Government Affairs: Fort Collins

March 08, 2019

FCBR Announces City Council Endorsements

Following candidate interviews by a committee of FCBR members, the Association’s Board of Directors approved recommendations to endorse four candidates: Incumbent Mayor Wade Troxell, REALTOR® Adam Eggleston (District 2), incumbent Kristin Stephens (District 4) and Emily Gorgol (District 6). FCBR is not endorsing any candidates running for the District 1 seat.

More information about the endorsed candidates is available here:
Wade Troxell
Adam Eggleston
Kristin Stephens
Emily Gorgol

Outdoor Fire Pit Ordinance

The City Council took the first step towards controlling the smoke from outdoor wood burning on March 5 with the unanimous passage of an ordinance on first reading. The ordinance will make violations a civil offense. It requires a 10:00 pm curfew as well as a 15-foot property line setback. It is important to note the ordinance will not regulate barbeque grills or other wood-burning devices used to cook food.

In May 2017, Council identified backyard fire pits as a priority issue, prompting efforts to explore policy options to mitigate potential smoke impacts on air quality and public health as well as improve neighborhood livability. The resulting ordinance included public outreach and multiple Council work session discussions.

After the first year following implementation, staff will evaluate the program looking at data related to the such as the number of complaints and the nature of the complaints (health, smell, etc.). Staff also intends to do extensive public education on the issue, hoping that better understanding related to the health impacts of wood smoke (particulate pollution) will encourage better compliance.

Staff also wants to offer incentives such as rebates for replacing wood-burning devices with those powered by propane. It should also be noted that there is some indication the City plans to regulate indoor wood-burning devices in the future, as has happened in some other Colorado cities and towns.  In Aspen, for example, new wood-burning fireplaces have been prohibited since the late 1980s.

Staff had originally suggested a midnight curfew for wood burning, but the Council decided that was too late. Ray Martinez argued for a 10:00 pm curfew while Ross Cunniff thought 9:00 pm was reasonable. Kristin Stephens said, “A lot of people in my district don’t want the City to do anything” and suggested that aggressive education is important, explaining, “Without education, it’s a hard sell.” The public hearing for the ordinance is scheduled for March 19.

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