In a last-ditch effort to sway city officials, student government officials showed up at Tuesday’s City Council meeting with about 3,000 letters and signed endorsements and the intent to create a spectacle over the city’s controversial housing ordinance.
Students lined the back of the City Hall Council chambers holding armfuls of letters opposing the law or endorsing the Associated Students of CSU’s proposed changes to the ordinance commonly known as U+2, or 3-unrelated, as the City Council heard the final round of public comment before it will make the final decision on the ordinance’s future in a comprehensive review next Tuesday.
The ordinance limits occupancy of homes in Fort Collinsto three unrelated persons and has been opposed by CSU students since the city began enforcement in 2006.
Shaun Reed, the assistant director of Community Affairs for ASCSU, gave a brief presentation outlining student government’s proposals for changes to the ordinance, which include changing city zoning to allow for more homes that are not affected by the ordinance and expanding the ordinance to allow four unrelated persons to share a single house.
The masses of letters –/1,290 letters and 1,857 individual endorsements — compiled by students and community members alike, were originally intended to be deposited directly on the City Council members’ desks as a display of public opposition of the ordinance.
The spectacle was planned “so that people are witness to how much effort (students) have put in and how much input (the council) has from students,” Reed said.
Rather than delivering the letters to City Council members, however, the students were led to a back room by city manager Darrin Atteberry to deposit them.
Speaking before Reed, community members giving public comment about the ordinance opposed any changes.
“Properties that have four or more people in them have degraded the neighborhoods,” said Sally Lee, a local realtor.
“It would seem prudent to let the let the laws continue to work as they have,” said Chris Hardy, a director on the Fort Collins Board of Realtors.
Senior Reporter Matt Minich can be reached at email@example.com.