Frisco eyes Forest Service land for attainable housing
FRISCO – Though Frisco’s attainable-housing project across from the elementary school has not progressed as quickly as some had hoped, town staff already is eyeing a new site for additional attainable housing.
Before Frisco’s former town manager, Clay Brown, left office, he notified the Dillon Ranger district of the White River National Forest that the town was interested in some U.S. Forest Service land on the Dillon Dam Road, said Frisco assistant town manager Theresa Casey.
Those discussions were put on hold after Brown left, she said, but have been renewed now that the town’s new manager, Alan Briley, has arrived.
Recently, Casey and Frisco’s interim town manager, Tim Mack, began working with Western Land Company to obtain a preliminary appraisal on the approximately 45 acres, Casey said. They expect to receive a ballpark figure for the land in a little over a month.
The land abuts the east side of the Lake Forest Condominiums’ property, between Interstate 70 and the Dillon Dam Road, and extends east for less than a mile.
“There’s a real natural bench up there,” Casey said. “We were looking at around 70-some units that could be built there. We were thinking something along the lines of town homes (instead of single family homes).”
Casey said town staff is only gathering information at this point, and they do not yet know if the land is within the town’s price range.
“We may get the appraisal back and go, “Uh-oh,'” she said.
If town officials decide the land is within reach financially, then they would begin negotiations for a land trade with the Forest Service. The swap would be done on a national level, Casey said, adding there is a chance the Forest Service would not be interested in negotiations for the land.
“We would really only develop on about half of that,” Casey said, adding that the town would like to leave a buffer of about 20 acres between the development and the Forest Service land on the east. “The long-range goal, of course, is to provide attainable housing for the workers in our community.”
Once the preliminary appraisal numbers are in, Casey said, staff will present it to town council to determine whether they wish to move forward with negotiations or not. If the price is out of reach, town officials then will look at alternative sites for their attainable housing needs.
Meanwhile, the attainable housing project across from the Frisco Elementary School, at 7 Belford Place, for which many had hoped construction would begin this summer, has been stalled by contract negotiations, said Frisco’s senior planner Mark Gage.
Town officials are in the process of finalizing contract negotiations with McCrerey Construction, which should be approved in late September or October, Gage said.
Once town council approves the contract, town officials can proceed with reviewing architectural drawings for the project.
Town officials said they initially had hoped to begin construction this summer and have some of the units filled by the end of the year.
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