Town News

Catch Up with Council, September 27, 2022 – STR Ordinance, 2023 Budget, Galena Street Workforce Housing Purchase, Density Bonus Discussion

2023 Budget

Town Council and staff discussed the proposed 2023 Town budget. Each year, the Town budget is created around the Town’s strategic priorities, and staff highlighted several housing and infrastructure projects which  align with these priorities and are planned for the upcoming fiscal year, including:

  • Granite Park and Galena workforce housing projects
  • Fiber infrastructure planning and implementation
  • Slopeside Hall at the Frisco Adventure Park
  • Countywide childcare tuition assistance program
  • Mobility/Transportation Master Plan
  • Addition and remodel of the public bathrooms at the Visitor Information Center and updates to the park behind the Visitor Information Center
  • Multiple sustainability initiatives including Pay-as-you-Throw and universal recycling ordinances

Council offered staff several changes to the proposed budget ahead of the first reading of the budget ordinance, scheduled for the Council meeting on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. The proposed budget documents will be published online in the Council Packet on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 for review.

STR Ordinance

Council passed an ordinance on first reading that will establish the short-term rental (STR) license cap at 25% of the residential housing stock, allowing a maximum of 900 licenses currently. As of September 26, 2022, the Town had issued 805 licenses. The second reading of the ordinance will be during the October 11, 2022 Town Council meeting. If adopted, the ordinance will go into effect on October 17, 2022. The ordinance includes an exemption for properties that are under construction or under contract prior to October 11, 2022, and includes exemptions to allow an active STR license to transfer under certain circumstances.

At the September 13, 2022 Council meeting, Council decided to table the first reading of an ordinance that that would have capped the maximum number of short-term rental licenses at 22% of the residential housing stock and exempt local property owners who utilize their STR as a primary residence from the license cap. While reviewing the draft ordinance, the Town attorney discovered a recent decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that determined that an STR regulation exemption for primary residence homeowners violated the dormant Commerce Clause by discriminating against out-of-state property owners. The Town attorney therefore recommended that Council not move forward with an ordinance that would have exempted local property owners from the STR cap.

Council heard extensive feedback from the community while researching potential impacts of a STR license cap, and ultimately passed this ordinance as means to meet a main objective of mitigating negative impacts to the local community and to preserve and honor community character.

602 Galena Street Purchase for Workforce Housing

Town Council approved a purchase agreement between the Town and the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment (CDLE) for the State of Colorado owned property at 602 Galena Street.

Since August 2021, staff from the Town of Frisco, Summit County, and the CDLE, have been discussing the potential redevelopment of the property for workforce housing. The .72-acre property, has served as the Colorado Workforce Center since 1984.

Over the past several months, Town and State staff have negotiated terms of the sale agreement, which include property purchase, lease back to CDLE during project development design, CDLE temporary office space during construction, and permanent CDLE office space in a newnew space that will be part of the development. The contract includes a final purchase price of $2,491,080.71. In August 2022, Summit County entered into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Town of Frisco to provide $1.5 million towards the cost of this purchase.

In order to facilitate this project, CDLE requires assistance from the Town and County to find temporary office space for the Workforce Center employees, and inclusion of permanent office space in the new development on the property.  Staff estimates that up to 40 dwelling units can potentially be constructed on the .72-acre property by utilizing bonus density provisions.

The purchase contract includes provisions that deed-restrict the availability of future units to individuals or households whose gross annual household income does not exceed 125% of the area median income (AMI) for Summit County. The closing on this purchase is scheduled for October 28, 2022.

Density Bonus Discussion

At the July 12, 2022 Town Council work session, staff presented an overview of the Town of Frisco’s density bonus incentive, which permits a developer to exceed the maximum allowable density on a project in exchange for building workforce housing units. There are currently two options for new development in the CC, GW, and MU Zone Districts allowed through the density bonus incentive:

  • Option 1: provide on-site workforce housing in exchange for exceeding maximum density  
  • Option 2: provide off-site workforce housing in exchange for exceeding maximum density

At that meeting staff proposed two additional options to be added to the density bonus incentive.

  • Option 3 would allow a developer to exceed the maximum density if 100% of the bonus units are deed-restricted with the covenant that the Town is currently utilizing under the Housing Helps program, which requires occupants to work a minimum of 30 hours per week in Summit County, but has no AMI requirement and no appreciation limit. This would create an option that is financially feasible for a developer, doubles the number of deed-restricted units created, and would require no subsidy from the Town.
  • Option 4 would allow a developer to combine the density bonus incentive with LIHTC. LIHTC projects require that the units are deed-restricted to average 60% AMI, but do not allow restrictions on where the occupants work. With this proposed option, the development would be allowed to exceed the maximum density, provided that a minimum of 50 percent of the total number of bonus units are deed restricted to LIHTC requirements but omitting the requirement that the occupant work in Summit County for 30 hours per week.

Council supported the addition of these two options to help address a variety of different housing needs and directed staff to research options for expanding the radius of off-site workforce housing provided by developers to meet the density bonus requirements, as well as revisiting parking requirements of new developments as they relate to workforce housing and density bonus units.

Following Council’s direction, staff presented the proposed code revisions at the August 18, 2022 Planning Commission meeting. The Planning Commission discussed the appropriate distance for off-site workforce housing in Option 2 and recommended leaving the radius as it is currently written in the code. The Planning Commission was supportive of the LIHTC option (Option 4) but recommended that the bonus units in Option 3 have both an appreciation cap and a 160% Area Median Income (AMI) requirement. Staff and Planning Commission also discussed parking requirements, and recommended not to reduce the current requirements without providing more robust public transportation options.

Council directed staff to proceed with drafting modifications to the density bonus proposal based on Council discussion of the Planning Commission recommendations. Specifically, Council directed staff to bring back information on background and analysis of appreciation cap recommended by the Planning Commission and to continue looking at opportunities to reduce parking requirements.

Opting Out of FAMLI

Town Council passed a resolution to opt out of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program, a State-run paid insurance program approved by voters in 2020 that provides workers 12-16 weeks of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member in the event of a serious illness or injury. Although all municipalities are included in the program by default, participation is not required for those who opt out by December 31, 2022 through a noticed vote by Council.

At the September 13, 2022 Council work session, Town staff and the Town’s benefit broker presented to Council the history of FAMLI, the current Town employee benefits, the option and reason to opt-out of the State run family and medical leave program in favor of a private plan.

Because the Town’s participation in the FAMLI program would not benefit most Town employees like a private plan would, and the Town’s benefits are of similar value to full-time employees as the state’s FAMLI program, and eligible employees can still participate on their own, Council supported the staff recommendation to opt-out of the FAMLI program. Council also supported staff’s recommendation to consider further analysis of Town leave benefits and understand where adjustments could be made to better align with the FAMLI program benefits.

The Town will continue to provide full-time employees a leave program to care for themselves or a family member in the event of a serious illness or injury. While Colorado statute does not require the Town to provide a substitute benefit when opting out, the Town is considering doing so to remain an employer of choice.

The Town of Frisco provided prior notice of the vote in the same manner it notices other public business and provided a special notice to all active Town employees on September 14 explaining the history of FAMLI, the Town’s current leave programs, and the staff recommendation to opt-out of the state-run program in favor of a private plan. The Town also provided an opportunity to submit comments before voting. As of 4:00pm on September 20, no public written comments had been submitted.

Cemetery Management

Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that changes Town code language to designate the Cemetery Superintendent as the Frisco Cemetery Manager rather than the Town Clerk in order to streamline the cemetery management process. This ordinance will also change code language to only permit winter burials (November 1 through May 15) by exception and direction of the Cemetery Superintendent, due to the difficult soil conditions that make winter digging challenging.

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.