City Council discusses Marshall Fire relief, Sam’s Club appeal


Collegian | Skyler Pradhan

A sign stands signifying City Hall at 300 Laporte Avenue Nov. 8, 2020.

CTV News: Ashley Jones-Sykes

Austria Cohn, News Reporter

On Jan. 18, the Fort Collins City Council held a regular meeting and discussed temporary housing in Fort Collins for victims of the Marshall FireThe discussion around temporary housing options involved the U+2 ordinance, and many Fort Collins residents expressed concern during public comment. Another discussion item was the Sam’s Club Fuel Station appeal. 

The Marshall Fire destroyed around 1,084 homes and 149 residential structures in Superior and Louisville, Colorado, according to the council agenda.  


“We have offered support to the Boulder County (Office of Emergency Management) and Larimer County OEM and confirmed there are no requests for assistance,” the agenda item summary states. “Boulder County has officially switched their efforts from response to recovery.”

“This really concerns me because my neighborhood is close to (Colorado State University). … When U+2 was not enforced, it was literally a war zone.” –Siu-Au Lee, Fort Collins resident

Residents of Fort Collins spoke during public comment and brought up their concerns with dismissing or temporarily suspending the U+2 ordinance for people who were affected by the Marshall Fire. 

“This really concerns me because my neighborhood is close to (Colorado State University),” said Siu-Au Lee, a Fort Collins resident. “When U+2 was not enforced, it was literally a war zone.” 

Another Fort Collins resident said this item “will not benefit emergency responders; it will not benefit essential workers — it will most likely benefit more affluent households and retirees.”

Councilmember Shirley Peel of District 4 responded to the public comments by saying the purpose of this item was to help the people affected by the fire and not change the U+2 ordinance.

“I just want to set the record straight: … There was no nefarious purpose behind this,” Peel said. “We’re just trying to help our neighbors.”

This resolution was voted 7-0 to be postponed indefinitely. The council requested that staff bring back an ordinance at the next council meeting that reflects a permitted exemption program that would allow residents to apply for a permit.

“I think (the) permitted exemption allows us to see who’s utilizing the program, create some documentation and then have some ease of evaluation on whether or not the program is effective,” said Mayor Pro Tem Emily Francis.

The last discussion item was an appeal in which Carolynne White, Sam’s Club’s land use counsel, said the grocer believes the Fort Collins Planning and Zoning Commission did not conduct a fair hearing regarding an addition of a permitted use and misapplied the criteria. 


The Sam’s Club at Harmony Market Shopping Center wanted to build a gas station but was denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission because they did not pass Fort Collins’ land use criteria.

Opposing attorney Lew Harstead, representing the property owner of a 7-Eleven gas station located near the site of the proposed Sam’s Club fueling station, said the Planning and Zoning Commission did nothing wrong.

There was another opposing attorney present, Brad March, who represented one of the owners in the Harmony Market Center complex.

Ultimately the council decided the Planning and Zoning Commission did conduct a fair hearing. The vote was 6-1 with Councilmember Peel against.

The Sam’s Club fuel station lost the appeal, so there will not be a gas station connected with Sam’s Club at the Harmony Market shopping center.

The council canceled the regular meeting Feb. 1 because of the annual State of the City Address. The next regular council meeting will be on Feb. 15.

The full meeting video and voting results are on the City website.

Reach Austria Cohn at or on Twitter @AustriaCohn.