woman smiling, wearing glasses and a suit
Ann Hutchison
President & CEO

For comments and questions about this blog, please email Ann at [email protected]

A Potpourri of Spring Thoughts….

by | Mar 26, 2024 | From the CEO

woman smiling, wearing glasses and a suit
Ann Hutchison | President & CEO

For comments and questions about this blog, please email Ann at [email protected]

Welcome to Spring 2024!  In true Colorado fashion, we’ve had sunny days, snowy days, windy days and more.  And we are only seven days into the new season.

In celebration of the changing season, my blog today is a potpourri of thoughts, observations and calls to action.

Annual Celebration:  We look forward to seeing all of you at our Annual Celebration on April 10.  At the 119th Annual Celebration held at the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland, we will honor the outstanding contributions of individuals who have made a significant impact on our community. The Chamber is thrilled to welcome members and guests from across Northern Colorado for an unforgettable evening of celebration and recognition. It’s an opportunity to come together and applaud the dedication and commitment of those who have gone above and beyond to enhance the vitality of our region.  Special shout out to our Collins Award Winners Connie & Doug Dohn, Dohn Construction; and our David May Advocacy Award Winner Sharie Grant, SLATE.  We can’t wait to celebrate you!  Registration is open now.  Click HERE to get your tickets before they sell out!

Housing and a Foundational Land Use Code:  Welcome to “Ground Hog Day Land Use Code Style.”  The Fort Collins City Council, for the third time, will attempt to adopt a Foundational Land Use Code at their April 16, 2024 meeting.  For those of you following along, you will remember that the Fort Collins City Council has now passed and repealed two efforts at updating this important community planning and execution tool.  The first attempt was in October, 2022 with a second attempt in October, 2023.

Our members share stories every day of how they personally struggle with the cost of housing and how that impedes their ability to attract and retain co-workers that might otherwise grow and prosper were they not also faced with housing insecurity. This is why the Chamber is adamant in our resolve to move the needle on this seemingly intractable dilemma of housing supply.  There is no silver bullet tot the challenge of our housing crisis, but updates to our current code are absolutely a key step in the process of expanding housing supply and opportunity in our community.

The Chamber will be standing alongside our partners involved in One Voice for Housing in supporting the passage of this foundational code.  We invite you to share your voice as well.  To read the draft document, you can go HERE.  This latest draft maintains many of the key policies that we have been advocating for:  reorganization of content so the most used information is first in the Code;  reformatting of zone districts with consistent graphics, tables, and illustrations; updates to definitions and rules of measurement for consistency; creation of a menu of building types and form standards to guide compatibility and updates to use standards, rules of measurement, and definitions to align with new building types and standards.  This current draft pulls out the policy issues that have been most under attack during this five year conversation:  Accessory Dwelling Units (think Granny Flats in the back yard), Limits on Home Owner Associations and Density Expectations in Established Neighborhoods.  We invite you to share your story with our elected officials and encourage a YES vote on the Foundational Land Use Code.

And if local policy doesn’t get you excited, we invite you to tune in to what’s happening at the Colorado General Assembly.  Now in their 77th day, your state elected officials are deep into the 120 day session.  The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) has taken a position on 58 of the 669 bills introduced to date.  We are working to share your Northern Colorado business voice each and every day of the session.

We have issued a Call to Action for our members. We are inviting you to contact your legislator and to encourage them to vote NO on SB24-159. SB 159 aims to drive the oil and gas industry out of Colorado by ceasing all new oil and gas permits after January 1, 2030. The bill also applies to permits needed for modifying existing wells to increase production. Wells falling under permits issued between the enactment of the bill and January 1, 2030 must begin drilling before the end of 2032.  You can read a full article about the legislation and its impact here.

We are concerned about Economic Consequences, Energy Security and Reliability and Balancing Environmental Goals and Economic Viability.  We can appreciate a desire by many to modify current laws related to the production of oil and gas, but are very concerned that this bill goes too far and eliminates an industry that has proven to be incredibly important to the economic success of our entire state.

Colorado State University is continuing its Thematic Year of Democracy with another great event on April 30.  I hope to see you at Gather – Conversations to Inspire.  Donna Brazile will give the keynote speech at this annual event designed to celebrate the work and accomplishments of women in the CSU community. This year’s event will be an exploration of the Thematic Year of Democracy through the female lens. Donna Brazile is Political strategist, New York Times bestselling author, chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, award-winning media contributor, and was the first African American woman to serve as the manager of a major party presidential campaign, running the campaign of former Vice President Al Gore. The Keynote, and a panel discussion hosted by President Amy Parsons, will take place in the ballroom at the Lory Student Center.  Register here.

As many of you know, I am a tried and true CSU Ram Fan!  A special shout out to the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams on their exciting and inspiring seasons.  I’m a season ticket holder and an owner of more green and gold gear than should be allowed.  I had the great fortune to travel to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Tournament and followed that trip with a stop at the NCAA tournament in Charlotte, cheering the whole way.

Our friends at the Common Sense Institute released their latest report on the Caitlin Clark Effect highlighting the impact of sports & tourism on the economy.  Called Clarkonomics, the report is a detailed analysis of Caitlin Clark’s economic impact on the Iowa economy. From the court to the economy, Caitlin Clark’s impact on Iowa is both undeniable and remarkable. Her impact on Iowa’s economy has been significant in generating an estimated $82.5 million in increased community and state consumer spending.

CSI has quantified the significant impact of the sports and tourism industry and examined events including the Super Bowl, Spring Training, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and the National Western Stock Show. These events are not just a highlight for consumers, they are critical to the state and local economy.  Your Chamber is a member of the Common Sense Institute and are happy to share these insights with you on a regular basis.

Finally, hats off to our March Business of the Month – Chick-fil-A. This prestigious recognition celebrates and honors Chamber members who have been members for 10+ years and have been nominated by the Chamber Staff, Board, and the Red Carpet Committee.

Chick-fil-A was selected for its unwavering 24-year commitment to the Chamber. Their dedication and support have significantly contributed to the local business community.

“Chick-fil-A exemplifies excellence in service, quality, and community engagement,” said Ann Hutchison, Chamber President & CEO. “Their positive impact extends beyond their delicious food—We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Stevan Stein, Amy Draman, Breanda Lalka, Ken Osterberg, and their dedicated staff for their continuous support of the Chamber.”

Join us in celebrating Chick-fil-A as the March Business of the Month. The celebration will take place at the Chick-fil-A located at 3605 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80525, on Thursday, March 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., culminating with the presentation of their Business of the Month Plaque.