Fort Collins' infamous "U+2" occupancy ordinance bans more than three unrelated adults from renting a home together. This policy discriminates against singles and contributes to the high cost of rent. Prohibiting people from living together fosters the creation of under-the-table housing arrangements and drives up the cost of rent. Council should immediately repeal U+2.
(2) End the Housing Shortage
YIMBY Fort Collins supports efforts to legalize housing at both the state and municipal levels. Fort Collins City Council recently updated the land use plan after years of public outreach by staff. These updates are in alignment with the 2019 City Comprehensive Plan and the 2021 Housing Strategic Plan. These updates to the code are a huge step forward towards improving housing affordability in Fort Collins.
Governor Polis' top priority is also solving the housing crisis. A bill was brought forward in the 2023 session that would have streamlined housing approvals, ended discriminatory occupancy ordinances like U+2, and removed barriers to housing like parking requirements. It failed in the senate, but these ideas remain sound.
Implementing the following policies will be critical to ending the housing shortage:
Streamline Housing Approvals
Multifamily housing construction should fall under the same standards as a single family home. Permits and approvals should go through staff administrative review instead of a lengthy, costly, unpredictable Planning and Zoning Board processes. Privileged neighbors with NIMBY feelings shouldn’t be able to derail new homes that otherwise meet building codes. Streamlined permitting is also required to receive state affordable housing grants and gives builders predictability that new housing won't be stopped before it even starts.
Legalize Fourplexes, Granny Flats, Basement Apartments, and Cottage Court Houses
A gentle increase in density by legalizing "missing middle" housing types will help address the housing shortage without dramatically altering neighborhood character. YIMBY Fort Collins supports legalizing ADUs, duplexes, triplexes, cottage court apartments, and granny flats in more parts of Fort Collins. We endorse statewide efforts to the do the same.
Eliminate Parking Mandates
Fort Collins is filled with empty parking spaces. They are currently required by the code for every bedroom built, regardless of whether or not people that live there own a car. These mandates eliminate the feasibility of building multifamily units on small lots. Why does the city require so much parking to be built (instead of more housing) next to a MAX transit stop or along bike paths?
Eliminating parking mandates will also help Fort Collins reach our environmental and climate goals. Other American communities have eliminated parking mandates, including Bend OR, Anchorage, Minneapolis and San Francisco. Ending parking mandates does not mean the end of parking, but instead puts the decision of how much in the hands of property owners.
Don’t Sabotage Housing with Technical Requirements
Housing can be sabotaged by city codes in so many ways. Setbacks, height limits, floor-to-area ratios, historical preservation designations, and other technical requirements should be reasonable and not used to block housing.
(3) Build Capital "A" Affordable Housing
YIMBY Fort Collins supports using local, state, and federal taxes for housing for people with low incomes. Communities built, operated, and supported by local housing nonprofits using public funds are a crucial part of the solution to the housing crisis. We enthusiastically endorse efforts to increase the supply of mixed-income units, housing choice vouchers, supportive housing and more. Opposition to housing for residents with low-incomes is the worst kind of NIMBYism.