Town News

Catchup with Council, September 14, 2021 – Slopeside Hall, Workforce Housing and Lake Hill Discussion, Federal Advocacy, Frisco’s Finest

Public Comment Regarding Proof of Vaccination Discussion

During this meeting’s public comment period, several community members voiced their concerns regarding a proposal penned by Councilmember Andrew Aerenson. The letter was sent to eight lodging companies in Frisco with the intent to create a discussion and get feedback around the possibility of requiring lodging companies to ask their guests to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Councilmember Aerenson had planned to use this feedback to start a conversation with the rest of Council about his proposal at the September 28, 2021 Town Council meeting. While Councilmember’s Aerenson’s intent for the letter was to simply begin a discussion and was offered in the spirit of transparency and good intents, this correspondence caused confusion and alarm, and Mayor Hunter Mortensen apologized for these unintended consequences, particularly to the Town’s lodging partners. Councilmember Aerenson and the rest of Council heard and understood the community’s feedback and concerns and have no intention of pursuing this proposal any further. The Frisco Town Council respects and welcomes public comment and thanks the community for their input, patience, and understanding.

Proclamation: September is Suicide Prevention Month in Frisco, Colorado

Town Council proclaimed September to be Suicide Prevention Month in Frisco. Suicide is a critical public health problem in the country, in Colorado, in Summit County, and in Frisco. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents, and the tenth leading cause for adults. In Summit County, the suicide rate is 17.4 deaths per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national rate of 14.5 deaths per 100,000 (CDPHE). Nine people died by suicide in our community in 2020; and from January 1, 2021 through August 18, 2021, four community members have died by suicide

Maintaining an inclusive, safe, and supportive community is consistent with the Town of Frisco’s goals. The Frisco Town Council wants every community member to know that they are valued, that better days are always ahead, and that seeking mental health care is a heroic act in support of yourself and your community.

Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges, Building Hope Summit County is a comprehensive resource for finding the help you need.

If you are in crisis, please call 911 or call CO Crisis Services at 844-493-8255.

Peninsula Recreation Area (PRA) Slopeside Hall Project: Additional Services Proposals

During the July 13, 2021, Council work session, representatives with the Ohlson Lavoie Corporation (OLC) presented an updated design concept for a new building at the Peninsula Recreation Area (PRA). The two-story 7,340 square foot building was first presented at the May 25, 2021 Council meeting.

The consulting team and staff have taken the feedback Council provided at that May meeting and incorporated it into the new design to accommodate current and future needs of the community and Adventure Park, the flow of guests and staff, parking, and wayfinding.

The new building concept, currently referred to as Slopeside Hall, is intended to complement the Day Lodge, which will continue to serve its current primary functions, while the new building would provide additional community space, expanded space for youth programming, additional restrooms and changing area, as well as offices for staff, which are currently largely located in the Day Lodge basement.

Town Council provided positive feedback on the overall design and layout, and approved the next steps, which included a meeting with the Development Review Committee (DRC) on August 4, 2021, and a public hearing for the sketch level review with the Planning Commission, scheduled on October 21, 2021. During the July 13th Council meeting, Council also directed staff to pursue quotes for the design of additional components not currently included in the contract with OLC, including an exterior tube storage enclosure, design of the Day Lodge elevator and kitchen expansion, and the design of the expanded community plaza, envisioned as a community gathering space intended to connect the buildings and add synergy to the area.

The goal of designing these additional elements concurrently with the Slopeside Hall is to have construction drawings and cost estimates prepared so that all projects can be completed together to take advantage of operational and construction efficiencies.

The three proposals total $115,892. The total cost of the three additional services proposals are:

  • Design of an Exterior Tube Storage Enclosure ($31,390)
  • Design of the Day Lodge Elevator and Kitchen Expansion ($35,222)
  • Design of the Expanded Community Plaza ($49,280)

Council directed staff to move forward with all three proposals.

Workforce Housing Discussion

Town of Frisco staff presented a comprehensive report on the state of affordable housing in Frisco and Summit County, and strategies and opportunities to make more affordable housing available to Frisco’s community.

In 2020, the Town Council identified housing affordability as a key element to creating an “Inclusive Community.” Over the past several months, Town Council has continued to strategize on how to best approach housing solutions. These dialogs have resulted several outcomes, including an update of the Housing Helps program to allow for purchase of deed restrictions on more properties, and allowing deed restrictions to be based on occupancy by a local worker, rather than occupancy and an income limitation, thereby opening up the program to more potential units.

Development Opportunities and Partnerships

The Town currently has several workforce housing partnerships projects underway, in development or in discussion to be developed.

  • 619 Granite Street: Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) owns the 0.58-acre lot located at 619 Granite Street previously used as a mobile home park for CDOT employees. The Town and CDOT have an agreement to share costs to develop 80% construction drawings prior to making a final decision on whether to construct the project. The current project design is for 22 rental units. Staff estimates that the Town’s share of the construction costs will be approximately $4.5 – $5 million. On September 2, 2021, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and approved the Major Site Plan Application for this project. Council directed staff to determine operational agreement details with CDOT and funding options for the project, including securing a construction contractor.
  • 602 Galena Street, State of Colorado Workforce Center: This property currently houses the Colorado Workforce Center and is owned by the State of Colorado Division of Employment (CDLE). The building was constructed in 1984, is approximately 4,153 square feet in size, and sits on 0.723 acres. CDLE staff is discussing a potential project and/or partnership opportunity for affordable housing on this site with the Town of Frisco and Summit County. CDLE is working to order an appraisal, and the Town has agreements to have a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and topographic survey completed in September with costs shared accordingly. Council directed staff to continue to pursue this.
  • Lake Hill*: Council discussed the Lake Hill development property with the Board of County Commissioners at a later part of the meeting.

The Town currently owns several properties, and may have future development opportunities with various properties that could be developed for affordable housing.

  • 275 Granite Street: Council has considered selling this property, but with the right encumbrances added to the purchase agreement and/or a restrictive covenant laying out what the future development could be.
  • First and Main Building: Council plans to revisit discussions regarding the future of this property in the near future at a Council work session.
  • Alley between First and Main and 113 Granite: Council discussed expanding the Historic Park or keeping that area as green space.
  • 113 Granite Street: While Council would like further analysis, Council discussed options such as possible Historic Park expansion, workforce housing, or a possible mini creative arts campus or a combination of all of the above.

Policy and Regulatory Measures

Currently, Town Council considered a variety of policy and regulatory measures that would encourage additional workforce housing. These included expanding density bonuses, incentivizing long-term rentals, modifying accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and lock-off regulations, modifying the short-term rental program, use of inclusionary zoning, and modifying development standards to allow for different types of housing, among many others. Council commented that all measures could be potential options and would like staff to prioritize and come back at a future meeting.

Funding and Finance

 SCHA 5A Tax: Summit County residents voted to support workforce housing needs by passing the Summit Combined Housing Authority (SCHA) Referred Measure 5A in November 2006, and then renewed the measure into perpetuity in November 2015. The measure authorizes a sale and use tax of one eighth of one percent (0.125%) and a development impact fee of two dollars or less per square foot for new construction. The cumulative funds collected are to be used for affordable workforce housing purposes (e.g., land purchases, construction of new homes, and purchases of existing homes for employee use).

The current 5A fund projection showed a deficit if all of Council’s housing goals were to be accomplished, and therefore, staff presented various other funding options, including the possibility of an excise tax on short term rentals.

With the ongoing and pressing affordable housing shortage throughout the County, local municipalities and the County have begun discussing the feasibility of extending the added 0.6% tax, which would then result in the retention of the current tax of 0.725%, which has generated approximately $1.5 annually in revenue since 2017. The SCHA voted at their August 25, 2021 meeting to place on the ballot a 20-year extension of the tax to January 20, 2046.

Council directed staff to prioritize funding opportunities and to come back for a discussion at a future meeting. Any increase in taxes would need to go to an election.

Lake Hill*

In 2016, Summit County acquired a 44.81-acre parcel on the Dillon Dam Road from the United States Forest Service (USFS) with the intent to build affordable workforce housing in this desirable central location. Summit County commissioned an impact study, which has recently been received by the County, but not yet released and which will assist in planning for development of the property. Lake Hill is currently proposed as a 436 units development with 300 multi-family units and 85 townhomes  and a combination of ownership and rental units.

The County has proposed to partner with the Town of Frisco on this project; particularly on water service needs. County Commissioners Tamara Pogue and Josh Blanchard met last night with Town Council to discuss moving forward on Lake Hill and to discuss any currently existing hurdles. Commissioners Pogue and Blanchard, along with County Manager Scott Vargo, updated Town Council on discussions with the Frisco Sanitation District regarding incorporating the Lake Hill development into that sanitation district, the cost of doing so, and the cost of expanding sanitation facilities when and if that becomes necessary; Summit County is proposing to cover any expansion costs at the sanitation district. Summit County reported that at this time the Frisco Sanitation District was declining to offer service to Lake Hill due to discharge permit limitations.

The County is asking Frisco Town Council to assist with some current hurdles and provide support regarding:

  • Approving the County’s efforts to rezone the property
  • Joining in on further discussions with the Frisco Sanitation District
  • Negotiating a water agreement between the Town of Frisco water division and Summit County

Town Council expressed a commitment to negotiating a water agreement with provisions to protect Frisco’s character and infrastructure and to supporting efforts around the Lake Hill neighborhood to keep this important workforce housing project moving forward. Town Council also expressed the need to have a seat at the table in order to better understand and work through impacts of the proposed development on the Frisco community.

Contract for Federal Advocacy Services

Town Council approved a contract with Squire Patton Boggs to expand their advocacy services on behalf of the Town of Frisco to the federal level for an annual cost of $100,000.

The Town of Frisco has many challenges and opportunities, as articulated in the Town Council’s Strategic Plan. The Town’s commitment and focus on affordable housing, wildfire mitigation, environmental sustainability, infrastructure development, and broadband will require substantial fiscal resources to achieve substantial and sustainable results. Given the Town’s finite resources, Council is finding it necessary and vital to identify public (especially federal) and private partners to address the Town’s strategic needs and leverage resources to benefit Frisco residents and small businesses.

Squire Patton Boggs already represents the Town at the local and state level, and has a significant public policy practice team of experts in Colorado and Washington D.C. dedicated to advocacy.

Squire Patton Boggs representation of the Town of Frisco will be year-round and not limited to when Congress is in session, and they will continuously monitor legislative and regulatory developments throughout the calendar year, attend meetings relevant to the Town and its federal agenda, and communicate to provide timely feedback, analysis, resources, and advice to the Town.

Frisco’s Finest Award Presentation– Maggie Cox

The Frisco Town Council presented community member, Maggie Cox, with a Frisco’s Finest Award for her numerous contributions to Frisco and Summit County, which have made the community a better place to work, live, and play. Maggie and her husband, Jim, have lived in Summit County since 2003. During their time here, Maggie has volunteered with various organizations and at numerous events in the county, and has worked part-time in community service oriented jobs.

Maggie started volunteering with the Town of Frisco in June of 2014, helping the Recreation Department at town athletic events and filling in at the tubing hill during busy holiday periods. She became a regular at events such as Frisco BBQ, Town Cleanup Day, and Wassail Days. In addition to events, Maggie has put in more than 1,000 hours of work scanning and digitally filing old building and planning permit files to bring the Town of Frisco’s Community Development Department into the digital age. Town of Frisco staff have described Maggie as kind, friendly, intelligent, motivating, inspiring and helpful, and they consider her part of the family.

In addition to her volunteer work with the town, Maggie’s numerous interests and talents have led her to offer a wide range of help within the community, including at the animal shelter, the library, Summit Fire and EMS, and various healthcare organizations.

Maggie said she volunteers because she likes to keep busy, and the variety of work and volunteer service is what keeps it interesting for her. Maggie and Jim will be moving to Grand Junction at the end of September and will be greatly missed by everyone they have impacted in Frisco and Summit County. Frisco’s Finest Award was established to thank and honor citizens who have made a difference in the community.