Apr 122010
Authors: Darin Atteberry, Fort Collins City Manager

Your first off-campus house is like your first car; you’ll always have fond memories. I remember what it was like to finally have a place that felt like my own. My own kitchen, my own room, my own schedule.

What I didn’t expect was the increased responsibility. All of a sudden somebody needed to mow the lawn, somebody needed to put out the trash, somebody needed to make sure the dog wasn’t barking all day and night. To my surprise, that somebody turned out to be me.

The City of Fort Collins and CSU’s Community Liaison program works to make sure you’re not caught off guard, as I was. We want you to be prepared for living off campus and all the responsibility that comes with it. Being aware of city codes, neighborhood expectations and your rights as a renter will help make your transition to off-campus living easier and it will make for better neighborhoods.

Between our Sophomore Transitions program, our Living Off Campus Handbook and a list of common City Code violations, http://fcgov.com/communityliaison has a host of resources to help you prepare for and adjust to off campus life.

Programs, regulations and codes are not put in place to burden students. In fact, it’s just the opposite. We’ve implemented creative ways to help you maintain good relationships with your neighbors while allowing you to be, well, college students.

Take for example the innovative party registration program. Fort Collins police receive dozens of party noise complaints each year and we were looking for a way to reduce noise disturbances.

Working collaboratively, CSU, the City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services and Fort Collins Police Services designed the party registration program.

The program allows students to register their parties so that if a noise complaint is received by Police Services, the registered party host will be contacted by phone, given a verbal warning and asked to break up the party within 20 minutes. With the warning students can avoid a noise violation, which can result in a fine of up to $1,000.

Last year during our pilot period, student hosts who registered parties and received warnings saved themselves as much at $28,000 in total fines.

This program helps students avoid fines and it also saved the City of Fort Collins money associated with police officer overtime, allowing for needed dollars to be redirected to other high priority police services. At the beginning and end of each academic year, Police Services pay to have officers work overtime on party patrol shifts geared specifically to address parties.

Due to safety reasons, each noise complaint requires a two-officer response when breaking up a party. As a result of the party registration program, fewer officers (56 total) were needed to deal with parties in person.

I very much appreciate the partnerships between the city and students. You add greatly to our community with your creative thinking, high energy and desire to have fun.

The Party Registration program is an example of how we’re working to create an environment where we can share neighborhoods.

Darin Atteberry is the Fort Collins City Manager. You can reach him at datteberry@fcgov.com or (970) 221-6505. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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