Fort Collins Council Pushing for FAR Restrictions – Again

As reported late last year, after ignoring a consultant’s report at a work session, a few members of the Fort Collins City Council requested that an option to restrict FAR on residential additions or scrape-offs be added to a strategy plan to designed to protect the character of the East Side/West Side Neighborhoods adjacent to Old Town Fort Collins. This decision was made in spite of the fact that the Council repealed the FAR restrictions it had passed in 2011 following a successful citizen initiative.

Granted, the latest proposal is not quite as severe as the .27 percent FAR implemented by ordinance on Feb. 1, 2011. Staff is suggesting a change from the currently permitted 0.40 maximum FAR in the N-C-L zone district and 0.50 in the N-C-M zone using a multiplier. A lot less than 5,000 SF would be allowed .40 FAR. A lot 5,000 SF or larger would be allowed .20 FAR plus 1,000 SF. In the NCM zone, a lot of 4,000 SF or less would be allowed. 50 FAR. Lots larger than that would be allowed .25 FAR plus 1,000 SF. Lots greater than 6,000 SF would also be allowed a 250 SF accessory structure (such as a garage).

It remains to be seen if this proposal is constitutional or if it violates the City Charter. FAR restrictions can be couched in design standards or in a neighborhood character study, but that does not change their effect. From an observer’s point of view, it is interesting that none of the documents pertaining to the latest “strategies” ever refers to the FAR ordinance repealed in 2011. It’s as though that ordinance never existed.

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