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Referendum Effort Relating to Adoption of the Land Development Code#


On November 1, 2022, Council approved on final reading Ordinance No. 114, 2022 adopting the Land Development Code.  Under the provisions of that ordinance, the Land Development Code goes into effect on January 1, 2023.

The Land Development Code replaces the Land Use Code, which has been in effect since 1997, and which is being repealed and separately codified as the 2022 Transitional Land Use Regulations.  The Transitional Land Use Regulations are limited in their application to the review of pending land development applications submitted and determined to be complete and ready for review pursuant to Section 2.2.4 prior to January 1, 2023.

The Power of the Referendum#

The Fort Collins City Charter grants the registered electors of Fort Collins the power to refer a Council-adopted Ordinance to the voters for approval or rejection.  The referendum process begins by filing with the City Clerk within 10 days after final passage of the Ordinance a notice of protest against the going into effect of the Ordinance.  No later than 10 days after the filing of the notice of protest, the proponents of the referendum must submit to the City Clerk the final form of their petition.  The City Clerk reviews the form of the petition and, if satisfied that it conforms to the requirements of the Charter, approves the petition for circulation.  Once approved, the proponents have 20 calendar days to circulate the petition and file it with the City Clerk.

If the proponents collect the requisite number of valid signatures, the petition is certified to the City Council as sufficient.  The Council then must (1) repeal the Ordinance, or (2) refer the Ordinance to a vote of the registered electors at the next regular or special City election scheduled for any other purpose.  Alternatively, the Council may call a special election for this purpose.

Current Referendum Effort#

On November 11, 2022, registered elector Ross Cunniff filed a Notice of Protest against the going into effect of Ordinance No. 114, 2022.  The form of the petition was subsequently filed with the City Clerk and the petition was approved for circulation on November 27.  The deadline to file the completed petition with the City Clerk was Monday, December 19.

A total of 4,228 valid signatures are needed on the petition for it to be sufficient for action by the City Council. 

The City Clerk has five working days to review the petition, which ends at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27.  If the petition is sufficient, it will be certified to the Council on January 17, 2023.  The January 3, 2023 meeting of the Council has been CANCELED, so January 17 will be the next regular meeting of the Council after examination of the petitions.

As soon as the petition, if sufficient, is certified to the Council, the operation of Ordinance No. 114, 2022 is automatically suspended pending repeal of the Ordinance by Council or final determination by the voters.

If the petition is insufficient (less that 4,228 valid signatures), the referendum petition is null and void and a new petition may not be filed for referendum of the same ordinance.

It should be noted that any registered elector may file a protest following the Clerk's determination of sufficiency or insufficiency.  The City Clerk provided a memo to Council on November 18 offering additional information and graphics illustrating the process for this particular referendum effort and generically the referendum process after a petition is submitted.

Read the Memo

Additional Information#

For more information about the Land Development Code, including Frequently Asked Questions, visit

To read the 1997 Land Use Code, visit Fort Collins Land Use Code.

For more information about the referendum process, view the Referendum Guidelines.