The 3-Unrelated, or U + 2, ordinance that prevents more than three unrelated people from living together still remains a concern to students and Fort Collins community members as the City Council prepares to vote next month on two changes that could further tighten the law.
Felix Lee, director of Neighborhood and Building Services, and Mike Gebo, Deputy Building official, spoke to the Associated Students of CSU during its weekly Senate meeting to explain the housing code revisions that could change the definition of a family and allow the city to issue immediate citations rather than give a warning.
Gebo said that the intention is to “make it an effective ordinance” and that it is “the repeat offenders (the city) is trying to correct.” He went on to say that the goal of U + 2 is to “establish and maintain single family neighborhoods.”
In accordance with this sentiment, the city of Fort Collins’ Web site said U + 2 was originally created in order to “ensure the health and safety of residents.”
Currently, if a citation is issued for a violation of the occupancy limit, residents may be fined up to $1,000 for each person. Gebo said, however, citations were rarely issued once the situation was corrected.
In addition to the power to issue immediate citations, the council will vote on a change to the definition of “family.”
Currently, Neighborhood Services of the Fort Collins Government states that the limit for any dwelling unit is “one family . and not more than one additional person” or “two adults and their dependents, if any, and not more than one additional person.”
The City Staff will propose a change to “family” which will be “exclusively either, a family in which all members are related plus one additional person; or, a family is exclusively two unrelated adults and their dependants plus one additional person.”
After it was established two years ago, U + 2 has been met with controversy from some in the student population and many have argued that the ordinance is anti-student, limiting student’s housing options.
Katie Freudenthal, director of Community Affairs at ASCSU, has been a key opponent against the ordinance. She claims that U + 2 “pits neighbors against students” forcing community members to act as “watchtowers” against students for violating the law.
“95 percent of cases have been against CSU students,” Freudenthal said.
As a solution, Freudenthal suggested a “University Zone,” which would be an area around the university that would be zoned differently to accommodate increased occupancy.
She also recommended that students attend the City Council meeting Feb. 3 and air their concerns, which was a sentiment shared by Lee, who said that the council’s decision “depends on who shows at the meeting and what they have to say.”
Many on campus feel that the U + 2 law is unfair to college students.
Garret Gillespie, a junior open-option seeking computer science major, asked, “How is the average college student supposed to afford a semi-decent house without splitting rent with more than two other people?”
Another student, Matt Jennings, a sophomore chemical engineering major, questioned the equality of these laws, saying, “As long as the rent gets paid, and they’re not making too much noise, it should be fair game.”
The City Council will meet on Feb. 3 at 300 Laporte Ave., where they will vote on the new measures, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Staff writer Stephen Lin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.