City Council adopts updated Fort Collins City Plan with caveats

Samantha Ye

It took over a year of planning, but City Council has finally adopted (most of) an updated City Plan, the comprehensive set of guidelines for the Fort Collins’ future.

In a unanimous vote, Council adopted both the updated City Plan and Transit Master Plan with the caveat that staff will tighten up some unclear language and concepts in the document.

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“I don’t think we got down to wordsmithing but (instead), really expressing those concerns and getting them out and dialing them in in a constructive manner that, I think, in the long run, only improves it,” said Mayor Wade Troxell.

Council-requested changes to the City Plan

  • Removal of part of the dark skies strategy to promote Earth Hour and the International Dark Sky Week; less specific language for dark skies goals
  • Clarification of the area median income qualifications for assistance priority in affordable housing
  • Incorporate data from the TMP to illustrate the transit situation described in the City Plan; improve the language describing the transit ridership

Council-requested changes to the Transit Master Plan

  • Move up the cost estimates in the document so people will more easily find it
  • Strike the “5-year plan” concept and replace it with language suggesting it is only a “next step” in service with no definitive timeline

The City Plan is the master plan which will guide the values and goals of Fort Collins for the next 20 to 25 years in everything from affordable housing to culture and recreation. The TMP is a separate document guiding transportation issues specifically, but the ideas are also in the City Plan.

The last plan was made in 2011 and had not been adjusted since. According to City staff, most of the plan will be continuing on the same trajectory as was set back then.

Significant updates to the plan came in the areas of affordable housing and transportation, both of which are rapidly evolving situations, staff said.

The City has been gathering input from the community since 2018 in order to inform the updated plan. All councilmembers praised the outreach efforts.

“To the City staff: job well done,” Troxell said. “(The City Plan) is a huge funnel down to something very specific that has to be meaningful and help guide the next 20, 25 years, so that’s a huge task, and job well done.”

What’s in the City Plan?

City Plan Update Highlights

  • Affordable Housing
    • Encourage diverse housing options such as multi-family units and accessory dwellings
    • Refocus on infill and redevelopment to make the most of the City’s remaining land with compact growth
    • Remove the regulatory barriers hindering desired housing types while keeping in mind neighborhood livability impact
  • Transportation
    • Alleviate traffic congestion and optimize traffic flow
    • Provide high-frequency transit where possible (i.e. providing service every 15 minutes instead of every 60 minutes)
    • Integrate more mobility options such as ride-sharing and
    • Link bike and pedestrian paths into a better connected network
    • Prepare and adapt for new transportation technologies such as electric vehicles and drone deliveries
  • Environmental Health
    • Greater integration of sustainability, Climate Action and zero-waste goals into City growth
    • Encourage more energy efficient building codes, and increase standards for landscaping and water planning
    • Greater electrification of building energy and transportation systems

Transit Master Plan Highlights

  • Improve regional transit service between Fort Collins and other Northern Colorado cities, Boulder and Denver
  • Develop Mobility Hubs (multimodal transfer points between transit, bicycles, cars, etc.) and Mobility Innovation Zones (low-density areas of the City to be supported by on-demand services)
  • Study possibilities for dedicated funding sources

Other Council Topics

E-bikes approved for use on recreational paved paths: Upon second hearing, Council again approved the one-year pilot program to allow Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved designated trails in Natural Areas and Recreation Areas.

City enters Intergovernmental Agreement for waste management: As Fort Collins’ current landfill is expected to be full by 2025, Larimer County has adopted the Solid Waste Infrastructure Management Plan to take in the region’s waste. This includes constructing a new landfill and several new waste recovery centers, which will divert up to 41% of the current materials going to the landfill, according to the County website.

It will cost roughly $40 million to build, but because the County has been saving for this for years, they will not need additional funding.

The IGA guarantees the centers will have enough waste material to operate by having the participating municipalities explore local waste diversion programs, policies and outreach to support them.

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The Council approved the resolution to enter the agreement on the grounds it supports the City’s zero-waste and sustainability plans.

Mayor Pro Tem Gerry Horak is elected Mayor Pro Tempore: Tuesday’s meeting was Horak’s final meeting as a councilmember. He will be replaced by Emily Gorgol when the sitting Council is updated to the newly elected Council, and they will choose a new Mayor Pro Tempore for that Council. 

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.