As has been reported about several times in the Collegian — and in my experience is almost universally agreed upon by students — the U+2 law in Fort Collins is a trivial, irrational regulation on housing within the city. It declares that only three unrelated people can live within the same dwelling under one lease at a given time. This does not take into account the size of the dwelling, the number of bedrooms or the dwelling’s location in the city, and therefore comes across as an attempt to force higher housing costs on people with lower incomes, and most specifically, college students.
I personally feel as though this regulation causes more problems than it solves. Sure, it may force students and lower-income individuals to only live three to a house and thus create more income for the housing market. But those same students do not want to live three to a house in the first place because it is difficult to afford $400-$500 a month of rent when you are working for $8-$9 an hour, probably part-time. So what happens when housing prices keep rising and people just cannot afford rent, so they either bring in more roommates or do not pay on time? Do apartment complexes get to deal with evicting a bunch of students because of a stupid rule, for which they get no money and extra hassle?
The argument no longer falls between helping the housing market and helping college students because U+2 does neither. It is also a weak argument to say it will prevent partying, because, rumor has it, people have these things called cars they can use to drive to each other’s houses regardless of who actually lives there. I certainly think there should be some sort of limit on how many people can live in a house because it can become a safety hazard, but the number should correlate to the size of the location.
I am sure that my fellow Colorado State University students share many of these sentiments. The problem is that there is normally very little we can do about it…other than right now.
April 7 is the local election day that will decide on who will be Fort Collins’ next mayor, and two of the three candidates are in support of abolishing U+2: Mike Pruznick and Wade Troxell. Unlike ASCSU candidates and complaining on Facebook, voting for one of the two could actually result in a change in the law. Troxell is the one I am leaning toward personally because he is also the only candidate of the three that is adamantly against charging for on-street parking in Old Town, but both seem like good choices for mayor based on their views, as posted by the Coloradoan.
If you want to see a change to U+2 and you are eligible to vote in Fort Collins, be sure to come out to the voting booths April 7.
Collegian Columnist Dan Rice can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @danriceman.