Frisco council picks retail for 10-acre parcel |

Frisco council picks retail for 10-acre parcel

Summit Daily/Reid Williams Frisco Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen (left to right) and council members Dan Fallon and Gary Runkle listen as citizen Bob VanderKooi voices his opposition to proposed retail use of a town-owned parcel along Interstate 70 at Tuesday night's council meeting in town hall.

FRISCO – The Frisco Town Council decided in a 5-2 vote to support retail development on the 9.4 acres of town-owned, commercially zoned land known as the “10-acre parcel.”The decision evoked boos, head-shaking and a smattering of angry shouts from the crowd of about 100 residents and business owners who packed the council chambers late into the night. “I have always said I would never support anything unless it would, in fact, project and enhance the character of this town,” said Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen, who voted in favor of retail development.

“If I back away and think about the value of this property, its location next to an interstate highway, buffered from residential areas by a big band of wetlands, adjacent to other large commercial development that supports this town … its highest and best use becomes retail.”All the other uses we’ve explored are going to punch a hole in the bottom of your budget bucket. We have to look this square in the eye and move forward,” Zurbriggen added.The parcel is located behind the Safeway and Frisco Transfer Station, at the dead end of Lusher Court.Councilmembers Deb Helton, Gary Runkle, Dan Fallon and Rick Amico joined Zurbriggen in voting for the resolution to support predominantly retail use on the site. Councilmembers Bill Pelham and Tom Looby opposed the measure.

Those who supported retail development cited the need to boost town revenues to maintain services and provide amenities citizens want.Fallon rattled off a list of more than a dozen programs, projects and services from pine beetle control to street maintenance to historic preservation that would likely go under the knife in the absence of increased tax dollars.”I view these things as more than casual luxuries,” Fallon said. “They’re important to economic development, and I don’t think casting them aside is the best thing for the town.”Looby offered a development alternative which would have thrown council support behind a Colorado Mountain College (CMC) campus on the parcel, along with small-scale retail, multipurpose space and recreation space.

“Its visibility next to I-70 would convey a positive image of Frisco as a college town,” Looby said. “That would be a powerful economic development tool.”The council rejected the alternative, which received support only from Looby and Pelham. The vote for retail came with caveats, forwarded by Amico, that the town initiate a competitive search for development proposals with significant community input and that no development proposal receive council approval if CMC has not yet found a suitable site in Frisco upon which to relocate. Amico won unanimous consent on his idea.

The votes came after nearly three hours of public comment on the issue, heavily weighted against retail development. Many had pinned their hopes on the CMC option.”I did not move here to have it look like Denver,” said Frisco resident Barb Cole. “Maybe we as citizens want you to look at ways to cut way back. The (town) Christmas card was lovely, but there were too many names on it.”Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or

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