9.4-acre parcel bids due today
FRISCO – A finish line is in sight for developers with designs on Frisco’s 9.4-acre parcel. But any who cross it today will face several more contests and hurdles in the months ahead.The Frisco Town Council invited five prospective developers – Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Alberta Development and BigHorn Center Partners – to submit proposals by today’s July 1 deadline.Of those, Lowe’s dropped out of the race due to internal staff issues. And Alberta’s Peter Cudlip has not confirmed his ongoing participation in the bidding process.All who do turn in proposals today will go before the town council during its next work session on July 12. Developers will then take questions from the general public the following evening at the Frisco Recreation Building.The town council has scheduled a special meeting for July 19, when it will decide which, if any, of the proposals will go before the citizens for a vote in November.In the near term, the council is unlikely to formally review the results of a phone survey conducted in April by pollster Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies. The survey of 131 Frisco voters sought public feedback on a slew of issues, including the fate of the 9.4-acre parcel.”People really want something that’s in keeping with Frisco’s character,” Weigel said. “Some people think development is great, and there’s another chunk who oppose any development. But for most people, the specifics are very important.”Weigel and town officials aren’t giving the survey results much weight due to its disappointing sample size. Weigel was able to reach barely more than half of the 250 respondents she had hoped for. And scheduling conflicts have prevented Weigel from meeting with the council.Furthermore, the issue will endure the ultimate of public surveys when it ends up at the ballot box on Election Day.”(The survey) certainly has a pretty significant margin of error, because we weren’t able to contact as many people as we would like,” said Weigel, who consequently opted to knock $4,500 off her $12,000 fee to the town. The completed survey had a margin of error of almost 9 percent.In her report to the town, Weigel concluded, “Voters are very energized on the 10-acre parcel issue. They are resistant to retail in the abstract, but repeatedly stress that specifics such as type of store, esthetics and fitting into the character of Frisco are very important in how they will evaluate a final proposal before voters.”While they do not want to hurt Main Street businesses, they are less concerned about the financial and economic implications of the site,” Weigel added.Sixty-nine percent of respondents said the town of Frisco is “headed in the right direction.”In regard to the fate of the 9.4-acre parcel, respondents’ top pick was open space. Five percent thought a single retail store would be acceptable, and 19 percent thought multiple, small stores in a retail center would be acceptable. However, 32 percent said they would be much more likely to support a retail development if it did not look like a big box development.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at firstname.lastname@example.org parcel timeline- July 1 (today): Deadline for interested developers to submit proposals- July 12: Development applicants present proposals to Frisco Town Council- July 13: Applicants present proposed projects to the public- July 14: Frisco’s citizen economic development committee reviews proposals and public input and makes recommendation to the town council- July 19: The town council will decide at a special meeting whether to refer one of the proposed projects to the voters- July 26: Council votes on first reading of any ballot item language- August 9: Council votes on second reading of any ballot item language- November 1: Citizens vote on development proposal
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