Town News

Catch Up With Council, January 23, 2024 – Frisco Historic Park & Museum Land Use Plan Discussion, Two Work Force Housing Units For Sale, and an Ordinance Rezoning 101 West Main Street

Frisco Historic Park & Museum Land Use Plan Discussion

The 2024 budget includes a capital budget for a Frisco Historic Park and Museum land-use plan. The land on the block between Granite and Main Street and 1st and 2nd Avenues includes a number of properties belonging to the Town of Frisco, including the Frisco Historic Museum with its ten historic cabins and buildings, the Historic Park greenspace with a gazebo, the 1st and Main Building with two Town of Frisco workforce studio apartments and two office spaces with some storage on the bottom floor, a Quonset hut used for storage, and two Town of Frisco workforce one-bedroom units at 113 Granite Street. The impact and use of these properties is significant- the Historic Museum saw 34,574 visitors in 2023, and location analytics show that the greenspace alone saw over 37,000 visitors who visited a total of 47,000 times in the past twelve months.

1st and Main Building

The 1st and Main property is scheduled to be paid off in 2031 and has a current debt balance of $558,603. This property also includes a Quonset hut which is currently being used for event equipment storage along with some space in the interior of the 1st and Main Building being used for the same purpose after the loss of the event equipment storage in the Town Hall sally port, which is now part of the Police Department. The proximity of this storage to most major Town events has been vital in allowing staff to use resources more efficiently.

The Park, Events, and Public Art

The park greenspace hosts 12 Concerts in the Park each year, the Wassail Days tree lighting and fireworks, the annual Easter egg hunt, Trick or Treat Street, the L.A.P.S. 5k, the Run the Rockies half marathon and 10k road race start and finish, Fall Fest, the Summit Arts Council arts show, historic lectures, pop up historic programs such as silent discos and astronomy nights, Frisco History Day, the annual Green Team Repair Fair, Town Clean Up Day, 1st amendment gatherings such as the pride parade, and numerous weddings each year. This greenspace also hosts three pieces of public art, two sculptures and a mural.

Why a Land Use Plan?

A land-use plan was proposed for the 2024 budget because of the significance of these properties in the heart of Frisco and ongoing discussions between Town Council and staff about the future of the 1st and Main property and 113 Granite Street property, as well as the Museum. Also, the five-year Frisco Historic Park Master Plan (2019-2023) has one significant goal that has yet to be met, which is to “assemble an assessment team of TOF staff, museum colleagues, and community members to develop a strategy for long-term museum facilities, historic park land-use, and potential preservation projects.” It was subsequently determined that this would be an ideal moment to consider all of these properties as a whole with a cohesive planning process”.

The goal of this land-use planning process is to have a plan that is reflective of Town Council and community priorities, as well as being actionable and practical. The completed plan will include a project timeline and projected project costs which can be plugged into the capital plan to facilitate budgeting and subsequent future implementation of the plan.

In order to start building a solid foundation from the onset of this planning process, staff believes that before any request for proposal (RFP) is written and released, the process would greatly benefit from Council’s direction regarding the desired future uses of these properties and some boundaries around the assumptions and questions that Council would like the planning firm selected through the RFP process to consider.

Council had extensive discussion prompted by the questions posed in the staff memo and gave staff direction to move forward with writing a RFP with the following direction and guidance to be provided in the land-use plan RFP:

  • The primary goal of this planning process should be to enhance these properties for use as a historic museum and park/greenspace.
  • Housing does not need to be accommodated on this property, as it is being accommodated in other projects.
  • A planning consultant may consider whether the community would best be served by tearing down the 1st and Main building.
  • Enhancing and expanding the park/greenspace should be one of the primary goals of the planning process, and the majority of Council members were open to the planning/consulting team considering relocation of the gazebo if this better met community needs in this space.  
  • Additional public restrooms for Museum and event attendees should be considered in the planning process.
  • Some storage space, including climate controlled spaces for historic artifacts and limited space for event equipment regularly used in the park, may be considered as part of the planning process.
  • The Town currently has two historic buildings in storage, the Excelsior House which was acquired in 2017 and the Mansfield Cabin which was acquired in 2021. The plan does not need to accommodate these buildings in the Historic Park.
  • A flexible arts and culture space may be considered as part of the plan.

An Ordinance Rezoning from Mixed-Use to Planned Unit Development at 101 West Main Street

NHPF West Main, LLC, submitted an application proposing rezoning of site 101 West Main Street from Mixed-Use to Planned Unit Development (PUD), to encourage flexibility and innovation in the development of land and to provide relief from certain standards of the underlying zone district. The applicant is proposing to develop the site for 100% deed-restricted rental housing. The proposed PUD states that a minimum of 45 deed restricted, affordable rental units are required on site, servicing households up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), while allowing for minor deviations up to 100% AMI. To construct this type of development, the Town recognizes that factors such as high construction costs, high interest rates, and competitive state financing, are all barriers to providing rental units with the proposed Area Median Income (AMI) rental rates, as outlined in the staff report. To assist in alleviating these constraints, the applicant is utilizing the PUD rezoning as a method to provide the Town with a project that meets a high community need, while requesting certain relief from the Unified Development Code.

Pursuant to Town Code §180-2.4.1, rezoning requests are subject to two public hearings at the Planning Commission where the Planning Commission makes a recommendation to the Town Council. After such recommendation, the Town Council shall consider the rezoning ordinance at a public hearing where Town Council shall approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application.

The Planning Commission held a preliminary public hearing on November 16, 2023 to consider the proposed PUD plan in conjunction with a submitted sketch plan for the property. The applicant received feedback from the Planning Commission and revised the proposed PUD Plan. The Planning Commission held a final public hearing on January 4, 2024 where the Planning Commission recommended conditional approval of the application to Town Council. Should the proposed rezoning request, and PUD plan, be approved by Town Council, the applicant shall return to Planning Commission for final review of the major site plan.

For Town Council to approve the application and as required per UDC Section 180-2.4.2.D, the following criteria shall be met:

  1. That the project is beneficial or necessary for the economic development of Frisco; and
  2. That the application preserves or contributes to usable open space, and natural and scenic features (when open space is provided as a community benefit); or the applicant provides affordable work-force housing when housing is provided as the community benefit; and
  3. That the application achieves a compatibility of land uses with neighboring land uses; and
  4. That the modifications to the underlying zoning district by the project are in the best interest of the Town, and neighborhood in which the development is planned; and
  5. That the projected capacity to fully serve the project site(s) with water and sewer is available; and
  6. That Town services shall be provided in the most efficient manner practicable; and
  7. That more than one housing type, or housing price, or housing form of ownership (i.e. for sale and rental) to satisfy the needs of more than one segment of the community be provided (when residential uses are proposed); and
  8. That the project contributes amenities to the development itself, and to the community at large; and
  9. That an owner’s association is established to promote a sense of community and to ensure the continued existence of a viable entity responsible for maintenance of private open space and other similar duties; and
  10. That the project meets all of the applicable requirements of this Chapter that are not expressly varied in the final PUD plan, contributes to design aesthetics and layout, and promotes efficient use of land.

Because the applicant is proposing a community benefit, they are eligible to receive relief from certain requirements within the UDC if allowed by Town Council. The applicant is proposing the following exceptions to Frisco Town Code, Chapter 180, as written in the submitted PUD plan:

Ceiling Height

The applicant is proposing that the first-floor building height for structure(s) shall be nine feet in height, whereas the UDC states that 10 feet is required. Staff’s understanding of this requirement is that it was established in the UDC to ensure adequate ceiling heights for various commercial uses. Nine-foot height ceilings are still adequate for commercial uses and more ideal for office space which usually have nine-foot-high ceilings. With the ground floor being proposed for residential units and reduced commercial space, staff recommends support of this request as stated within the PUD.

Residential Uses in Central Core and Mixed-Use Districts

The applicant is proposing that ground floor residential uses shall be permitted as a use by right within this PUD designation, where the UDC states that residential uses in the MU zone district are permitted through conditional use approval. Section 180-4.3.1.B. of the Frisco Town Code states that any use that is allowed by right or by conditional use permit within the underlying zone district may be allowed in a PUD. Therefore, the PUD may state that ground floor residential uses on the property shall be permitted by right. Staff supports this request as stated within the PUD recognizing that there is a strong community need for affordable rental units and that by utilizing the ground floor, there will be an increased number of affordable rental units provided.

Mixture of Uses in the Mixed-Use Districts

The applicant is proposing that instead of the required minimum of 20% commercial space on the property, a minimum of 1,500 sq. ft (roughly 3.7% of the floor space) is provided. Staff supports this request as stated within the PUD recognizing that there is a strong community need for affordable rental units and that by reducing the commercial footprint, there will be an increased number of affordable rental units provided.

Parking and Loading Regulations

As is written in the Affordable Housing Incentive Program (AHIP) of the UDC, the applicant is proposing the following parking quantities:

  1. One-half parking space per unit for studios and one-bedroom units, one parking space per unit for two-bedroom units, and two parking spaces per unit for three bedrooms or greater. One visitor parking space is required for every seven dwelling units in the development.
  2. On-street parking would be utilized. Required parking, excluding ADA and handicap accessible spaces, may be accommodated on streets proximate to the property, on a one-for-one basis, subject to construction of any needed improvements, and Town approval of an acceptable agreement to ensure adequate maintenance and snow removal procedures and a permit system for resident use.
  3. Car-sharing service is being proposed. Each car-sharing space provided shall count as four parking spaces, up to 20% of the parking requirement. The car-sharing program details and agreement shall be provided as part of the major site plan application and shall include provisions and alternative options to ensure operation for the duration of the project.

Landscaping and Revegetation Requirements

The applicant is proposing that the landscaping for the site shall be in conformance with the Town Code, with the following exceptions:

  1. Plant material quantities may be reduced by up to 20% from the requirement per §180-6.14.3.
  2. Species mix may be increased to a 50% maximum for each species, and minimum tree caliper size may be reduced to 50% of the caliper size requirement in §180- 6.14.4.

Snow Storage and Snow Shedding

The applicant is proposing that snow storage shall be accommodated on the property at the rate identified in the UDC. The applicant had originally requested that snow storage be allowed off-site, however, that was not approved per Public Works requirements. The applicant has since worked with Public Works to allow snow storage within the proposed water quality infiltration area that is located between 15 feet and 25 feet of the 100-year floodplain. No snow storage or detentions facilities shall be allowed within 15 feet of the 100-year floodplain. Staff supports the applicant’s snow storage request, as this is supported by the Town Engineer.

Non-Residential Development Standards

The applicant is proposing that the PUD utilize the design guidelines per §180-6.22 Residential Development Standards, rather than §180-6.21 Non-Residential Development Standards. While the design standards are the same as the Residential Development Standards in the UDC, the applicant has written all standards within the PUD to provide further clarification. The PUD states that a minimum of four building elements are required to provide articulation. This is an increase from the two that are required in the Affordable Housing Incentive Program.

Bulk Standards

The applicant is proposing that bulk plane encroachments shall be allowed up to 1,000 cubic feet per 10,000 square feet of lot area. The Affordable Housing Incentive Program allows bulk plane encroachments of up to the ratio of 500 cubic feet per 10,000 square feet of lot area. The PUD also states that bulk plane encroachments may be allowed for livable spaces.

After extensive discussion about parking, design, AMI, and commercial space requirements, Town Council voted to table the vote on this ordinance to the February 13, 2024 meeting.

Selling Two Town Purchased Units through Housing Helps

Resolution 19-31 established the framework for the Frisco Housing Helps Program, which was approved by Town Council on August 27, 2019. Housing Helps was implemented to help locals obtain and maintain affordable housing, help businesses house their employees, incentivize investment in local housing, and help preserve the character of the Frisco community. Housing Helps is one strategy that strives to address Town Council’s priority goal to implement housing solutions.

In 2023, the Town of Frisco purchased three residential unit under the Housing Helps program: a two bedroom condominium located at 220 Galena Street, Unit 4, a two-bedroom condominium located at 220 Galena Street, Unit 3, and a two-bedroom condominium located at 519 Teller Street, Unit 7. The intent of these purchases is for the Town to purchase market rate units, establish deed restriction on the properties, and then sell each property based on the most recent Area Median Income (AMI) limits. At this time, two units are proposed to be sold, while one unit (220 Galena Unit 3) is currently being used for Town employee housing.

Per the Colorado Revised Statutes section 31-15-713(b), the Town must authorize the selling of real property by ordinance. Staff is evaluating future buy back purchases that would be initiated by Frisco Housing Authority, which would eliminate the need for future council authorization.

Housing Helps Program Guidelines

As currently established within the Housing Helps Program, the Town has several options in addressing workforce housing. One of which is to purchase market rate units, adding a workforce and/or income-based deed restriction to the property, then reselling the unit at an appropriate AMI based cost.

Per the adopted Housing Helps Program, the deed restriction established for both units qualifies a “resident” & “qualified owner” as a “person or dependent who at the time of purchase of a unit, and at all times during ownership or occupancy of the property, earns his or her living from a business operating within one mile of the Ten Mile Basin within Summit County, by working at such business an average of at least 30 hours per week on an annual basis”.

Additionally, an AMI deed restriction has been set for both units at 100% AMI. The AMI selection was based on unit size, Town investment costs, community need, and the Town’s commitment to Proposition 123 which supports increasing the amount of affordable housing. Therefore, a qualified owner’s income based on a 2-bedroom may not exceed $99,800, and the maximum sale price of these units is $421,946.

Lottery & Brokerage Services

In cooperation with the Summit Combined Housing Authority (SCHA) and Omni Real Estate, a lottery system has been developed to select potential buyers for the units. The lottery that will be utilized is similar to what was used at Silverthorne’s Smith Ranch project. Both units will have individual lotteries to select the order in which qualified applicants will have the opportunity to purchase a unit. SCHA will assist the Town by receiving and processing applications from prospective buyers. Once an applicant has been qualified by SCHA, the applicant will receive one or two tickets based on criteria established in the lottery system. Those criteria are:

  1. Applicant(s) work for a business or organization operating within one mile of the Ten Mile Basin (in summary- Copper; Frisco, including the hospital, County Commons; and the middle school, and Farmer’s Corner, including the high school) and average 30 hours per week on an annual basis will receive one ticket.
  2. An additional entry into the lottery will be given to applicants currently living or working in the Town of Frisco and who have done so continuously for at least one year prior to the date of application. Frisco employment must be an average of 30 hours per week on an annual basis within the Town limits. Current residency must be within the Town limits. Applicants meeting one or both priority criteria will receive a total of one additional entry in the lottery. In summary, there will be a two-entry maximum per applicant.

The lottery event will be held at Summit County Commons and will be streamed on Facebook Live by SCHA. Lottery results will be posted on the SCHA Facebook page, SCHA website, and the Town of Frisco website.

All qualifying applications will have individual numbers generated and placed into a receptacle which will be drawn at random. Entries will be chosen until all have been counted. Applicants will have 24 hours from the time they are initially contacted to select a unit. From that point the applicants selected will have 48 hours from the selection date to return a fully executed purchase and sale agreement.

The Town’s real estate broker, Omni Real Estate, will assist the Town in processing all legal agreements, providing disclosures, communicating with clients, marketing, and holding open houses for prospective buyers. Omni Real Estate will be retaining the open listing for each property for 10 calendar days. The Town will also communicate the availability of both properties.

Tentative schedule which is subject to change for listing both properties and the lottery:

  • February 16- Listing to go live for 10 days, with an open house scheduled during that time
  • March 4 or 5- Possible lottery drawing dependent on how many applications are received

Town Council approved Ordinance 24-02 on the first reading, and second reading will be on February 13, 2024.

Frisco Town Council Meetings: Ways to Participate

Frisco Town Council meetings are available to view via Zoom and YouTube, and are also held in person to make Town Council meetings easier to access for everyone.

The public can provide comment during meetings via Zoom or in person (not YouTube), and a public comment period will be available at 7:00pm; during the consideration of ordinances; and at the discretion of Town Council during work session items, which are discussions that don’t require a formal vote by Town Council and do not require public comment. Again, this hybrid approach is intended to make Town Council meetings more accessible, and meeting recordings will typically also be made available the day after a meeting in the meeting archive with agenda topics bookmarked to the discussions in the video.