#1 Frisco citizens face big box development head on
While 2005 was just another year in the annually escalating story of big city sprawl and development encroaching on once idyllic mountain towns across the region, Frisco voters met the issue head on with a special election to decide whether the town would open the door to mega big box Home Depot.
After a contentious, if not at times scattered, public debate, the citizens of Frisco ultimately decided to rebuff Home Depot’s advances. In the Dec. 13 special election, the town voted 566 to 425 to quash any discussions with the home improvement giant over development on a 9.4-acre commercial parcel on the north end of town – one of the last remaining parcels of undeveloped land within the town’s borders.The lengthy election process revealed some real fissures among local political leaders, business owners and community activists over the development issue generally, and the future of the town of Frisco specifically. While the town enjoys a healthy bottom line today, local pols like Frisco Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen and town manager Michael Penny stressed Frisco’s future during the debate, and warned that the town growth everyone envisions cannot be accomplished without significant new sources of revenue. Opponents to a Home Depot development being the means to that end were vocal members of the debate to be sure.
The “No” vote by Friscoites is certainly not the last word on the subject; the fate of the valuable 9.4-acre parcel still rests with the town, and town council activity in the first part of 2006 will initiate a new series of steps to decide what to do with the land. Many people have expressed a desire for Colorado Mountain College to build a campus on the site, as the college is actively seeking new facilities local to Summit County.The outcome of the special election notwithstanding, Frisco town leaders expressed genuine pride in the citizenry turning out to decide such a vital issue to the town – the 991 votes cast were the second most ever for a Frisco election.
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