Oct 202009
Authors: Kirsten Silveira, Madeline Novey

Though student government garnered more student support for reform of Fort Collins’ occupancy ordinance than anticipated –/in total, more than 3,000 students — a campaign leader said that officials do not expect the City Council to change the law accordingly./

Courtney Sullivan, director of the Associated Students of CSU’s Community Affairs Department and a leader of the reform campaign, said she anticipates changes decided in the City Council’s two-year comprehensive review of the law next week would likely be to the definition of family rather than expanding U+2 to U+3, a change ASCSU had proposed. /

“How am I feeling about how it will go next Tuesday? I think something will come out of it, but this certainly is not the end of it,”/Sullivan said./

ASCSU will take a position in response to any changes made by the council in its review next Tuesday, Sullivan said, adding that her department would continue to push for change to the heavily debated ordinance that prevents more than three unrelated people from living in one residence./

“Honestly, if nothing comes out of next week, our fight against 3-Unrelated won’t end there,” she said. “This isn’t the end-all be-all.”/

About 10 members of Community Affairs, led by Assistant Director Shaun Reed, went before the City Council in its meeting Tuesday night bearing more 1290 letters and 1857 signatures from students endorsing change to U+2. /

Sullivan said City Council members, who in the past told ASCSU that students need to be more engaged in city politics, have likely never seen such student support./

“They’ve never experienced anything like this before. They can’t ignore the fact that almost 3000 people had voiced their opinion,” she said./

Participation in ASCSU’s Tuesday rally that encouraged students to demand U+2 reform was higher than expected – surpassing 250 students./ /

ASCSU started its campaign last month with the release of a proposal suggesting the City Council make changes to the ordinance, which include:

Changing the rule to 4-Unrelated,

Increasing extra-occupancy availability, and

Increasing education and enforcement of other peace-keeping ordinances.

The Community Affairs Department started the letter-writing portion of its campaign last month. Students were asked drop off letters to City Council members or to check out packets and run a smaller scale campaign with friends. /

In addition to writing a letter, students were encouraged to sign a petition supporting reform to 3-Unrelated./

Next week’s/comprehensive review includes consideration of a report done by the Denver-based company Corona Insights. When it was released in August, the report’s findings showed a decrease in neighborhood problems since the city began to enforce 3-Unrelated in 2006 but could not prove the improvements linkage to the ordinance./

Former Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez said the Corona report supplies no evidence that the number of residents has any effect on neighborhood livability — the key factor is the behavior of those residents./

“The city and City Council should pay closer attention to what their consultants tell them,” Martinez said. /

Tadar Puakpaibool, a junior journalism major and rally attendee, said 3-Unrelated specifically discriminates against college students but added he can understand why neighbors are concerned with the maintenance of property value./

“In order to make Fort Collins a great community and an equal community, compromise is necessary. From the ’60s to now, there has been a population increase and a student body increase — there just has to be change,” Puakpaibool said. /

Another rally attendee Danielle Bousselaire, a freshman undeclared major, said the ordinance should not be reformed because having more than three people living in a house is grounds for potential problems with rent and behavior. She said three is a reasonable number to avoid these issues./

Martinez, who signed ASCSU’s petition, said no ordinance that targets a specific group in Fort Collins should be created and said that each individual should have the freedom to live where he or she pleases without being “hampered” by government regulation./

“This is supposed to be a city of choices – a city that gives choices, not takes them away,” Martinez said. /”(The city) has no business separating or segregating parts of the community.”//

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey and Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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