Land Use Code Update – Housing Impact

At is Work Session June 14, the Fort Collins City Council received a status report on recommended changes to the Land Use Code, which defines in great detail how our community is developed.  Whereas every parcel of land within the City and its Growth Management Area is subject to zoning designations that describe in general terms what types of development and uses can occur, the Land Use Code (the “Code”) provides specific guidance as to the density, mass, height, access, intensity of use and relationship to surrounding properties of each parcel, among many other details.

The effort to consider these changes emanated from the Housing Strategic Plan (HSP), which was adopted by Council in March 2021.  Among 27 recommendations, the HSP calls for revisiting the Code to determine whether it is aligned with visionary documents such as City Plan and supporting subarea plans, and whether the Code supports the provision of a diverse, equitable and inclusive housing stock that is affordable across the income spectrum.  The Chamber formed a task group of members highly familiar with the Code to work with City staff and its consultants in developing formal recommendations to Council.  This collaboration has proven very effective.

Though formal action will not take place until after a legal review and formal community engagement process, city staff provided general themes and specific examples of recommended changes. Read the full staff report here.  Aside from seeking a Code document that is more accessible, easier to understand and clearer picture of the desired outcome, the guiding principals behind the changes include:

  • Allow more diverse housing choices that fit in with the existing context and future priority place types.
  • Increase overall housing capacity and calibrate market-feasible incentives for affordable housing.
  • Enable more affordability, especially near high frequency/capacity transit and priority growth areas.

Based upon specific proposals, the capacity for residential development would increase by 53% citywide and 63% within transit corridors.  This means the maximum number of dwelling units that could be developed within the city would be greatly expanded while allowing for greater diversity of housing types to serve a growing population.

Though recommendations were not universally embraced, a majority of Councilmembers expressed support for the proposed modifications.  However, there remains a strong and vocal contingency within the community advocating for slower growth and preservation of status quo.  Therefore, we encourage our members to contact your Council representative to express support for what will be known as the Land Development Code.

Source: Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
June 27, 2022