As part of its larger campaign to reform the Fort Collins housing ordinance that prohibits more than three unrelated individuals from living under the same roof, student government will kick off a campus-wide letter writing campaign this morning.
The campaign, which targets the controversial ordinance commonly known as 3-unrelated or U+2, is designed to encourage City Council to consider changes to the ordinance proposed by the Associated Students of CSU earlier this month.
Students can check out packets that include an outline of ASCSU’s proposal, an example letter and all the other tools to start a small-scale letter writing campaign with nine friends. Letters must be turned in before Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
ASCSU Community Affairs Director Courtney Sullivan said that students have few limits on what they can write but are encouraged to include the main points of the proposal:
-Changing 3-unrelated to 4-unrelated
-extra-occupancy rental availability
-extending the correction time from 7 to 30 days, and
-increasing education and enforcement of other peace-keeping ordinances.
“We just want the letters to be somewhat consistent and reinforce the proposal made by ASCSU” Sullivan said.
In addition to individual student participation, ASCSU will reach out to student organizations on campus and ask them to run a “mini” letter writing campaign with their members.
Sullivan said ASCSU has a goal of 1,000 letters, and they hope to use this campaign as an outlet to prompt compromise and eventually find “common ground” between the city, the students and other city residents.
City Council Rep. Kelly Ohlson, D-5, said that he always encourages people to be as “politically involved as possible,” but said the council has done a lot of compromising in the past so he’ll have to wait and see what changes are proposed.
“There isn’t a single deciding factor, but hearing from the people – that’s always one of the factors,” he added.
An e-mail Student Voice Survey conducted by ASCSU in April canvassed 4,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students, and the results revealed that 3-unrelated enforcement has had a substantial impact on off-campus living costs for students.
In the survey, 54 percent of students said their rent has gone up since the city actually began to enforce the law after a 2007 reform. Thirty-three percent said they had to find dwelling in neighborhoods further from campus and 94 percent said they would live in violation of the ordinance because of the financial benefits.
City Council Rep. Wade Troxell, D-4, said he is “all for” neighborhood livability. He said students are “first class citizens of Fort Collins” and have been since the founding of Colorado Agricultural College in 1870, before Colorado became a state, so to blame all neighborhood problems on students is unrealistic.
“(3-unrelated) is an arbitrary rule that allows the city to regulate how many heads live under one roof,” Troxell said.
ASCSU Beat Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.