On August 15th, Fort Collins City Council will be voting on revisions to its Obstruction Ordinance. In part, this revised ordinance would prohibit sitting, kneeling, or lying within 20 feet of a business entrance anywhere in Fort Collins, "whether or not a particular person's passageway has, in fact, been impeded." In effect, this law makes it illegal to rest on sidewalks throughout most of the downtown area.
Every human being needs rest to survive. Laws that criminalize resting, sitting, lying down, and other universal human behaviors target the most vulnerable among us, violating human rights and pushing already-marginalized groups out of public spaces.
For this ordinance to be improved, City Council needs to hear from you. Please write to email@example.com and tell them that our community can do better than this.
Here's a sample letter to help. Additional arguments can be found at http://fccan.org/obstruction-ordinance-talking-points, and including your own experiences is always valuable.
Dear City Leaders,
Our city did not want a sit-lie ban last February, and we don't want an obstruction ordinance that bans sitting and lying throughout such a large amount of our town now. Laws like this target the most vulnerable among us, and contribute to the criminalization of unhoused people.
I ask that you revise the Obstruction Ordinance to include the following changes:
Reduce the 20 ft zone to the ADA recommended 6 ft
Keep the ordinance focused on actual behavior by striking this portion:
[obstruction] "shall include, but not be limited to, sitting, kneeling, or lying within twenty (20) feet of the entrance to any business establishment during the business hours of that establishment, whether or not a particular person's passageway has, in fact, been impeded."
Fort Collins is an inclusive community, our laws should reflect that. Let's make this ordinance better together.