Questions about the U+2 and its effectiveness in the City of Fort Collins have sparked debate since occupancy laws began being enforced in the 1960s.
The Collegian interviewed Ross Cunniff, council member for District 5, about his thoughts about the U+2 ordinance.
What do you think of U+2?
I am very supportive — I think it’s been very good for the neighborhoods of Fort Collins. Changing it would not increase the amount of rooms for rent and therefore would not decrease the cost of rent in Fort Collins. In my own neighborhood, I am seeing families with a lot more kids, and a lot of my constituents are liking it.
How do people in single family neighborhoods view U+2?
It is viewed very favorably in single family neighborhoods. It is more for protecting the zoning of single family neighborhoods.
Rents are high in Fort Collins because of low vacancy. If it (U+2) were changed, a small number of rooms would open up. It won’t cause the rent to go down; it would at best stay the same. It would come at the cost of damaging single family neighborhoods with traffic, noise, and other factors.
How long have occupancy ordinances been in effect in Fort Collins? How long has U+2 been in effect?
U+2 has been around for quite a while and was improved to be more effective around seven or eight years ago. The improvement made it easier to enforce U+2.
Can you tell me about the zoning code in Fort Collins?
Fort Collins has a zoning code where certain kinds of buildings are allowed in some places, but not in others. We have zones that are designed for single-family neighborhoods. They should really be mostly for single family. If you have unrelated people, you are allowed at most two.
What are the problems that U+2 eliminates from the community?
The problem we were seeing was that commercial activity was drowning out single family neighborhoods. Landlords could charge more for rent and they were putting five or six people. A lot of neighborhoods here turned into rental communities, rather than single family residences.
Can you tell me about how U+2 is enforced?
It is enforced partially on complaints. If a complaint is filed, neighborhood services will search for evidence. When that happens, they will post a notice to the house and they sometimes will contact the landlord. It can lead to fines against the occupants, and oftentimes, they are cumulative.
Collegian Reporter Megan Fischer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MegFischer04.