Town News

Catch Up with Council, January 12, 2021 – Nonprofit Grants Presentation, Childcare Discussion, Historic Resources Survey, Disposable Bag Phaseout, Unified Development Code Updates, Cell Tower Installation, COVID Response

Nonprofit Grants 2021 Presentation

Town Council affirmed their ongoing commitment to the nonprofits which support the needs of the community by presenting $70,600 in cash grants and more than $17,000 in in-kind donations to the 2021 nonprofit grant recipients. The past year has been particularly challenging for nonprofit organizations due to increased demand for services and/or less opportunities to raise funds due to the cancellation of many fundraising events. In response to annual Countywide grant requests from nonprofit organizations in Summit County, Frisco Town Council still opted to support many applicants, while reducing grant amounts to honor a more conservative 2021 budget. Council applied criteria such as benefit to Frisco and Summit County residents, past allocations, an organization’s results from Frisco supported programs, and alignment with Town of Frisco strategic goals, while considering if and how much funding to distribute to an organization. Council reiterated their gratitude to all the local nonprofits that continue to serve the community.

Childcare Discussion

Town Council discussed the availability and affordability of childcare in Frisco and considered strategies for making childcare more affordable and available, as Council confirmed that childcare is vital to supporting and retaining year round residents and workforce. For many years, Frisco Town Council has provided direct financial support to Frisco’s only privately managed preschool, Summit County Preschool. Summit County Preschool serves 70 preschool-aged children, about half of which are the children of Frisco residents or employees of businesses located in the Frisco/Copper area. The Town provides a yearly financial contribution of $65,000 on average to Summit County Preschool to support this vital service for families.

While there are several funding mechanisms through the State, Summit County, and Summit School District to reduce or eliminate childcare costs for families earning less than 85% of the area median income (AMI), the cost of childcare for local families remains prohibitive among residents and employees of local businesses, and particularly for families, which make just over the amount to qualify for assistance.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Council directed staff to do more research, including a survey, regarding childcare needs, challenges, and possible long term solutions in Frisco in order to make strategic policy and funding decisions to better support families. Staff will return with findings to facilitate more discussion and inform long range policy and funding decisions within the next few months.

Historic Resources Survey – Presentation of Final Draft Report

Staff and Suzannah Reid of Reid Architects, Inc presented Town Council with the results of a historical survey project, which was commissioned by the Town in 2019 to gather baseline information on historic resources within the Town. The survey evaluates buildings through property record research, visual review, and other historic information about historic owners and construction dates to determine how each individual property fits into the broader context of Frisco history and if enough integrity remains to continue to tell the story of Frisco. To help fund this project, the Town received a grant from the State Historical Fund (SHF) in 2019, in the amount of $21,496, which covered approximately 75% of the survey costs. The Town’s contribution was $7,165.

The survey process consisted of several steps including public outreach, research on regional historic trends and context, developing criteria for inclusion in the survey, conducting site visits and inventories of selected properties, and the preparation of a detailed report on the final selected properties.

The final survey consists of two parts:

While the information compiled for the historic resource survey is valuable in its own right as a historical record and can also inform decisions on programs related to historic preservation, the survey project is for informational purposes only and has no regulatory effect. However, Frisco’s land use code, the Unified Development Code (UDC), offers an incentive based approach to preservation and redevelopment of historic structures. The current regulations are based on a Historic Overlay District zoning designation intended to encourage voluntary preservation of historic buildings, preferably on the original site.

Town Council directed staff to submit the final draft survey report to the SHF. Once the final report has been approved and accepted by the SHF, staff will return to Council for a work session discussion on preservation programs and potential UDC amendments to the Historic Overlay District.

First Reading Ordinance 21­01, Disposable Bag Ban

Council passed upon first reading, with amendments regarding penalties, Ordinance 2101, which will ban disposable plastic bags and paper bags with less than 40 percent post-consumer recycled material and continue a single-use bag fee of $.25 for paper bags only, which contain more than 40 percent post-consumer recycled material. Restaurants will now be included in this program, which is a departure from the original bag fee program passed in 2019, which exempted restaurants.

On January 1, 2020, the Town of Frisco began collecting a single-use bag fee in order to discourage the use of disposable bags and reduce waste, yet many disposable single-use bags are still being used and end up in landfills, litter the environment, use precious resources, impede drainage systems, and impact wildlife.

At the December 8, 2020 meeting, Council directed Town staff to return to Council with a plastic bag ban ordinance without exemptions for thicker plastic bags. A ban on single-use plastic bags and paper bags with less than 40 percent post-consumer recycled material will address environmental concerns, while still allowing businesses to offer their customers single-use paper bags with over 40 percent post-consumer recycled material that are recyclable and more biodegradable than plastic bags. To stay consistent with the Towns of Breckenridge and Dillon and to allow businesses to plan for this change and to use current bag inventories, the proposed ordinance would not go into effect until September 2021 if passed by Frisco Town Council upon second reading during the January 26, 2021 Town Council meeting.

Second Reading of Ordinance 20­23 Amending of The Unified Development Code

Council approved upon second reading Ordinance 2023. In order to support Town Council’s Strategic Plan goals related to implementing the Climate Action Plan and Water Efficiency Plan, staff has been pursuing building and land use code revisions in collaboration with a multi-jurisdictional task force facilitated by the High Country Conservation Center (HC3). These updates will bring better consistency between the Sustainable Building Code update, adopted in April 14, 2020, and the land use code. These updates will also add another layer of sustainable strategies to the land use code. HC3 and local planners reviewed general land use and development code requirements designed to promote sustainability through transportation, water efficiency, water quality, waste diversion, and solar readiness.

On June 9, 2020, a preliminary list of sustainable land use code amendment topics was presented to Council for consideration. At that meeting, the Council provided feedback and requested that staff solicit additional feedback on the code revisions from developers, builders, architects, and landscapers who may be impacted by the updates.

Staff presented the building professionals’ feedback to Council at the September 8, 2020 meeting where Town Council directed staff to develop draft code language in support of the sustainable land use code recommendations and hold a public hearing with the Planning Commission to review the same. Planning Commission held a public hearing on November 5, 2020 to consider the proposed text amendments to the Unified Development Code (“UDC”). The Planning Commissioners recommended approval of the proposed code amendments with four modifications regarding a soil survey for development on steep slopes, electric vehicle parking, snow storage in wetland areas, and dumpster enclosures for multi-family developments.

Second Reading Ordinance 20­24, Lease Agreement with New Cingular Wireless (AT&T) for the Installation and Maintenance of Cell Antennas

Council approved upon second reading a lease agreement with AT&T enabling two cellar antennas on the Frisco Public Works building. After receiving significant feedback from residents about issues with AT&T cell service in Frisco this summer, Town staff contacted AT&T’s regional external affairs staff regarding these issues, resulting in AT&T returning to the Town with a plan to install antennas in two Frisco location: two at the Public Works building on School Road and two at the Summit Fire & EMS station on South 8th Avenue.

These installations are intended take pressure off of the macro tower on Dillon Dam Road, and subsequently, improve service in Frisco. These antennas could remain as long as needed, but could also be easily removed if needed.

AT&T will be responsible for the antennas’ electrical power consumption, connectivity/internet service, and maintenance. On January 13, 2021, the Town of Frisco issued the building permit for the AT&T antennas at Public Works, which AT&T and Community Development had been working on in anticipation of the possible approval of the lease agreement. Permits for the installation of the antennas at the Fire Station on 8th Avenue (the second location for AT&T service improvement work) have already been issued, and installation timelines are dependent on AT&T.

General Discussion / Action on COVID­19 Response

Update on Frisco Business Assistance Grant Program

During a special Town Council meeting on December 21, Town Council approved an emergency resolution, which dedicated a total of $500,000 to two grant programs, the Frisco General Business Assistance Grant Program and the Frisco Business Innovation Grant Program. The grant program recognizes that some businesses have been more severely impacted than other businesses throughout this pandemic, and therefore, the General Business Assistance Grant is a tiered program designed to help businesses who need the most support. Grant funding is based on loss of gross revenue or sales from January 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020, as compared to the same time frame in 2019, and rent or mortgage amounts.

Town Council also approved the Business Innovation Grant Program to support businesses, which have made innovative investments during the COVID-19 pandemic and pivoted quickly to adapt to public health orders. The Innovation Grant offers up to $5,000 per business as reimbursement of expenses incurred for structural and/or technical improvements.

As of January 12, 2021, 69 grant applications were in various stages of progress and completion, and the Town of Frisco had awarded $190,253 in grant money. After discussion, Council asked staff to return to the January 26, 2021 Town Council meeting with an amendment to the grant program resolution, which would extend the Innovation Grant application deadline, which is currently January 31, 2021, to encourage businesses to continue to innovate due to changing COVID-19 conditions and seek reimbursement through the Frisco Innovation Grant program.

Love Frisco, Winter Frisco

The shop local Love Frisco, Winter Frisco program is in its final days and has been successful at spurring local spending in many Frisco businesses. 2,810 bonus and purchased e-gift cards with a collective value of $180,700 have been issued since November 15, 2020 when the winter iteration of this shop/stay/eat local program was re-started by Town Council, and $109,027 have already been spent at 59 different local businesses. There are just over $3,000 out of the original $125,000 in bonus funding remaining in this program ending on January 15, 2021. Customers have until March 31, 2021 to spend their bonus e-gift cards and purchased e-gift cards will never expire.