Residents are also invited to continue the conversation online.
Community Q&A from the 2019 State of the City
- Affordable housing is without question, one of the City's biggest opportunities with no solution in sight as the number of affordable units needed is accelerating as new people move here. Would you be willing to reduce funding from other city programs in order to provide subsidies for citizens to be able to live in Fort Collins?
The City invests between $1.5M and $3M in affordable housing annually in City and Federal funding. Additionally, voters approved an Affordable Housing Capital Fund as part of the Community Capital Improvement Program, which adds another $4M over the ten years between 2016-2026.
While more resources would be beneficial, the City’s budgeting process is the best time to weigh the trade-offs in how best to allocate general fund dollars. While some budget matters will be considered by City Council during this budget cycle, the next cycle will be for 2021-2022. The public is encouraged to participate and let their priorities be heard.
- We claim to be a great city and even received Malcom Baldridge Award, but it appears to be a city for the rich. There are no new entry level condos and rents are more than an entry level mortgage. What are you doing to provide entry level "for sale" residential homes for the residents who have service level positions in the city?
In addition to homes built by Habitat for Humanity, the City has one restricted home ownership program that sells 2- and 3-bedroom condominiums to low-income home buyers. The development of entry-level condos in the whole state of Colorado has been slowed by a state law that permitted litigation for construction defects in a way builders felt was too punitive. That state law has been changed, so we may see more production of these types of homes.
The City also is now allowing the use of Metropolitan Districts for residential housing when public benefit is provided. Affordable Housing is one of the public benefits that developers are including in new communities in exchange for using this financing tool. Currently the City is working with a developer to develop restricted home ownership opportunities for low-income residents on a Land Bank parcel.
Lastly, the City is looking to partner with Community Land Trusts to build and preserve affordable housing into the future.
- The walkability of Old Town FC seems to be compromised by the poor condition of sidewalks and illumination. I think more people would walk to town if conditions were better. Any plans for improvement?
Yes – citywide pedestrian improvements are funded with over $1M/year via the City’s ¼-cent sales tax (Community Capital Improvement Program). There is also an ongoing sidewalk maintenance program funded by the General Improvement District that identifies sidewalk issues in the core downtown area and makes repairs. For example, you will see this program in effect in March when the sidewalk in front of the Opera Galleria is replaced by City Engineering.
The City also has a few upcoming capital projects in the downtown area that will improve conditions for pedestrians. Willow Street between College and Linden will be improved in 2019. This project includes adding sidewalks (where currently none exist) and pedestrian street lighting.
Illumination of our central business district to make our city safer and more comfortable to live in is part of an overall urban design strategy, and this involves consideration being given to the role light plays in creating a feeling of safety when necessary, with a reasonable amount of light. The City should take extra effort to ensure that the Nature in the City night sky lighting regulations are balanced with objectives and goals for creating a safe comfortable environment in the downtown, using light to build the urban and cultural identity of our city, and strengthening local economic health of the night time economy of the downtown.
- Traffic on College Avenue through Old Town is already overcongested. With future growth this will only get worse. Any future plans to try to control this through redirection or visions of a pedestrian-only area?
The City completed an update to the Downtown Plan in 2017, and there are no plans to make any part of College Avenue / US 287 a pedestrian-only area. The plan does, however, have multiple strategies to continue to work to “put pedestrians first” in Downtown. More transportation options, safer crossings, more pleasant streetscapes and public buildings designed to feel comfortable at the pedestrian scale are all emphasized throughout the plan. The City is also working on strategies to improve public transit and biking options to get Downtown and is underway with technology improvements that can help folks park more efficiently when they do drive.
- For the implementation of the city's new broadband network, how will it be determined which neighborhoods receive access first? Since this is projected to be a lower cost option compared to local alternatives, will the city give preference to low-income neighborhoods or residents?
Construction began November 15, 2018, with the first service expected to be in the third quarter of 2019. The network will be implemented to ensure that we are able to get the most people on in the fastest and the most efficient way possible within city limits meeting our 36 - 48-month construction timeline. We will build in several different locations across the city at the same time. We are looking at a variety of criteria to determine future locations including density, property type, accessibility/ease of build, cost of build, and demographics including underserved populations. We will not cherry pick specific neighborhoods.
- When is the City going to connect the southeast part of the City to the trail system? Specifically three power trail and fossil trail. We have great regional connection but not complete local connection.
Planning efforts are currently underway for several trails in southeast Fort Collins. These include the Poudre River Trail crossing at I-25, the connection of the Power Trail to the Spring Creek Trail near Edora Park, the Power Trail crossing of Harmony, and the Mail Creek Ditch connection located east of Southridge Golf Course.
These projects are in various stages of planning, with varying levels of funding available for each. We recognize the need for improved trail connectivity in Southeast Fort Collins. It’s hard to predict exactly when a trail project will be completed, as there are many factors that determine this timeline. These factors include acquisition of necessary land or easements for the trail, permitting from railroads and other state or federal agencies, and the timing of new development in an area. With that said, the trails listed are top priority projects, with completion of many of them anticipated in the next few years. Thanks for your patience and support of the city paved trail system.
- Has there ever been any thought given to moving the location of City Utilities? The current location adjacent to the Poudre is prime real estate that could be used for better purposes such as housing and/or a natural area.
The Utility Service Center at 700 Wood Street was recently renovated to include a geothermal system, so we’ll be staying put there.
- There's a rumor Bill Gates is buying land to develop between southside FoCo and Loveland. True?
This is outside the City limits. Here are some other resources that may help answer this:
- I am worried about the cost of living and affordable housing options here in Fort Collins as more people move into the area. Can the City change the U+2 ordinance or support more low-income housing options?
City Council has directed staff to hire consultants to conduct several studies regarding the impacts of the U+2 ordinance over the past 14 years. This is still a topic of conversation and discussion among City Council, and they do have the authority to change the ordinance if they choose.
The City hears from residents on both sides of this issue. The regulations has been successful at reducing nuisance complaints in neighborhoods. There are differing viewpoints about how much changing the U+2 ordinance will actually help with the affordable housing issue.