Town News

Catchup with Council, April 11, 2023- Home Improvement Loan Program, Bridge Repair Work & Code Changes to Support Affordable Housing

Thank you to Departing Community Development Director, Don Reimer

Town Council took a moment to recognize and appreciate Frisco’s departing Community Development Director, Don Reimer.  Don served with Summit County Government from 2014 to 2020 and then joined the Town of Frisco as the Community Development Director in early 2020.  Don arrived at the Town just in time to help shepherd our community and businesses through the challenges created by the pandemic. He was instrumental in supporting the ability of businesses to adapt during the pandemic by creating a plan and process for the Main Street promenade and parklets, while continually seeking feedback regarding how the Town was supporting businesses.

Don was also instrumental in facilitating significant progress on affordable housing initiatives, such as ushering Granite Park from an idea to an agreement with CDOT and developing a completed design and establishing a contract with a general contractor. Due to his diligence, the Town was also able to secure substantial grant funding for Granite Park. He has also been instrumental in several other affordable housing projects, including the purchase of 602 Galena and the project on West Main Street. His numerous contributions will positively impact the Frisco community for many years to come. 

Agreement to Fund Zebra and Quagga Mussel Inspections

The Town of Frisco participates in the management effort to keep Zebra and/or Quagga Mussels and other aquatic invasive species (“ANS”) out of Dillon Reservoir. ANS infestations can have negative impacts on waterworks facilities, boats, marinas, fisheries, and general recreation on and around Dillon Reservoir. City and County of Denver/Denver Water, partners with the Town of Frisco to share in the costs involved in preventing ANS infestations, including personnel, equipment, signage, and physical improvements necessary and associated with the inspection and decontamination of watercraft entering and exiting Dillon Reservoir through the Frisco Bay Marina.

This updated agreement with the City and County of Denver/Denver Water is valid through December 31, 2032, and funding for the first year from City and County of Denver/Denver Water will be $45,000 and will be evaluated each year thereafter based on the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Consumer Price Index. Town Council voted to approve this intergovernmental agreement.

Bridge Repair Work- West Main and 4th Avenue

Every two years the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) inspects all four roadway bridges within the Town of Frisco free of cost. During the most recent inspection, CDOT’s contracted engineer identified improvements that needed to be made on all four bridges. In 2023, bridge work will focus on the West Main Street bridge and the 4th Avenue bridge that spans Ten Mile Creek. There may be some impact on traffic flow during these improvements. An additional inspection will be conducted this year to determine what enhancements need to be made on the remaining two bridges located on Creekside Drive and Madison Avenue, both across Ten Mile Creek. Those improvements will be budgeted for in 2024.

The Town went to bid for this project in 2022 and only received one proposal of $260,593.80 from Myers & Sons Construction, LLC, and $310,400 budgeted for these improvements in 2023. Town Council voted to approve this contract with Myers & Sons Construction, LLC for bridge work.

Home Improvement Loan Program for Full Time Residents

Due to the increasing disparity between wages earned by the local workforce and the cost of real estate in the Town of Frisco and Summit County, the Town has pursued various methods of increasing the availability of affordable workforce housing in the community for over 20 years. There are now over 160 deed-restricted properties within the Town, and additional projects in the queue over the next several years. While this has been and will continue to be a success, another challenge is related to the continually increasing costs of homeownership. Town Council discussed development of a home loan improvement program at a work session on December 13, 2022, and directed staff to bring a proposed program for consideration at a future meeting.

Town Council’s feedback at the December 13 work session was that a home loan improvement program should be available for both market-rate and deed-restricted properties; that marketing of the program availability would be key to its success; properties that had a short-term rental (STR) license (for example- a room for rent in a primary residence), or own property elsewhere (not used as their primary residence), could be eligible; and a monthly repayment of the loan would not be required.

The proposed Frisco Home Improvement Loan Program would be available to all Frisco residents for properties located within Frisco town limits, with the following criteria:

  • Applicant is a full-time resident in the Town of Frisco, and the property is owner occupied by the applicant.
  • The applicant must show they cannot qualify or afford a conventional loan and must have sufficient equity in the home to secure the loan.
  • The loan proceeds are used only for needed home repairs, examples include roofs, electrical, plumbing or mechanical systems, foundations, or other similar structural or systems repairs.
  • Loan proceeds could also be used for energy efficiency upgrades such as windows, building electrification, energy efficient heating systems, insulation, and similar.
  • HOA assessments for needed repairs may qualify for this program.
  • Loan proceeds shall not be used for aesthetic improvements such as kitchen remodels, deck or patios, driveway resurfacing, painting or siding, or other routine maintenance.
  • Loan will accrue interest, at a rate of 3%, with a default rate of prime +3% at the time of default.
  • If the property ceases to be a full-time residence of the property owner, the default rate shall be applied, and the loan shall be repaid in full within 1 year.
  • The Town’s loan will be a secondary deed of trust recorded on the property with a fixed interest rate of 3%, and the loan will be recorded against the property with the Summit County Clerk and Recorder, via a deed of trust.
  • Loan shall be repaid in full at time of refinance or sale.

Because the home improvement loan program is intended to support full-time residents in maintaining their primary residence in Frisco and ultimately is revenue neutral, the program could be funded from the general fund or the housing fund per Council’s direction. A recommendation for an initial program fund is $250,000, with a maximum loan amount of $50,000.

Annual reporting and monitoring of the loan recipients should be performed to ensure that the property continues to be used as a full-time residence of the property owner, similar to the annual deed restriction monitoring program.

Council approved Resolution 23-18 establishing a home improvement loan program. Once an application process is established, the Town will communicate about and market the program to full-time residents.

Code Changes to Encourage Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is one of Town’s strategic priorities, and therefore for several months, Town Council has been discussing potential amendments to the Town Code that could facilitate development of affordable housing, including a potential workforce housing overlay, and additions to the density bonus provisions already in the Code.

In December 2022, a developer of a potential affordable housing project submitted a request for specific code amendments, which could provide incentives to facilitate the project. Staff considered the modifications requested and other potential changes to create a series of proposed amendments to the Unified Development Code (UDC), Chapter 180 of Town Code. Town Council discussed the proposed amendments at a meeting on January 17, 2023, expressing general support for the overall concepts, specifically those related to bonus density and increased density for affordable projects. Council also generally agreed with limited relief, or reductions, in dimensional requirements such as setbacks and bulk plane. Changes to parking requirements generated a lot of discussion, as benefits were clearly understood, but mitigation of potential negative impacts, alternative transportation options, and on-street parking options need to be addressed.

The Frisco Planning Commission and Town Council each considered the proposed amendments at separate meetings in February and March 2023. The final set of proposed amendments outlined in the staff report  modified the density bonus provisions in  §180-5.5.1.B to make that incentive available in the Residential- High (RH) zone district, and to allow Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development qualify for density bonus. The amendments also added a new section, §180-5.5.1.C “Affordable Housing Development Incentive Program”. This section will create a set of incentives in the form of modifications to underlying zoning regulations for projects that meet specific deed-restricted housing thresholds. The program will be available for use for all properties in the Gateway, Central Core, Mixed-Use, and Residential -High, -Medium and -Low zone districts. The proposed amendments include modifications to the following development standards:

  • Density – allows increased density in the RM and RL zone districts where the density bonus provision is not currently permitted.
  • Lot coverage – allows increased lot coverage
  • Setback – allows reduced setbacks
  • Building height – allow up to a 10% increase in building height
  • Landscape – allows up to 20% reduction in required landscaping
  • Bulk Plane – allows an increase in the volume of bulk plane envelope encroachments
  • Parking – allows reductions in the amount of parking required by allowing some on street parking or off-site parking under certain conditions, and encouraging use of transit and car-sharing services

These amendments were passed upon second reading by Town Council.

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.