Frisco opts for alternate zoning |

Frisco opts for alternate zoning

FRISCO – The Frisco Town Council arrived at an unexpected compromise Tuesday and rezoned the town property behind Safeway for accommodations (AC) to allow for attainable housing with a commercial development.

The land, which is a possible site for a Wal-Mart Supercenter, was zoned for parks and recreation. It was purchased with the intent it would be developed, however, and most town officials agree the property should be rezoned in preparation for its development.

Town staff had recommended rezoning the property to auto-oriented (AO), despite the planning commission’s recommendation to hold off on the rezoning until more information could be gathered. Auto-oriented zoning would allow for the development of a commercial shopping area, auto-oriented in nature, that is both land and traffic intensive in character – like Frisco Station.

Council members voted 5-to-2 to approve the AO rezoning at its first reading two weeks ago. Councilmembers Bernie Zurbriggen and Jon Zdechlik opposed the rezoning and said they believed there might be a more appropriate zoning for the property – one that would allow for adequate employee housing.

More than 50 people filled the council chambers for the ordinance’s second reading Tuesday. Several citizens spoke at the meeting, both in support of the rezoning and in opposition.

While some said they opposed development of the land, the greatest concerns among citizens seemed to be the option for employee housing, architecture and the development’s impact on neighboring businesses.

Councilmember Tom Connolly had expressed hesitation with the auto-oriented zoning at the first reading, and, on Tuesday, suggested the AC zoning might be more appropriate.

The AC zoning is similar to AO but allows greater flexibility for a housing component, officials said.

Council members voted 6-1 to rezone the property to AC, instead of AO. Mayor Bob Moscatelli was the only one to oppose it. He said he did not share the others’ desire for a housing component with the development.

Though town officials said they have not begun negotiations with any developers, assistant town manager Theresa Casey said that is the next step. The question, however, is how and when.

The town has hired an economic consultant, in part to help it determine what might best benefit the town on the 10-acre parcel behind Safeway. But that process is scheduled to take six months, Casey said, and some town officials don’t want to wait that long.

Casey said the town’s management team likely will create a plan which it will then present to the council, but she did not have a time estimate.

“It’s a big thing that’s facing us,” Casey said. “It’s a big part of our future.”

Wal-Mart officials and Don Sather, partner in the Big Horn Center in Silverthorne, have expressed the most interest in the property. Officials of Summit Medical Center also had inquired about the property, but town officials said Tuesday that was not an option they were considering.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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