Town News

Catchup with Council, March 28, 2023- Housing and More Housing, Luis Flores Receives Award, Complete Streets, and Unified Development Code Updates

Capital Projects Update

Town staff provided an update to Council on the 28 capital projects that the Town is developing and working on in 2023. The projects range from yearly maintenance of Town facilities to completion of the roundabouts and medians on Highway 9. Projects may be previewed in the slide presentation from this meeting, which provides a broad overview of these projects. Currently, the most high-profile and resource heavy projects include the Granite Park housing project to break ground in April, Slopeside Hall at the Adventure Park to break ground in April, Marina Park landscaping (think dirt area next to the Reservoir at the Marina) to begin in the next several weeks, and the Visitor Information Center, which is still in the design and costing phase. The current total budget for 2023 for all 28 capital projects is $33.3 million.

Affordable Housing Projects for West Main and Galena

Staff presented Town Council with information regarding a project proposed by the NHP Foundation to build a 100% affordable housing project. The project consists of 94 deed and income restricted rental units with a mix of bedroom numbers and average median income (AMI) targets. Since this involved a proposal for Town owned property at 602 Galena Street, combined with property that the NHP Foundation has under option at 101 West Main Street, negotiations commenced along with understanding the basics of financial ramifications for the Town, the type of housing being proposed, the benefits of developing both properties, and other considerations.

The result is the Term Sheet that was presented to the Council in this work session to get the Council’s advice on proceeding with a first reading of an ordinance to agree to the terms of a development agreement for the project with the NHP Foundation.

The result of this negotiation is that the Town could gain 94 workforce units by investing just under $3.5 million dollars in Town housing funds. Town Council directed staff to move forward with final drafting of the development agreement between the Town and NHP to be presented to Council during the April 11, 2023 Town Council meeting.

Downtown Complete Streets Plan Code Updates

The Downtown Complete Streets Plan was adopted by Resolution 22-12 on March 22, 2022. The creation of the Plan stemmed from the Frisco Community Plan goal, which states that the Town shall “provide a connected, year-round multimodal transportation network that enables residents and visitors to access destinations without relying on use of automobiles.” The purpose of the Downtown Complete Streets Plan is to develop the downtown street network in a way that safely serves the needs of all users regardless of travel mode. The Plan outlines various code changes that should be updated to enable flexibility in street design and operations and recommends changes to three sections of the Town Code: Chapter 155 (Streets), the Minimum Street Design and Access Criteria in Chapter 155, and Chapter 180 (Unified Development Standards). These changes are outlined in more detail in the staff memo.

Council directed staff to move forward with an ordinance making these changes, which will then be brought to Planning Commission and then to Town Council in the next few months. 

Luis Flores Awarded Frisco’s Finest

Local restaurateur and beloved community member, Luis Flores, was awarded the Frisco’s Finest award by Frisco Town Council. Twenty years ago, Mr. Flores brought his extensive restaurant experience to Frisco from Seattle when his business partner told him that Frisco would be an ideal spot for a restaurant. Mr. Flores and his wife immediately fell in love with the beauty of the area, which reminded Mr. Flores of his birthplace in Mexico, and they vowed to stay in the area whether they had a restaurant or not in Frisco. Their business, Hacienda Real, thrived, even through a major recession and a pandemic, and Mr. Flores chose to spread his success by supporting many community non-profits, schools, and groups. Mr. Flores also shared his extensive restaurant knowledge with his employees over the years, helping to encourage employees to launch their own aspirations and restaurants in Fairplay, Vail, Fort Collins, Silverthorne, and Leadville. Town Council named Mr. Flores “Frisco’s Finest” to acknowledge his exceptional contribution to making Frisco a better place to work, live, and play.

Code Changes to Encourage Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is one of Town’s strategic high 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. Town Council asked that Planning Commission consider the draft amendments in a work session to provide feedback on options, with the goal of providing incentives to encourage affordable housing development.

The proposed amendments outlined in the staff report would also add a new section, §180-5.5.1.C “Affordable Housing Development Incentive Program”. This section would 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 would 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:

  • Density – allows increased density in the RH, 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 modifications to the landscape requirements
  • 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

Council indicated that they will want to have future conversations about potentially changing the workforce housing covenants to include a purchase process that would include a lottery for workforce housing units. Council passed this change to the unified development code during this first reading.

Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Vacant Lot on Granite Street

The Town of Frisco purchased the property known as 275 Granite (also known as the “Sabatini Lot”) in 1995. Since that time, it has been used for a number of civic purposes, including contractor storage for Town projects, event staging, public parking, and snow storage. The adjacent property, known as 207 Granite is owned by a private party, 207 Granite Street LLC.

In December 2022, 207 Granite Street LLC, represented by Nathan Glassman and Melissa Sherburne, approached Town staff to see if there was interest in jointly developing the two properties. Combining the two parcels together during development could offer cost savings in site and utility work and could provide additional community benefits if developed as one single project rather than two separate projects. Over the past few months and as described in the staff report to Council, Town staff and the property owner have discussed project opportunities and negotiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the purposes of negotiating a future agreement that would result in the sale of 275 Granite and development of an affordable housing project on the 275 Granite property. If negotiations prove successful, that future agreement will be presented to Town Council in the form of an ordinance.

Council approved the memorandum of understanding and decided to have two councilmembers sit on a steering committee to help move the process forward with 207 Granite Street LLC.

Unified Development Code Updates- Zoning and Development

Council approved on second reading an ordinance to make changes to the Unified Development Code (UDC) first discussed at the February 28, 2023 Town Council meeting. The Unified Development Code (UDC) contains the rules and regulations for the Town’s zoning code and is periodically updated to reflect changing zoning priorities and to increase efficiencies in the development review process.

The Frisco Planning Commission held a work session on October 6, 2022, and discussed potential UDC amendments that aimed to provide procedural relief and clarification when navigating the UDC. Staff presented the proposed amendments resulting from that discussion for review by the Planning Commission at the January 19, 2023 meeting, at which the Planning Commission recommended approval.

As described in the staff report to Council, the proposed changes relate to construction timelines and management, development standards, updating snow storage requirements, construction fencing, lot coverage, and specific uses in the use table, and definitions.

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.