Frisco retail showdown
FRISCO – Residents and business owners who are part of a citizens group against a proposed shopping center on the Meadow Creek parcel behind Safeway are planning to address the Frisco Town Council at 7 p.m. today.
Aleda Kresge, spokesperson for the group, said the main focus is to stop the retail complex proposed by Alberta Development, which has an exclusive negotiation contract with the town to examine the 9.4 town-owned acres where the company wants to build a two-winged shopping center with national retailers.
Alberta’s early planning also incorporates the six-acre Summit Stage Transfer Center into its new complex. The proposal is not yet an official land-use application.
Elected officials are to discuss the Alberta shopping center at their work session, which begins at 1 p.m.
“We’d like to not have this project go through,” Kresge said. “If we need to we’ll get it on the ballot. If the town wants to put it on the ballot, great. If not, we’ll do a petition.”
Kresge said about 20 people attended two informal meetings in the past two weeks to discuss strategies to stop Alberta’s proposal.
A development application has not yet been submitted, but in previous meetings developers indicated the 120,000-square-foot plan includes space for six national retailers similar in scale to Bed Bath & Beyond, plus a stand-alone Summit Stage building and more than a dozen lower-income residential rental units.
Some elected officials view the proposed development as an opportunity to boost Frisco’s sales tax revenues, which have been hit hard by a sluggish economy and competition from the year-old Target store in Silverthorne.
However, there are worries that the influx of more national chains will erode Frisco’s unique, small-town character.
Cindy Spaulding, owner of The Boatyard restaurant on Main Street who lives in The Reserve neighborhood near the Meadow Creek parcel, said her main concern is as a business owner.
“If they put in gigantic national chain restaurants, it will kill us,” Spaulding said. “It’s killed main streets all over the country.”
Spaulding said research shows that when given a choice, 85 percent of people will choose a national chain over an unfamiliar local establishment.
“Local business, while we love it, is not where we make our bread and butter,” she said. “If 85 percent of the tourists chose to go to Chili’s or Olive Garden, which is what I’ve heard they’re talking about putting in, we couldn’t afford that.”
The developer said in a town-sponsored meeting earlier this month that while Alberta holds letters of intent from national retailers, it would not divulge the names of stores interested in opening in the Frisco shopping center.
Kresge said other citizen concerns include impacts to wetlands that skirt the commercially zoned land, potential traffic problems, light pollution, noise and view corridors.
Kresge said she talked with about 50 citizens in the past few weeks.
“I have not spoken with anyone who supports the proposal,” she said.
The citizens group is passing out flyers and sending e-mails to encourage attendance at tonight’s meeting.
The issue is not on the council meeting agenda, but public comments are scheduled for the beginning of the meeting, which is set for 7 p.m.
Kim Marquis can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249 or email@example.com.
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