outstanding noise violation tickets in one night), the

police officers told them that they held the record for most


The four tenants have collectively paid more than $2,000 in

fines from their citations, an amount that has been incredibly

difficult to amass, Purvis said.

“They better chill out now, or have a grand a pop,” said Breier,

adding that the Fort Collins judge just deemed that the court can

now slap a $1,000 fine on first offenses, whereas in the past it

was a stair-stepped system of incremental fines.

“My belief is the city is using it as a scare tactic for

students. It might work, but I don’t think that it’s the way to do

it,” said Breier, who communicates student positions to City

Council on these types of issues.

With so many outstanding citations, Purvis and his roommates

expectedly ran into even more legal complications.

“The city called me and said that they were going to start an

action to evict us,” Purvis said. “But I worked with them and since

we’re all leaving in a few months, they said they’ll let us


The police have been called to the house more than 20 times and

the majority of the time they simply say to turn down the music and

quiet everybody, Purvis said.

“We’ve had some cops that recognize us when they come over,” he

said, adding that they usually appreciate how cooperative they are

but that two officers were rather “pissed” when they saw that the

tenant’s first public-nuisance ticket was hung up on the wall.

“They were upset that we were promoting it,” Purvis said. “But

we are kind of proud in a way, especially now, just because we

broke the city record.”

One reason the city believes cases such as this occur and why

the Prospect and Constitution grid has such high complaints is

because many college students are breaking the three-unrelated

persons rule, Breier said. This ordinance makes it illegal for more

than three unrelated people to live in the same household, but

Breier said he thinks the rule is useless.

“On a busy day, you could throw a rock out on the student Plaza

and four out of five people you hit are violating the rule. It’s

not like students are trying to break the law, but it’s how we

afford living,” he said.

Purvis attributed a different reason for his house’s outstanding

record and problems within the community. He said his house is an

example of the fact that Fort Collins is a college town and not a

retirement party, which some unrelenting neighbors refuse to

accept. This results in older residents with an

unnecessary-but-genuine distaste for college students and call the

police on them habitually.

“These guys hate us,” he said. “One neighbor, Paul, said that he

thinks we have a whorehouse because he sees women coming in all the

time, but those are our girlfriends that come over and stay with


Purvis said one particular neighbor, Victor Smith, makes

cohabitation within the community extremely difficult.

“I talked to Vic in the beginning and he basically said that he

will have zero tolerance,” Purvis said.

Smith, who lives directly across from Purvis’ house, has lived

there for 22 years and said people will have parties around the

block, but only in moderation, and that Purvis’ house makes a

tendency of it.

“People get loud routinely in the middle of the night and it

bothers everybody,” Smith said. “The noise level can be really loud

up until 3 at night.”

Smith said he owns rental property and that he rents to students

and tries to be flexible. He lets them know what they can do to be

good neighbors and that he doesn’t dislike living near college

students, but he wishes that the communication was more clear.

Purvis said he and his roommates never intended to disturb their

neighbors or the community, but sometimes “a night starts off with

a 30-pack and turns into four kegs.” They try to cooperate and let

the neighbors know they are being responsible.

Purvis said he and his roommates will be leaving and all hope

that their next location has a better situation where they can

maintain a pleasant relationship with their neighbors without

compromising their youthful magic moments.

“Hopefully we won’t get tickets any more,” he said.

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