FoCo City Council discusses U+2, COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Austria Cohn

Fort Collins City Council
Fort Collins City Council (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

The Fort Collins City Council held a work session on Oct. 26 to discuss the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and U+2 ordinance, among other items. The three main items were the Recovery Plan overview, Housing Strategic Plan implementation and the East Mulberry Project update. 

Recovery Plan overview

According to the council agenda, the recovery plan works to “address the trauma that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our community, reduce future shocks and focus on the inclusion and well-being of our community to increase resilience and move toward a vibrant future.”


The City has done outreach programs, including surveys, to get community engagement on this topic.

“We actually have over 2,200 survey responses since this went to publication,” said SeonAh Kendall, the City recovery manager.

The main community priorities found in the survey results included mental and behavioral health, affordable housing, small businesses and focusing on climate resilience

The Recovery Plan is funded by ARPA. Out of the ARPA funds, $20.3 million will go to the Recovery Plan. This plan is in phase one, which includes engagement outreach, events, meetings and stakeholder mapping, and phase two will include increased engagement effort and data analysis.

The next work session on the Recovery Plan will be on Jan. 11, 2022. 

Housing Strategic Plan implementation 

The council also talked about three strategies associated with the Housing Strategic Plan, including rental licensing and registration, occupancy ordinance revisions and small landlord incentives.

“The reason we’re looking at these three strategies tonight is that they were all identified during the housing strategic plan as ways to address one of our greatest challenges to achieving the vision that everyone has stable, healthy housing they can afford,” said Meaghan Overton, housing manager.

The U+2 policy was also discussed because the demographics have drastically changed since 2005. 71% of violators were college students in 2005, but results from 2018 show the number has dropped to 47%. 

“We estimate that over 40% of the housing in Fort Collins is rental,” Overton said. “The vast majority of rentals in Fort Collins are likely not in violation of U+2.” 

“Another reason to look at tools like rental licensing is that they might be effective ways to ensure safe, healthy housing for people who rent,” Overton said.


Susan Gutowsky, District 1 councilmember, shared a story from a student she knew that had been living in horrible conditions like leaky windows and mold. The student didn’t complain because they were breaking the U+2 ordinance. 

“I’m really glad that we’re doing this because I’m looking for some really heavy accountability for, especially, absentee landlords who just run their property and collect the rent,” Gutowsky said.

“I don’t share the enthusiasm expressed this evening,” said Kelly Ohlson, District 5 councilmember. “I don’t agree at all with exploring revisions to the occupancy limits.” 

The five-year plan entails a system where 25% of the rental inspections will be done each year, starting in the second year of the program. By the fifth year of this program, all rentals would have gone through an inspection. 

“It would be cost-prohibitive to try to do (the inspections) all at once,” said Marcy Yoder, the neighborhood services manager.

East Mulberry Project update

This item discussed the existing infrastructure conditions and the recommended future infrastructure investments. There was also an annexation for an area proposed during the staff presentation.

“This is not a money-making endeavor for the City,” said City Planner Sylvia Tatman-Burruss. “But we do know from our work so far and from past annexation experience that there are benefits to annexation.” 

During this staff presentation, they provided the benefits and drawbacks of annexation. Some have brought up concerns regarding business owners.

“There could be increases in certain taxes and fees, and then certain development standards will be different from those in Larimer County,” Tatman-Burruss said.

If this area was under annex, it would get access to police, broadband services and parks and recreation, as well as other resources, but the location would not receive water and wastewater services due to the annexation, said Travis Storin, the chief financial officer for the City of Fort Collins.

For more information on the East Mulberry project or the other items discussed people can go on the City website

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