Town News

Catch Up with Council, November 14, 2023 – Police Take Home Vehicles, Compensation for Mayor, Council Members, and Planning Commission Members, Lake Hill Water Request, and More

Frisco Town Council Meets with Frisco Sanitation District to Discuss Lake Hill

On July 13, 2023, the Town received an Extra-Territorial (out of Town boundaries) Water Application from Summit County for the Lake Hill Housing project. The request is for 440.8 EQR’s; an EQR is the typical amount of water resources used by a typical single-family residence. The application indicated that phase II of the Lake Hill project could require an additional 384.2 EQR’s. Summit County indicated that it is unknown when phase II would be built. Currently, the application for phase I is only being considered, which consists of 440.8 EQR’s to accommodate 438 residential units, a daycare, and a community center. Included with the application was payment of the required fees, a project narrative, and a drawing indicating how the proposed development would use the property.

During the October 24, 2023 work session, Town staff and Council met to discuss the details of the application, which included a draft schedule, traffic impact study, development impact study, fiscal impact and cost of services analysis, and water and waste water review, which will all be used to help inform the formulation of an agreement with Summit County. Town Council subsequently asked staff to coordinate a joint work session with the Frisco Sanitation District Board and staff leadership.

During this Frisco Town Council work session meeting on November 14, Council met with the Frisco Sanitation District Board and staff in an executive session and a work session meeting, to ensure that all entities are working together to understand the interests each entity represents in Frisco; the Frisco Sanitation District is a separate entity, not under the jurisdiction of the Town of Frisco. This joint meeting between Frisco Town Council and the Frisco Sanitation District Board allowed Frisco Town Council to further inform staff in the preparation of a draft agreement for water service with Summit County, and the Frisco Sanitation District Board indicated that they have been working on this project for several years but had not been in touch with the County for a while. The Sanitation District Board indicated that they are meeting with Summit County on Thursday, and they hope to have more clarity at that point regarding this request for sanitation services which is a complex and significant project.

Police Take Home Vehicle Discussion

During the 2024 budget process, staff presented Town Council with a request to purchase five take-home vehicles for the Police Department, and this request was included in the five-year Capital Plan. Council directed staff to include this purchase in the 2024 budget and directed staff to return to Council for further discussion on the take-home vehicle policy and authorization to purchase five take-home vehicles. Staff requested five vehicles in 2024 and four additional vehicles in 2025.

There are a number of reasons for each officer to have a take-home marked vehicle, outlined in the staff report:

  • In order for the Frisco Police Department to remain competitive in retaining and recruiting officers, this policy would allow the Town to offer a benefit that many surrounding jurisdictions are extending, including the Summit County Sheriff’s Department. Also, the majority of Frisco’s officers do not live in Frisco and commute to Frisco so this would allow officers to commute in a vehicle that is ready to respond to an incident.
  • Having a take-home vehicle supports other agencies, as well as the Town of Frisco, with the ability to more quickly respond if called in from home. In the last few months, several officers have assisted other agencies on their way to work. For example, on Frisco officers began to take calls after passing through the Eisenhower Tunnel during the standoff in the Frisco Safeway parking lot. When police have their own take-home vehicles, then having a fully equipped vehicle allows them to be response ready, as there is no transfer of equipment from vehicle to vehicle which can take up to 45 minutes.
  • Additionally, marked take-home vehicles provide increased officer presence and response throughout Summit County, while officers are traveling to and from Frisco.

During the November 14 work session, the Frisco Police Department staff fielded feedback and questions from Town Council regarding the take-home vehicle program. After a thoughtful and thorough discussion, Town Council directed staff to move forward with purchasing five police take home vehicles for this program in 2024 and to refine the take-home vehicle policy.

1041 Regulations

During three previous Town Council work sessions, Town attorney Thad Renaud presented Town Council with a briefing about House Bill 1041 which was passed in 1974 by the Colorado General Assembly at a time when the State legislature was particularly concerned with the effects of growth and development upon the physical environment of the state and its residents. In particular, the State legislature was concerned that the traditional zoning and subdivision tools used by local governments might not be adequate to fully address the impacts caused by a few specific development activities or to adequately protect and plan for development in certain physical areas.

House Bill 1041 gave local governments more ability to regulate in the following specialized areas:

  • Site selection and construction of major new domestic water and sewage treatment systems and major extension of existing domestic water and sewage treatment systems;
  • Site selection and development of solid waste disposal sites except those sites specified in C.R.S. 25-11-203(1), sites designated pursuant to part e of Article 11 of Title 25, C.R.S., and hazardous waste disposal sites, as defined in C.R.S. 25-15-200.3;
  • Site selection of airports;
  • Site selection of rapid or mass transit terminals, stations, and fixed guideways;
  • Site selection of arterial highways, interchanges and collector highways;
  • Site selection and construction of major facilities of a public utility;
  • Site selection and development of new communities;
  • Efficient utilization of municipal and industrial water projects; and
  • Conduct of nuclear detonations.

Based on the direction provided to Town Council during their August 8 meeting to move forward with the ability to regulate four activities, the proposed regulations included in Chapter 180 Code of Ordinances designate four distinct activities of town interest, that include proposed submission requirements, approval criteria, and related permitting processes. Those four activities outlined in the staff report include:

  • Site selection & construction of major new domestic sewage treatment systems and major extensions of existing domestic sewage treatment systems;
  • Site selection and construction of major facilities of a public utility;
  • Site selection of arterial highways & interchanges and collector highways; and
  • Site selection of rapid or mass transit facilities

During the November 14, 2023 regular Town Council meeting, the Town Attorney presented Ordinance 23-20, amending Chapter 180 of the Code of Ordinances, which adopts 1041 regulations. Town Council passed Ordinance 23-20 on the first reading.

Planning Commission Vacancy Appointment

The Town of Frisco Planning Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Town Council who are residents of the Town of Frisco and who would serve a four-year term.  Currently, one seat is available for appointment to the Frisco Planning Commission. This term has become vacant, as Patrick Gleason resigned from the Commission due to his relocation out of the Town of Frisco. This creates the opportunity for a 2.5-year term to finish out the remainder of Planning Commission Member Gleason’s term through April 2026.

Staff announced the Planning Commissioner vacancy for three weeks in the Summit Daily; via mass emails, text messages, and social media; and on the Town’s website. Ten community members submitted letters of interest for the current vacancies. Two of the applicants do not reside within the Town of Frisco, and therefore, they could not be considered for this vacancy. Frisco Town Council Members, Lisa Holenko and Andy Held, interviewed seven candidates on November 7, 2023. One applicant was not able to interview due to a work conflict. At the November 14 Town Council meeting, Council Members Holenko and Held provided an overview of the interviews and recommended two finalists for the Council to consider based on the applicants’ experience and knowledge of the Town and applicable regulations.

Council thanked all of the applicants, and Council Members Holenko and Held noted how many engaged and thoughtful applicants they interviewed and encouraged all of the applicants to apply or become involved with other Town projects and committees in the future. Town Council subsequently appointed Candice De to the Frisco Planning Commission.

Compensation of Mayor, Council Members, and Planning Commission Members

During the adoption of the Town of Frisco 2024 budget, Frisco Town Council reviewed comparable community elected officials’ compensation and requested an update to Council Compensation and Planning Commission.

Town Council Pay

The current compensation rate for Mayor is $1,050 per month ($12,600 annually) and $600 per month ($7,200 annually) for Council Members. Increased Town Council compensation would be $1,250 per month ($15,000 annually) for the Mayor and $750 per month ($9,000 annually) for Council Members. This increase would not take effect for current Council Members; the change would only take effect when Council Members are re-elected or newly elected to Town Council.

Planning Commission Pay

The Frisco Planning Commission does not currently receive a salary. Any ordinance changing commissioner compensation will take effect in January 2024 and will be $100 per meeting attended.

During budget discussions at previous Town Council meetings and upon review of compensation in comparable communities, Town Council directed staff to present an ordinance (Ordinance 23-26) to update future compensation to encourage demographic diversity on future councils and commissions. Subsequently, Town Council approved Ordinance 23-26 on the first reading.

Class Action Lawsuit Settlements Concerning PFAS

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are manufactured chemicals that resist grease, oil, water, and heat, and have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940’s. The Town discovered PFAS within one of well in 2020 (this well is currently not providing water to the Town) and has been working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”), as part of a pilot program, to study methods for the removal of PFAS from water. Two class action settlements in PFAS litigation on behalf of municipalities nationwide, one against 3M and another against Dupont, have been filed. The Town must decide whether to participate or “opt out” of those settlements. The Town Attorney recommended that the Town participate in the settlements by not “opting out” and by proceeding to submit claims in those proceedings.

Because the Town has experienced only a small amount of PFAS within the water of one of its wells and because the Town has been working with and received a grant from CDPHE to implement and study remedial measures for PFAS, the Town has not yet incurred substantial monetary damages, and it is thought to be unlikely that the Town will incur substantial monetary damages from PFAS in the future.

At this point, it cannot be predicted what the Town or any other water supplier may receive in settlement funds, as it is unknown what the ultimate level of claims against the settlement funds may be. What can be said is that the Town is in an advantageous position under the terms of the settlements because the Town would qualify as a “Phase I” claimant (because the Town identified PFAS prior to June 2023). Phase I claimants make their claims first and are allocated a larger share of settlement funds than “Phase II” claimants. Subsequently, Town Council directed staff to not opt-out of the existing settlements.

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.