Mediation Program

El Programa de la Mediacion de la Comunidad (PDF)

What kinds of issues are involved in Community Mediation? Program Information
How does the process of mediation work? What are the advantages to mediation?
How long does it take? What does it cost?
Where do you hold the mediation sessions? Who needs to be there?
What about confidentiality? Can you explain mediation to the person I'm in conflict with?
Is our agreement enforceable? What if we don't reach an agreement?
Landlord/tenant disputes Municipal Court Mediation Program
Mediation Program Contact Info and Resources  

Have you ever noticed that the things our neighbors do - from the way they mow (or don't mow) their lawns, to the way they let their dog bark all night long - can often be an irritation and source of hostility? Often times, these minor annoyances are not addressed and silent resentment begins to build, leading to additional frustration, anger, and the threat of potential retaliation. Talking with your neighbor may be a way to reduce the tension and solve the problem, but there are times when neighbors simply can't work out their disputes and must find some way to live together despite their differences.

That is where the City of Fort Collins Community Mediation Program comes in. With the guidance of professionally trained and certified mediators, neighbors can come together in a neutral setting to resolve their dispute in a way that fosters creativity, communication and compromise. The effectiveness of mediation is directly related to the participants' willingness to settle their differences permanently, without the cost and hassle of the alternatives (lawsuits, police action, relocation, retaliation). Because the dispute-solving process is active, requiring the consent and satisfaction of both parties, agreements reached in mediation are considered binding.

What kinds of issues are resolved in Community Mediation?

  • Noise
  • Pets
  • Property maintenance
  • Common area disputes
  • Youth/Family disturbances
  • Parking space problems
  • Cross-cultural confrontations
  • Renters/homeowner conflicts
  • Housemate disputes
  • Safety and environmental concerns
  • Landlord/tenant disputes

How does the process of mediation work?

A simple phone call or office visit gets the process moving. If mutually agreeable, a time will be set to resolve the conflict at a neutral territory. At the meeting, both parties will be asked to explain their feelings and concerns about the situation. Next, the mediators will assist the parties in finding a solution that is determined by and agreed upon by both.

The process, while informal, will be considered binding as a final written agreement will be drafted and enforced by those who sign it (unless otherwise stated in the agreement).

If an agreement cannot be reached in one or two mediation sessions, or if a dispute lies beyond the boundaries of this community service, alternative resources will be recommended.

What are the advantages to mediation?

  • Solutions tend to last over time because the people affected by the decisions are the ones making them.
  • Mediation is successful over 85% of the time when both parties actively participate.
  • All information about the dispute remains confidential; this process will not result in police or court records unless specified in case documentation.
  • The community mediation program is a free, informal service, led by volunteer, professionally-trained mediators who will act as neutral agents to bring about a mutually acceptable solution.
  • The voluntary resolution of problems builds cooperation, positive attitudes and stronger relationships with others... all leading toward a stronger neighborhood and community. The costs of alternative dispute resolution services are generally much higher in both time and money. Community mediation is free to all City residents.

How long does it take?

Generally, to mediate a conflict between two neighbors or two individuals takes one session, or about two hours. Conflict between neighborhood organizations and businesses often takes several meetings.

What does it cost?

Mediation sessions are free and actually save a tremendous amount of potential cost in legal bills and time.

Where do you hold the mediation sessions?

We meet in a safe, convenient and neutral place. We have used libraries, conference rooms and police stations. We will ask you what is convenient for you.

Who needs to be there?

The people involved in the conflict need to be there. It is not necessary to bring legal representation. If you feel you need legal representation present, please call us. We do allow attorneys, but we generally ask them not to participate in the actual mediation discussions.

What about confidentiality?

All conversations, information and records are confidential as outlined in Colorado Statute 13-22-301. It is protected from discovery through the judicial process. We do not allow tape recorders.

Can you explain mediation to the person I'm in conflict with?

Yes, we will call all the parties involved, explain mediation and attempt to get their agreement and consent to be involved in the process.

Is our agreement enforceable?

Yes. See below.

What if we don't reach an agreement?

If you are unable to reach an agreement, your mediators will assist you in writing up a summary of the issues and identify where there is agreement, if any, and where there is not agreement. Your mediators will also suggest alternative resources or courses of action.

Landlord/tenant disputes - The Community Mediation Program accepts landlord/tenant disputes for mediation. To be sure certain your dispute is eligible for mediation, you can consult theLandlord/Tenant Handbook. (7846k) This is an Adobe Acrobat file, which is available free from Adobe Systems.

 

Municipal Court Mediation Program

  • Are you involved in a municipal code violation?
  • Would you be willing to work out your conflict by engaging in a creative process that results in an alternative resolution?
  • Do you want an opportunity to present you side fairly and without penalty of judgment?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be eligible for the Municipal Court Mediation Program.

Common Complaints:

  • Noise
  • Animals
  • Trespasses
  • Property Maintenance
  • Minor Harassments
  • Petty Thefts

How Does it Work?

If both the complaining party and the defendant agree to mediation, the case will be sent to a team of co-mediators who facilitate an agreement between the parties.

If the terms of the mediation agreement are fulfilled within a set time frame, the original charge is dismissed.

Mediations will be confidential and offered as a free dispute resolution service for qualified participants.

Community Mediation Contact Information and Resources

For more information about this program, contact:

Jenny Kidd, Community Mediation Program Coordinator
City of Fort Collins
Neighborhood Services Office
281 North College
Fort Collins, CO 80522-0580
Phone (970) 224-6022
Fax (970) 224-6050

Want to learn more about alternative dispute resolution programs and services?

The Fort Collins Community Mediation Program is a member of the National Association for Community Mediations. Check out its website for additional information and resources.

Other links you may find helpful:

 

Colorado State Univrsity