Frisco locals weigh in on Peak One impacts
summit daily news
FRISCO – While not everyone supports the Peak One
attainable-housing development, Frisco business owner Dan Fallon thinks its imperative for the survival of the town.
According to Fallon, without a young community invested in Frisco for the long haul, businesses will be weeded out and the town will essentially become a retirement community or a place for second homeowners.
In the local restaurant business since 1988, Fallon also said it’s hard to provide “meaningful employment” for a staff that relies on business coming in from the Front Range and from other weekend visitors. A broader, full-time resident base would support local businesses, create a “deeper talent pool” and provide for town growth.
“There’s a certain demographic that’s not here,” he said. “The town can’t sustain its commercial base with just weekend traffic.”
Frisco’s new attainable, deed-restricted neighborhood will be built south of Main Street on the 12.68-acre Peak One Parcel, and the plan will include 72 units in a mix of duplexes and single-family homes.
The pending units will range from small cabins (around 800 square-feet) to single-family homes up to about 2,000 square-feet. The homes will be available to people making between 80 percent and 160 percent of the area median income, or income ranging between $68,000-$136,000 for a family of four. Ten Mile Partners – consisting of Breckenridge Wellington Neighborhood developer David O’Neil and Wolff/Lyon architects of Boulder, Breckenridge architect Matt Stais and Frisco builder Dan McCrerey – won the bid for development design. O’Neil said he anticipates that construction will take at least five years.
“It’s an economic investment for the town that pays itself back in a myriad of ways,” Fallon said, noting diversity and strength of community as big paybacks. ” … Otherwise Frisco will turn into
a sleepy, retirement community.”
Geoffrey Stacey, a prospective Peak One homebuyer who currently lives in a deed-restricted unit in Silverthorne, said he’s interested in learning more about the new neighborhood because “Frisco’s the hub of everything.”
“I think it would be a good place for locals,” he said. “It might be deed-restricted, but it will continue to appreciate each year. It’s a good idea for a local that wants to keep (his or her) mortgage payment low.”
Jon Kreamelmeyer, a Frisco resident and the president of the Summit School District board, said the Peak One development could be helpful to the school district – both with housing of school staff and increasing Frisco Elementary School’s attendance.
“The student population has flattened and in some cases decreased in the county,” Kreamelmeyer said. “Frisco Elementary School particularly has a low population number.”
Though Kreamelmeyer said the school district has no plans to close any Summit County schools for having below-recommended student populations, new families in the area “would certainly be a plus.” But whether the neighborhood will truly be affordable to young families has yet to be determined by the Summit School District board president – “I’d like it to be,” he said.
“If you want to keep the viability of the community, you have to look at a certain amount of growth,” he added, noting that “good planning” needs to be used to create a nice place to live. “If we want to have a sustainable community, we should embrace it.”
Karen Strakbein, the assistant superintendent of business services at the school district, said that while Frisco Elementary School is not declining in enrollment, there would be space at the school to accommodate more students.
And Summit Combined Housing Authority director Jennifer Kermode said the new housing project will increase increase sales tax revenue because “people are going to live here and shop here.”
“It will keep the character of town, rather than a half-empty shell of the town,” Kermode said. “For me it’s all positive. Yes, there will be increased traffic – probably a rush hour to get to jobs – but that’s the least of our concerns.”
Kreamelmeyer, who was on Frisco’s town council when it acquired the Peak One Parcel in the more than a decade ago, noted a large public response – both positive and negative – when the land was purchased.
“There was major controversy back then when town acquired it,” Kreamelmeyer said. “It’s a volatile piece of ground.”
Kreamelmeyer acknowledged that “residents of that area will probably feel an impact,” but he also said that since the land was purchased by the town it was always planned that it would
be used to create an affordable- housing development.
John Donovan, a Frisco resident who lives on Pitkin Street (two blocks away from where the Peak One project will start) said his concerns about the development are mainly increased traffic and density, as well as recreation.
“We already have the highest traffic in town,” Donovan said, noting that the new neighborhood will add hundreds of cars to the area at build-out. “It gets pretty busy around here.”
And though Donovan acknowledges that the property was purchased for affordable housing, locals on the south side of town have been using the land as a “defacto park” and “it really needs to be dealt with.”
He suggested that the town create an area on the south side of town where kids can play and families can picnic.
Last spring, a vocal neighborhood group – the Friends of Frisco Open Space – fought to force a vote on development of the town-owned Peak One Parcel. Concerns about views, land use and wildlife were given as reasons why the parcel shouldn’t be developed. The parcel has been used as informal open space for the adjacent neighborhoods.
Despite his own concerns, Donovan said “something needs to be done to address affordable housing.” But he also wondered how service workers would be factored into the affordable-housing situation.
“It seems to be pointed at people who make a fairly good living,” he said.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at email@example.com.
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