Candidate Questionnaire: Nick Armstrong for Fort Collins District 1

Fort Collins Voter Guide Questionnaire: The city can best improve the Connexion roll-out process by doing what, in your opinion?

Nick Armstrong: Connexion should commit to 100% transparency. Give neighbors and neighborhoods an estimated timeline for roll-out so neighbors can plan their contracts accordingly. Up-front competition is not something to worry about when the long-term gain is clear: affordable, symmetrical gig-speed internet far outstrips what other providers can offer in most neighborhoods. Partner with HOAs and apartment complexes to expand service quickly as a default. Partner with other internet providers to expand the network outside the City and deliver high-speed broadband to our County neighbors who live in FoCo but not “in” City Limits (Mulberry, Country Club, outlying areas of FoCo).

Citizens are concerned about Covid’s impact on education, downtown, community engagement, renters rights, workers rights, students, and local families. Where do you think the City of Fort Collins can do a better job of addressing the impact of Covid on our community?

The City has a few levers to pull, the best of all would be creative collaborations and connections with service providers and non-profits in our City to identify gaps and overlaps and correct those, and then expand programs like Neighbor2Neighbor, identify our most vulnerable neighbors on the cusp of homelessness, and work to support them (either through job training, placement, or service programs). I’m a huge fan of FDR’s Works Progress Administration and believe we could do something similar in Fort Collins to augment our City’s infrastructure and connectivity while bolstering the economy and quality of life in Fort Collins.

image | nickforfoco.com

What do you see as Fort Collins’ greatest ecological challenge in the next four years, a concern particularly strong among students and young people. How do you believe we should face it?

We see the impacts in District 1 of poor infrastructure with an over-emphasis on car travel. Neighborhoods are disconnected, disenfranchised, and there are significant book, park, service, and food deserts. This has horrendous effects on equity, quality of life, our economy, and our environment as everyone has to drive everywhere to get to work, school, or play. This over-dependence on cars and over-emphasis on single-use concrete pads to store them is probably our single-greatest challenge to face as a City in the next 15 years. Concurrently, we must address water waste, the tree canopy, and walkability.

Do you plan to vote for or against the ballot measure that calls for the City of Fort Collins to attempt to buy the Hughes Stadium property and turn it into open space?

I plan to vote against the measure.

What is your strategy for maintaining and increasing open space in Fort Collins?

Open space must be protected not just for wildlife but also for our mental health. Mindful connectivity and community planning is required to ensure property values don’t spiral out of control, housing is both affordable and obtainable, and our connectivity and infrastructure is both suitable and useful. Partnering with new community developers to establish natural areas and open space, collaborating with HOAs/Metro Districts to establish the tree canopy and reduce water usage, and building out the trail network as a first step to building communities is a fantastic way to avoid sprawl. We currently do these in reverse.

Where will you focus your energy in regards to improving public transportation in Fort Collins, particularly in regards to helping those who commute from the suburbs, students, and cyclists?

Fort Collins’ transit infrastructure is overtaxed and the externalities are spilling into every aspect of our lives. Infrastructure is required to offset book, food, park, and service deserts while also providing safe access to nature, schools, parks, work, and services that can be biked or walked to. This has been a consistent struggle for corner districts of Fort Collins historically joining two necessities: the City’s short-sighted emphasis on developers to create connectivity and the desire of neighbors to slow growth. Both extremes create the rampant externalities we now face. Let’s flip the script and figure out infrastructure as a team.

Do you believe that Boulder serves as a good model for how Fort Collins should grow? (Yes or no)

No.

Can we mitigate the negative impacts of growth while also building up Fort Collins’ affordable housing stock — and if so, how?

Mindful development is required to connect areas of Fort Collins that are currently disconnected, and those updates have to be supported by neighbors, HOAs, local businesses, local services, the City, and in many cases the County to make things cohesive, walkable, and useable. Without those partnerships and teamwork, there’s nothing BUT negative impacts and sprawl is the result. We cannot allow that to become the future of Fort Collins – we must work hard to eliminate park, food, book, and service deserts in Fort Collins.

What is the one initiative you would most enthusiastically support that you believe would increase access to quality affordable housing in Fort Collins?

Modifications to U+2 and re-zoning. Tiny home communities are also a useful exercise in this endeavor and can be mindfully connected into nature (see WeeCasa in Lyons). Land banks and increased collaboration with property owners and community builders to establish MINDFUL density improvements that reduce environmental and equity impacts.

Would you vote to fully repeal U + 2? (Yes or no)

No.

Would you vote to expand U + 2 to Me + 3? (Yes or no)

Yes.

Would you support a “right size” housing policy that matches occupancy limits to number of bedrooms? (Yes or no)

Yes.

Would you support a rental registry program in Fort Collins?

Yes.

For more on this candidate, you can visit their website here.

Methodology: A two question survey asking Fort Collins citizens which issues are important to them on the local level this upcoming cycle was shared on Fort Collins Reddit, in Fort Collins Craigslist, and with members of the Rocky Mountain Collegian & ASCSU for further dispersal. These avenues were chosen in an attempt to reach informed and engaged citizens of Fort Collins who might not be the ‘regular suspects’ who typically receive and respond to such surveys, but who nonetheless represent important and cross-sectional constituencies. Respondents could list multiple issues. No issues were prompted. There were 61 total responses to the survey. These questions are based on the seven issues citizens referenced most in the survey data, with issues referenced by three or more respondents chosen as question categories. Questions here are phrased in a way that most directly reflects the wording and perceived intent of survey respondents, while also pointing candidates toward revealing specific policy values. To see full responses, click here for the organized raw data.

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