Summit County Library Project Update
Summit County Library Director Stephanie Ralph presented plans for design updates to the Main Branch of the Summit County Library in Frisco and the North Branch of the Summit County Library in Silverthorne. Work on the Main Branch will begin in August 2021, and work on the North Branch will begin in 2022.
Work on the Main Branch will include creating a new dedicated entrance into the library, creation of a teen room, enhanced technology, and more community meeting spaces. The total cost of both projects is projected to be over $4 million with Summit County Government funding ¾ of the project, and the Summit County Library Foundation charged with raising $1 million to fund the remainder. One third of those funds have been raised so far with the Foundation looking to fund the rest in an ongoing capital fundraising campaign- SummitLibraryExpansion.com. Library Director Stephanie Ralph requested that the Town of Frisco consider contributing to this capital campaign in support of the Main Library in Frisco.
Workforce housing has long been a challenge in Colorado mountain resort communities, and the resulting lack of available employees has become a limiting factor in the local economy, in large part due to the steep rise in housing prices, which has limited the ability of employees to find rental and ownership opportunities.
The Town of Frisco has recently taken several newer approaches to increase workforce housing availability:
- Development projects such as the 7th and Granite lot currently in the design process in partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation, which owns the lot
- The Frisco Housing Helps program which was set up to provide financial assistance in exchange for a deed restriction
- Establishing a new Housing Coordinator position in 2020, which is intended to focus workload around housing issues into one position and assist with the creation, implementation, and administration of housing strategies, policies, and programs
Additional responsibilities of the Housing Coordinator position include administering Frisco’s Short Term Rental (STR) program, as well as property management obligations of Town-owned properties. These responsibilities alone have required a significant amount of time, which has made fulfilling the strategic housing goals of this position a challenge. Currently, the fee revenue generated by the STR program does not cover the costs and staff time required for its administration. In addition, property maintenance duties have continued to increase as the number of Town-owned residential units has increased.
To make progress in achieving strategic workforce housing solutions, staff made several strategy recommendations for immediate and near-term solutions. The Town Council discussed the recommendations and will prioritize housing by:
- Adding regular housing discussions on a per-topic basis to the Town Council meeting agenda moving forward
- Aligning STR fees with costs of administration
- Removing property management duties from the Town of Frisco to enable the Housing Coordinator to work on strategic housing goals
STR and AMI Fast Facts:
- 17% of total housing units in Frisco are short-term rentals
- Only 11% of short-term rentals are locally owned
- Deed restrictions are based on AMI, or Area Median Income, which is a federal standard that calculates the midpoint of a region’s income distribution – half of families in a region earn more than the median and half earn less than the median. This is a different number than average
For more information, view the Workforce Housing Staff Report from last night’s meeting or view the Workforce Housing Page on FriscoGov.com.
Amending the Frisco Housing Helps Program
Council approved the amendments to the Frisco Housing Helps Program, now known as Housing Helps 2.0.
On August 27, 2019, the Town Council adopted Resolution 19-31 to establish Frisco’s Housing Helps program based on similar programs initiated by Summit County, the Town of Breckenridge, and Town of Vail at that time. Frisco’s program was initially set up to provide financial assistance to homeowners or homebuyers in exchange for placing a live/work occupancy deed restriction on existing residences.
On November 12, 2019, Town Council reassessed the program and revised policy to use a more restrictive housing deed restriction standard by setting an Area Median Income (AMI) limit (100%), capped financial assistance to $75,000 per unit, and deprioritized financial assistance to current property owners, and to date, the Town of Frisco has not acquired any housing deed restrictions through the current program. On March 9, 2021, Council directed staff to reevaluate and improve the Frisco Housing Helps Program to better support the Town’s housing goals.
Based on information from other communities implementing similar Housing Helps programs, the strongest interest appeared to be coming from current property owners requesting financial assistance in exchange for a live/work occupancy deed restriction on their properties and excluding a deed restriction with AMI and appreciation caps.
The amendments to the Town’s Housing Helps program includes options for the Town to purchase a deed restriction from a home buyer where they use the provided funds as down-payment assistance, or where a current property owner limits occupancy to local workforce community members with no income cap, price appreciation cap, or household size requirement. Other options include the Town purchasing a market rate or existing deed restricted housing unit to resell with a deed restriction limiting occupancy to local workforce community members. With these purchases, income caps, price appreciation caps, and/or household size limits may be imposed at the discretion of the Town or providing financial assistance to a current property owner to construct an accessory dwelling unit that is deed restricted under the terms of the affordable housing incentives of the Frisco Unified Development Code. For more information on the program, please email BillG@townoffrisco.com.
New Liquor License for Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters
Town Council approved the application is for a new liquor license for Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters located at 285 Main Street.
Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan Adoption
As part of the Summit Community Climate Action Plan adopted in 2019 by a group of local government, business, education, and utility stakeholders, an Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness Plan was determined to aid in deliberately creating systems that encourage the use of multi-modal transportation and build-out of EV charging infrastructure. The Climate Action Plan has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Summit county 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, and increasing the share of EVs driving on Summit County’s roads to 30% of all vehicles by 2030 will help achieve this goal.
The EV Readiness Plan outlines EV adoption strategies based on best practices in five categories: infrastructure, policy, light duty fleets, public transit, and community outreach. EV battery, charging, and design technologies are rapidly advancing and as such, the goals and strategies in this plan will be re-evaluated and updated every few years. The Town of Frisco currently has two charging stations that can be used free of charge on 3rd Street, near the Frisco/Copper Visitor Information Center.
Frisco Town Council Meetings: Lots of Ways to Participate
Going forward, Frisco Town Council meetings will be available to view via Zoom and YouTube, as well as being 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. The June 8 meeting recording is not currently posted due to technical issues, which should be resolved in the next few days.