Town News

Catch Up with Council, October 24, 2023- Housing Needs Assessment, Lake Hill Water Request, and 2024 Budget Approval

Housing Needs Assessment Presentation

Root Policy Research presented the Summit County Housing Needs Assessment during the October 24, 2023 Town Council work session. It is an easy to read and very interesting presentation with a lot of thought-provoking data which is broken down by town and county. The study identified key findings for three focus groups which included 17 employers, seniors or persons with disabilities, and Spanish speaking residents. The survey respondents consisted of people who live and work in Summit County, commute to work outside of the county, commute to work in the county, and work seasonal jobs. The presentation provided information about who owns homes, who rents, displacement information, rent costs, increases in housing purchase prices, future housing needs, Frisco specific data, and much more.

Focus Group Findings for Employers

Currently, 10% of jobs in Summit County are unfilled, with seasonal positions being challenging to fill unless the employer provides housing. Employers are most concerned about housing for employees earning $60,000 to $100,000 per year. If an employee cannot find housing within the first three months of employment, they are likely to leave, and it has become harder to find long-term leases because owners expect to receive the equivalent in short-term rental (STR) revenue. Additionally, employees who have resided in the county for two years start looking to purchase housing. Employers also felt that the units built for 60%-110% AMI do not meet the current demand.

Employers offered several solutions to the current housing needs which included building more neighborhoods that are employer-owned or leased, continue generous down payment programs, add a county housing resource coordinator position, add flexibility in place of work priority for deed-restricted units, and impose a vacancy tax on unoccupied units/raise short term rental taxes.

Focus Group Findings for Residents

A total of 2,284 residents responded to the resident survey which included 1,810 English speakers and 474 Spanish speakers. In the focus group, residents stated that employment was their primary reason for moving to Summit County and that housing has become increasingly difficult to find in the last five years due to STR’s. Residents would like to see rentals priced at $600 to $1,000 per person or for sale properties ranging from $300,000 to $800,000. The focus group felt that employer-owned housing was less desirable to workers due to the feeling that workers were being watched and expressed frustration with bus routes being cut back. Senior living was also a concern, and residents would like to see a mixed-income housing complex with varied levels of care and units available for health care workers.

Summit County Key Findings

Currently, there are 10,425 STRs registered in Summit County, of those who responded to the survey 26% stated they needed to move out of their home, condo, or apartment due to the owner turning it into a STR and 28% stated they needed to move because the owner was selling the unit. It has become increasingly difficult for residents to buy units, as the average household would need to have an income of $456,183 annually to buy a market value single family home. For individuals who rent, the median rent per bedroom requires an annual income of approximately $67,000. The median price for a deed-restricted unit is $1,200 per bedroom. There is interest in deed-restricted ownership, with 31% of respondents stating they were very interested and 31% stating they were somewhat interested.

Root Policy Recommendations in the Report Included

  • Build additional and intentional workforce communities with a mix of affordable ownership and rentals and more affirmatively market to Spanish speaking, immigrant residents and community navigators.
  • Prioritize housing for essential workers—including health care workers, behavioral health care staff, public works (water, sewer), energy workers (power grid responders), educators/teachers
  • Aim to make workforce housing eligibility more uniform to lessen confusion and streamline the application process
  • Add flexibility in the deed-restrictions for place of work. Allow deed restricted housing to be occupied by workers in the planning area or county overall (vs. a specific town)
  • Fund development of all pipeline projects and utilize survey data on housing preferences to plan composition of future dedicated workforce communities
  • Consider by-right approvals of small multifamily complexes with deep affordability commitments (Austin’s Affordability Unlocked); pursue state funding
  • Disincentivize demolition and redevelopment of relatively affordable homes or multifamily complexes and displacement of tenants by imposing affordable housing requirements or linkage fee linked to market value to replacement units
  • Aggressively pursue opportunities and state (including Prop 123) and federal funding to expand housing products (equity share, 1st generation buyers) and repurpose underutilized and vacant parcels into affordable housing
  • Establish a collective strategy to address housing needs based on individual town strategies (Boulder Valley Housing Partnership)
  • Create a housing resource coordinator office—a “one stop shop” for housing applications and resources—that all employers and community navigators could use

Town Council had questions for Root Policy about the data, AMI data used, how Breckenridge’s housing needs and supply differ from Frisco’s, and the needed units for Frisco. Town Council stated that they felt encouraged about planned projects and how this comprehensive report outlines needed housing units and AMI’s for Frisco so they can continue to strategize and plan for the future.

Lake Hill Out of Frisco Boundaries Water Request

On May 9, 2023 Ordinance 23-05 was approved, which modified Chapter 171 of the Town code by adding an application process for extra-territorial (out of Town boundaries) water requests. This new process requires prospective water users outside the Town of Frisco boundaries to submit a written application, to dedicate water rights, to provide a will-serve letter from Frisco Sanitation District, and to fulfill other conditions per the ordinance. Town Council can then grant denial or approval, with conditions, based on the best interest of the Town and its residents. In addition, the ordinance states that the Council will consider whether the request will result in detrimental secondary impacts to the Town or its residents. If Council approves a request, the applicant is required to meet all conditions, dedicate water rights, pay all fees and reimbursements, and execute an extra-territorial tap contract.

On July 13, 2023, the Town received an Extra-Territorial  (out of Town boundaries) Water Application from Summit County Government for the Lake Hill Housing project 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 2 of the Lake Hill project could require an additional 384.2 EQR’s. Summit County indicated that it is unknown when phase 2 would be built. Currently, the application for phase 1 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.

Some topics for discussion:

  1. Water rights and infrastructure: Council concerns/questions included whether our infrastructure can handle phase 1 and whether tap fees will cover the cost of added infrastructure to Frisco’s water system
  2. Vehicle traffic impacts: Council concerns/questions included how Ten Mile Drive will be impacted and what happens when Dillon Dam and/or I70 close; making it clear that roundabouts and pedestrian routes (underpasses, etc…) are vital to the success of moving pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles; and generally the timing of Exit 203 improvements, whether this plan will be updated and how/when that Exit 203 improvement process will be kicked off
  3. Impacts on communication: Council concerns/questions included whether a new cell tower is needed in Lake Hill area
  4. Transit needs and service levels/how often there should be transit service: Council concerns/questions included adding additional service sooner- before Lake Hill phase 1 is 50% occupied
  5. Law enforcement needs and whether there is any needed mitigation or compensation for impacts on the Frisco Police Department
  6. Requirements for any additions to recreational opportunities: Council concerns/questions included looking back on the trailhead parking issues in the Peak One neighborhood and how to mitigate similar issues in advance and concurrently of phase 1 being built, possibility of a dog park, and how to make commuting via bike on Dillon Dam Road more efficient, safer, and possible year-round
  7. Timing requirements for planned childcare facility: Council concerns/questions included making this a priority for construction, so it is operating when residents move in during phase 1

Town Council will work on negotiating the agreement with the County for water with these concerns in mind and possibly incorporated into the agreement.  

Mill Levy for 2024

As part of the regular budget process each year, staff was required to present Ordinance 23-21, which continues a mill levy in the amount of 0.798 based on the Town of Frisco property tax assessed in 2023, to be collected in 2024. FYI- the mill levy can only be increased through approval in a public election, and this ordinance did not impose or increase the mill levy. In Frisco, property tax collections are utilized for the purpose of defraying the expenses in the general fund, and this mill levy is forecasted to result in revenues of $299,092 in 2024.

Council approved Ordinance 23-21 on the second reading.

2024 Budget Adoption

During the October 10 Town Council meeting, staff first presented Ordinance 23-22, to adopt the 2024 budget and Resolution 23-30, to adopt a five-year capital program for the Town of Frisco. This ordinance adopts expenditures totaling $41,296,533; revenues and reserves of $81,755,528 are adequate to meet those expenditures, leaving a total ending fund balance of $40,458,995 at the end of 2024. Details of this ordinance by line item are available in attachment 3.

Council approved Ordinance 23-22 on the second reading and Resolution 23-30.