Land Development Code – Phase I Update

At its October 18, 2022 Regular Session, the Fort Collins City Council will consider modifications to the City Land Use Code, which defines in great detail how, where and what can be developed within the city.  Under this initial phase, staff will make recommendations to update the utility and readability of the document overall, while proposing significant changes related to residential development.  A second phase will consider modifications to commercial and industrial uses.  The Chamber, through its Land Use Code Task Force, has been heavily involved in this process and is highly supportive of staff recommendations.

Proposed changes have been considered under five guiding principles:

  • Increase overall housing capacity for market rate and subsidized inventory, while calibrating feasible incentives to encourage housing that targets low- and moderate-income households.
  • Enable greater affordability, especially near high frequency transit and priority growth areas.
  • Allow for more diverse housing choices that fit in with the existing context and/or future priority place types.
  • Make the code easier to use and understand.
  • Improve predictability of the development permit review process.

Key proposals include the allowance of accessory dwelling units (granny flats) in all residential and mixed-use zone districts; updating the Land Use Table to permit more housing types; adjust standards to enable more small-lot infill development; increase density in transit corridors and zones with the greatest amount of buildable land; reduce parking requirements for studio, one- and two-bedroom units; and, regulate building size and density through maximum floor area and form standards rather than the number of residential units.

To illustrate the effect of these recommendations, City staff estimates our current code will allow for the construction of 25,959 new dwelling units at full build-out within our jurisdictional boundaries.  With the proposed changes, 39,725 new units are possible.  However that number jumps to 53,106 if bonus incentives are fully utilized for the development of dwelling units that target households at or below 60% of area median income.

Additionally, proposed changes (including a name change of the document to the Land Development Code), would override restrictive covenants within development plans or homeowner association documents that prohibit or limit the effect of City regulations as it relates to density, height and occupancy of residential properties.  The code further introduces 10 new residential building types and modifies design requirements to improve the diversity and functionality of new developments.

Perhaps of greatest value, proposed changes expand the number and type of proposals that can be approved administratively.  This would reduce the number of proposals that are required to go before the Planning & Zoning Board, which provides greater predictability, a shorter process, and potentially less public acrimony.  Neighbors would still be allowed to comment on development proposals, though an administrative hearing officer is less inclined to negotiate modifications to a proposal for benefit of allaying the concerns of neighbors, nor is a hearing officer likely to apply personal biases that often occurs among the P&Z Board.

The proposed document is far easier to navigate and interpret with more meaningful illustrations for context and clarity.

The Chamber wishes to specifically congratulate City staff members Meaghan Overton, Housing Manager, and Noah Beals, Development Review Manager, for their thorough examination of the current code, thoughtful consideration of public input, and dogged determination to produce a document that serves our community well.

Chamber members are invited and encouraged to use your voice to let the Fort Collins City Council know that these changes are vital to our community’s ability to create housing for all.

 

Source: Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
October 10, 2022

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