Just thought that my friends in Fort Collins would be interested in knowing that the City Council will be reviewing their controversial Occupancy Ordinance, that limits the amount of unrelated adults that can live in a rental home in the city. What makes this so controversial is that this law seems to target college student housing.
There was a really article in the Coloradoan that came out a few days ago, talking about a ‘lodge’ owned by a fraternity that was set up to house six members of the frat, as well as provide meeting space and non-alcoholic dinners. The house is located on Shields, right off of Laurel (which is right across the street from campus). The frat members attempted to be good neighbors by fixing up the yard, and attempted to work with city regulators to make the house fit within the zoning regulations. Yet neighbors still complained and now the city has threatened to fine the occupants $1000 per day members don’t move out.
This ordinance really frustrates me. While I sympathize with issues that single-family homeowners can face living next to inconsiderate students, what do people seriously expect when they buy a house that’s right next to campus? People can’t tout the benefits of living in a college town without having to accept that students are going to live in your town. It’s no different than complaining about an ethnic group living in your town but saying that you love the authentic <insert ethnic group> food.
Fort Collins is a big city, and if you want to live in a neighborhood with many families and few college students, there are plenty of great neighborhoods on the south side of town – away from campus. CSU is only going to continue to expand, which will only increase housing needs by the students. I realize that resident Michelle Haefele in the article doesn’t want her neighborhood “turned into a student ghetto”, but the last time I checked the CSU campus was there before she moved in. What did you expect when you bought a place in the neighborhood next to campus?
What bothers me most is that residents are so eager to blame college students for their declining property value. The behavior of some students is unacceptable, but what is also unacceptable is painting students with this broad brush by enforcing this ordinance. Let me ask you this, if you replaced the word “students” with an ethnic group or poverty class in the complaints, wouldn’t people have a problem with that?
Let’s see what City Council does Tuesday. I for one hope that people realize that they live in a college town, yet Fort Collins should be a big enough city to be able to accept everyone.