In an effort to assist residents with the referendum process, the City Clerk's Office has developed Referendum Guidelines to explain the process in a simplified chronological manner. The Fort Collins City Charter grants the registered electors (voters) of Fort Collins the power to refer a Council-adopted Ordinance to the voters for approval or rejection.
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 a notice of protest against the going into effect of the Ordinance within 10 days after its final passage. No later than 10 days after the filing of that 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 deemed sufficient. Following the expiration of a protest period and any protest process, a sufficient petition is certified to the City Council. The Council must then either (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 also call a special election for this purpose.
The complete petition was submitted on November 28, 2023. It was determined the submitted petition used 6,718 signature lines and is a valid petition. Examination of the petition is now underway and must be complete by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
Updates on the progress of this examination process will be posted nightly on this page.
Petition Examination Results
Thursday, November 30, 2023
- 203 Petition Sections have been fully reviewed in the examination process
- 5,005 Signature Lines are contained in these sections
- 4,301 entries have been determined to be valid signatures to date
These 203 petition sections are now available for public review. To do this, please contact the City Clerk's Office by phone at 970-221-6515 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to come to City Hall.
At the October 17, 2023 City Council Meeting, the City Council approved the adoption of a new Land Use Code. This included the adoption of three different related ordinances. Ordinance No. 136, 2023 actually repealed and reenacted the Land Use Code. Under the provisions of that ordinance, the revised Land Use Code is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2024.
The new Land Use Code replaces the 1997 Land Use Code which is being repealed and separately codified as the Pre-2024 Transitional Land Use Regulations. These transitional regulations are limited in their application to the review of pending land use applications submitted and determined to be complete and ready for review prior to January 1, 2024.
On October 17, 2023, Council adopted on second reading:
Notice of Protest Filed#
On October 27, 2023, registered elector Ross Cunniff filed a Notice of Protest against the going into effect of Ordinance No. 136, 2023.
Form of Petition Submitted and Approved#
Once information is provided about the 3-5 people designated as petition representatives and they provide a general statement of purpose, the City Clerk's Office prepares the format of the petition. Once that is reviewed by the petition representatives, the Clerk's Office prepares the number of petition sections and provides them to the representatives. Within 10 days of when the notice of protest against the ordinance is filed, the petition representatives must submit those petition sections back to the City Clerk with numbering complete on each section for a final review and approval of the Clerk. The form of petition and all sections were submitted on the deadline to do so, November 6, 2023.
The City Clerk completed that final review and approved the referendum petition for circulation on November 8, 2023, starting the 20 calendar day circulation period for petition representatives to gather signatures.
Circulation Period and Filing the Petition with the City Clerk#
The deadline for petition representatives to submit a complete petition was 5 p.m. on November 28, 2023.
Examination and Protest Periods#
The complete petition was submitted on November 28. The City Clerk's Office determined the petition was valid and began examination of the petition. This must be complete by Tuesday, December 5, 2023. A total of 4,228 valid signatures from registered Fort Collins voters are needed on the petition for it to be deemed sufficient.
The filing of the complete petition also started a protest period during which any registered voter in Fort Collins may file a protest of the Clerk's determination of sufficiency. This protest period ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, December 8, 2023.
Related Issue Committees#
For more information about the Land Use Code, including a comparison between the Land Development Code adopted in 2022 and the revised Land Use Code adopted in 2023 and Frequently Asked Questions, visit https://www.fcgov.com/housing/lucupdates.
To read the 1997 Land Use Code, visit Fort Collins Land Use Code.
Results of Referendum Process#
The protest of Ordinance No. 114, 2022 was successful. As a result, the City Council reconsidered the ordinance at its regular meeting on January 17, 2023. Instead of sending the ordinance to the voters for a referendum, the Council repealed the protested ordinance through the adoption of Ordinance No. 007, 2023.
On November 1, 2022, Council approved on second reading:
- Ordinance No. 114, 2022 Repealing and Reenacting Section 29-1 of the Code of the City of Fort Collins to Adopt the Land Development Code and Separately Codifying the 1997 Land Use Code as “2022 Transitional Land Use Regulations”
- Ordinance No. 115, 2022 Amending the Zoning Map of the City of Fort Collins to Rename All Neighborhood Conservation Low Density, Neighborhood Conservation Medium Density, and Neighborhood Conservation Buffer Zone Districts to the Old Town Zone District in Conjunction with the Adoption of the Land Development Code
Notice of Protest Filed#
Form of Petition Submitted and Approved#
The petition representatives chose to move forward with only one protest, for Ordinance No. 114, 2022. The form of the petition was subsequently filed with the City Clerk on the deadline to do so, Monday, November 21, 2022. The petition was approved for circulation four working days later on Tuesday, November 29. 2022.
Circulation Period and Filling the Petition with the City Clerk#
The circulation period for the petition was 20 calendar days, making the deadline to file the completed petition with the City Clerk Monday, December 19, 2022.
A total of 4,228 valid signatures from registered Fort Collins signatures were needed on the petition for it to be sufficient for action by the City Council.
The City Clerk had five working days to review the petition, which ended at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27, 2022. If the petition is sufficient, it will be certified
The deadline for any registered Fort Collins voter to file a protest following the Clerk's determination of sufficiency or insufficiency was Thursday, December 29, 2022. The sufficient petition was certified and presented to the City Council via memorandum after the protest period expired on Friday, December 30, 2022. At that time, the operation of Ordinance No. 114, 2022 was automatically suspended pending repeal of the Ordinance by Council or final determination by the voters via referendum at an election.
Number of signature lines examined: 7,443
Number of valid signatures: 6,447
The Council was required to reconsider the protested ordinance at its next regular meeting. Because the January 3, 2023 Council Meeting was canceled, that was the January 17, 2023 Council Meeting.