Updated: Oct 28
Photo: Thank you for the great conversations at this listening session at the Lincoln Center this past August.
Julie here. One of the many reasons I love this city is how we work together to address difficult problems like the rising cost of housing that touches the lives of everyone.
After we passed the new Land Use Code in 2022, I heard the concerns of residents and supported stepping back to take another look, especially since a lot of the work had been done while we were still dealing with COVID restrictions and in-person meetings were few and far between at that time.
I'm a housing advocate, especially because of the issue intersections with equity, economic, and climate issues. I helped start FoCoForward.org outside my Council duties to share more information and resources about how to address housing. I joined CO League of Women Voters and CO Chapter of Sierra Club to support SB 23-213 as a way to address our housing crisis on a statewide level. I'm glad for the conversations that we are now having.
Here in our community, listening sessions, walking tours, and one-on-one conversations with District 2 residents revealed key changes needed to make the Land Use Code a better fit for our neighborhoods and support the needs of the people in our growing city.
A year later, I’m proud to have been part of passing the revised code this past week. Is it perfect? No policy can be, hence why it is a living document. I appreciate the ideas being shared about ways to make the code better, a lot of which were incorporated into the code passed this past week. And I share the urgency of additional efforts to address affordability, expressed by so many. The new code is an important step in the right direction. And I’ve heard from many residents that they appreciate how the city and Council didn’t give up on addressing the complex issue in our community and worked collaboratively to find middle ground among differing opinions. The plan we passed has the support of every single non-profit housing provider in our area, including Habitat for Humanity, Neighbor to Neighbor, Housing Catalyst, and CARE Housing, among others. If you would like to find out more about their alliance you can at OneVoiceForHousing.org.
And the work isn’t done. Phase 2 is the next step for the Land Use Code which will tackle transportation and commercial spaces, to include mixed-use development that can get us closer to a safer, more walkable, and bikeable community.
Please vote for me so we can continue to work together to address housing affordability in our city. The more I work on housing the more I learn just how complex the issue is and how it intersects with the environment, healthcare, the economy – no one policy, code, or program will solve our challenges, which means we have to use systems thinking to tackle our issues. I have the skills and demeanor to tackle the challenges thoughtfully and inclusively. Please share your ideas with me by reaching out to JulieForFC@gmail.com at any time; I’m eager to find more creative solutions to help people be able to live and work here.
PS. If you’re wondering what the new Land Use Code means for your neighborhood, a great resource is the city staff presentation from Oct. 17th. You’ll see a comparison of the old, repealed, and new code. There’s a big focus on neighborhood character, HOAs maintain oversight of their neighborhoods, and there are incentives for affordable units to be built. Two things to keep in mind. First, the code was last updated in 1997 and it was over 800 pages; the new code changes the names of zones so it may take a moment to adapt to the new names and terminology. Second, we made changes to the prior code frequently, and we will also make changes to the new code frequently. If something doesn’t work, we will revise it. I want to hear your ideas and concerns as we work for the future of our community.
Link to the city staff presentation from Oct. 17th (see examples below): https://bit.ly/citystaffpresentationOct17landusecode
From the Coloradoan: Here's a side-by-side comparison of Fort Collins' land use code: Old, new and repealed: https://bit.ly/coloradoan-chart-comparison-landusecode
Source: City Staff Presentation to City Council Oct. 17th, 2023: Access full deck here