Frisco invites comments tonight on development |

Frisco invites comments tonight on development

JULIE SUTOR/summit daily news

FRISCO ” Residents and business owners will have a chance to voice their ideas and concerns on a proposed development behind Safeway and Wal-Mart at a public meeting tonight.

The proposal, which includes a 130,000-square-foot space featuring national retailers, a new Summit Stage transportation center and 20 units of affordable housing, has drawn increasing local opposition in recent weeks.

A newly formed citizens’ group, Frisco Open Space and Recreation for Generations (FORG), opposes retail development on the 15 acres of land, fearing detrimental impacts to local wetlands, nearby residential neighborhoods and existing small businesses.

As proposed, the nearest residence would be 600 feet from the buildings and 400 feet from the parking lot.

FORG helped rally more than 80 people to a council meeting last week to speak out on the issue.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Tom Elvin, one of the group’s founders. “What started as an issue for adjacent property owners has grown into a realization that this is in everyone’s backyard who lives in Frisco.”

According to Elvin, FORG is planning to place the issue on the ballot. The group hopes that voters will change the land’s zoning from commercial to open space and recreation.

“Frisco’s character lies in its Main Street merchants and restaurants,” said Christy Campton, co-owner of Rivers, a retail clothing shop on Main Street.

“If big box retailers move in, Main Street is going to suffer. People live here and visit here because it’s not like the town they just left.” Alberta Development Partners estimates the development would boost Frisco’s sales tax revenue by $1 million. The town now has an exclusive negotiation contract with Alberta that is set to expire on June 12.

“The town needs to decide how it wants that site developed,” said Alberta’s Peter Cudlip. “Whether it needs to be left as a park is the town’s prerogative. If it does want retail, we’re trying to do what’s best for the town.

“We’re not really doing big boxes like Home Depot, Wal-Mart or Kohl’s,” Cudlip added. “We’re talking 25,000 square feet for the largest tenant.”

Local developer Mark Sabatini of Galena Street Partners doesn’t worry about the proposed development’s competition with Main Street ” he is more skeptical about the project’s viability.

“Let’s say the applicant is successful in finding tenants,” Sabatini said. “What happens a year or two from now if they fail, similar to the situation at the Silverthorne Factory Stores?

“What kind of gateway experience does the town of Frisco want to create here? In order to do it right, there has to be a lot of discussion,” Sabatini added.

“We are aware that this is the front door to Frisco,” Cudlip wrote in a fact sheet. “It is our intention to design this in such a manner that it is compatible with the town’s image. So far, we have proposed a mining theme, but we are more than willing to revisit this.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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