Students met with incumbent Fort Collins city council members in the Lory Student Center Thursday night to discuss current student concerns, many of which focused around the maintenance of the city’s economic health.
Each of the council members present, except for District 4 representative Wade Troxell, is up for re-election in this April’s city elections. None came to the event with prepared remarks or speeches, and each sat down individually with a group of five to 10 CSU students.
Ben Manvel, the council member representative from District 1, said Fort Collins economics are “very lucky,” citing CSU, the Poudre Valley Hospital and local breweries as solid employers that help Fort Collins residents retain jobs.
Additionally, Mayor Doug Hutchinson and Troxell lauded the Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, a co-operative effort between CSU researchers and local businesses to develop and implement clean energy technologies as a project that would attract “green collar” jobs to the city.
Hutchinson also said that the Mason Corridor project, which would provide a rapid transit bus system along Mason Street from Laporte Avenue to Harmony Road, would be a contributor to the economic health.
President Barack Obama’s signing of the $410 billion dollar omnibus spending bill Wednesday provided the city with $12 million for the project, Manvel said.
“Mason Corridor is as in the bag as anything can be,” Hutchinson said.
Students also asked council members to explain their standings on the three-unrelated, or U+2 ordinance, which says that no more than three non-family members can live in the same home.
Troxell was the only council member present who opposed the ordinance.
“I think it’s a bad policy, and I think it’s been implemented in a horrific fashion,” Troxel said.
He said the issues that U+2 intended to solve, such as noise and parking problems, should be addressed on their own rather than by imposing a housing ordinance.
Kelly Ohlson, District 5 representative, said the issue was a complex one and that he stood behind the ordinance but was willing to review it.
“We’re going to do our best to be fair to students and non-students,” Ohlson said.
Council members said that they were happy to work with the university and that they considered the relationship to be a healthy one.
Council members David Roy, Lisa Poppaw and Diggs Brown were unable to attend. City Manager Darin Atteberry came to speak in place of Roy.
The event, hosted by Associated Students of CSU, was the second annual city council round table.
“We need to bring council to campus and have a student dialogue,” said Katie Freudenthal, ASCSU director of community affairs. “It’s vital that students are in tune with the city.”
City council elections beat writer Matt Minich can be reached at email@example.com.