Frisco gives final approval to Foote’s Rest Hotel and Plaza after more than a year of wrangling
January 24, 2018
The Frisco Town Council approved an ambitious hotel project on Main Street Tuesday night, capping off more than a year of public debate over a proposal that promises to transform an entire town block with a 65-room boutique hotel complex.
It's been a bumpy road. Foote's Rest Hotel and Plaza, as the project is known, had to jump through an unusual number of hoops, and weather heightened public scrutiny because it involved the town selling land and a historic building to the developer, Kelly Foote.
Public concerns about historic preservation presented the first hurdle, but after months of back-and-forth with the town council and planning commission, Foote and his team settled on a plan that will preserve six original town buildings — including the iconic Foote's Rest Sweet Shoppe and Staley House — in a public courtyard on the corner of the lot.
Foote and his team told the town council that the project would help fill in a missing link on Main Street and feature several public amenities, including the courtyard and bowling alley.
“I do not appreciate being accused of doing something dirty, because we didn’t. This was a very complex, a very honest and very long process.”Deborah ShanerCouncilwoman
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But hang-ups would arise as the design progressed, including its size and three-story height. As the project neared its fourth and final vote since November 2016, residents and some on council were particularly worried about parking and noise from the project, which will include a rooftop pool, patio bar and restaurant and underground bowling alley.
Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday night to give final approval to the project despite the parking and size concerns. Dan Kibbie and Kim Cancelosi cast the no votes, and Jessie Burley was absent.
"If you look at Sixth and Fifth Avenue, the parking there is always full, at day or at night," Kibbie said. "And we're not even talking about the employees driving here, we're talking 50 to 100 employees. Where are they parking?"
There is consensus on the town council that parking rules need to be updated in the code, a priority that's been deferred for years. The question was whether or not Foote's development should have to pay the price for outdated parking requirements.
Cancelosi inveighed against the project for a host of reasons but took particular issue with how the town has negotiated with Foote and his team, beginning with the land sale.
"This smells like stinky fish wrapped in socks — teenage socks," she said, arguing that town staff seemed to be in the tank for the project from the beginning.
Councilwoman Deborah Shaner shot back, visibly frustrated by the innuendo and rumor that has trailed the project since its inception.
"I am very resentful of citizen accusations and fellow council accusations of backdoor deals and unethical behavior on behalf of this team and this town and how this project has gone down," she said. "I do not appreciate being accused of doing something dirty, because we didn't. This was a very complex, a very honest, and very long process."
Mayor pro tem Hunter Mortensen agreed, saying the protracted public comment and approval process had gotten the project where it needed to be.
"We had an amazing amount of control because of this process," he said. "I think the reason public comment has not been 45 minutes, why it was limited, is a testament to how much everyone has done, including this council, to try to make this project something that fits best with the character of this town."
Three citizens made comments for roughly 10 minutes Tuesday night, a stark contrast from standing-room-only meetings in 2016 with hours of public comment. All three who spoke were concerned primarily with parking issues on Main Street.
Council has scheduled a work session to discuss parking issues in response to the steady stream of comments citizens have made about the growing problem.
Foote and his team will now need to obtain construction permits, but the council vote effectively cleared the way for the project. Building is expected to proceed in stages.