Editor’s notebook: Frisco’s super-sized buildings
Ryan Summerlin April 4, 2012
Driving my son to school each morning over the past several years, I continue to be amazed by the so-called “Boulevard Bend” complex on 7th Avenue in Frisco, which has morphed from an OK-looking condo complex into a behemoth that blots out the sun. I thought it was done and was expecting landscaping to begin on the area in front of the new condos, when work began on another enormous building right in front of the first phase.Now, we learn, the same developer who brought us this monster, Larry Feldman, is turning his sights on another Frisco corner. As we reported in Monday’s Daily, the half-acre lot on Fourth and Main, site of the old “Nurse’s Building,” is set to become a 21-unit giant called “Condos off Main.”Twenty-one units on half an acre? That’s about three times the density normally allowed on such a site in Frisco, yet the town OK’d it since some of the units will be deed-restricted “affordable” housing.Put simply, it’s not worth that sop to the working stiffs if the town is going to continue allowing these colossal buildings to clutter Frisco’s residential neighborhoods. Developers will always look to maximize investment, so it’s up to the town staff, P&Z board and town council to encourage more size-appropriate buildings that fit in with the neighborhood. Neither of these new projects seems to fit that bill, and a few deed-restricted units aside, what’s the point in having building codes if you’re going to throw them out the window so casually?***News that High Country Health Care was forming a new nonprofit and applying for the same federal clinic designation as the Summit Community Care Clinic was greeted with amazement by some who follow such things. Government officials and folks associated with the clinic told me they had no idea HCHC was pursuing this, and the whole thing appeared to them to be done on the sly.HCHC, for its part, maintains it has only the purist motives and told lots of people about their plans – although it seems there was a breakdown in communication at some point over who knew what and when regarding the quest for the federal designation. The clinic is concerned HCHC’s efforts to do the same could undermine their own, since they consider it unlikely the federal designation would go to two different organizations in such a small county. Whatever the case, it seems two of our main local health care providers are going to be at loggerheads over this for some time to come. That’s unfortunate, regardless of who did or didn’t say or do this or that. Both organizations will say the primary concern is serving local patients, but it seems clear that having a health care provider war in Summit County will serve no one’s best interests – and certainly not those of the patients. Both HCHC and SCCC would benefit greatly from working together rather than as competing entities, and hopefully cooler heads at both will choose the high road in the months to come and work to resolve this sticky situation in an amicable fashion. Mediators, anyone?***Monday night I had the privilege of attending Summit High’s annual Scholarship Night, where an amazing thing takes place: Summit County’s community turns out to help our graduating seniors realize their college aspirations by handing out more than $316,000 in scholarships to some 100 seniors. Thirty years ago, I was the beneficiary of one of these: $500 from the Town of Silverthorne, which at the time paid for an entire semester’s tuition at CU-Boulder. (OK, go ahead and laugh. Today that’d pay for a few textbooks and not much else.) As any college-bound student will tell you, any amount helps to offset the astounding cost of higher education, and the monetary gifts handed out to deserving students are greatly appreciated.Once again, SDN gave two scholarships to seniors with an interest in journalism or media studies: Kevin Heil and Hope Sharr. Another two gifts were awarded from the Brad Odekirk Memorial Scholarship fund to students with an interest in media or photography. Ode, a longtime photographer at SDN, has been gone more than five years now, but it’s always wonderful, when handing these out each year, to remember his art, his friendship and how supportive of local youth he always was. I’m sure he would have approved of this year’s recipients: Rachel Lawlis and Mauren Vasquez.Good luck to all the SHS Class of 2012 as they pursue college, careers or whatever life holds in store. Graduation day is May 26. Wonder if we’ll have a blizzard again like at last year’s commencement …?Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 668-4618.