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Frisco tapped for more development

JULIE SUTOR
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk The lot at Sixth Avenue and Granite Street in Frisco will likely undergo a profound transformation soon. Developer Thomas Tuso plans to demolish the single family home and small commercial building and replace them with a three-building, mixed-use development that will include 17 residential units.
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FRISCO – More development is on the way in Frisco’s central core.On Thursday, the Frisco Planning Commission unanimously approved the Bear’s Den Condominium project that would place 17 residential units and 4,620 square feet of commercial space on the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Granite Street.The site contains a small commercial building and one single family home owned by Miles Porter and Mary Staby, who are both partners in the project. Project developer Tom Tuso plans to demolish the existing structures.”Over the years, several committees in the town have been concerned with how we can get more people into town, out on Main Street and spending money,” Tuso said. “The high density of this project keeps the cost (of residential units) down and gets people into the central core.”

Some citizens in the audience Thursday objected to the project’s density and height, claiming it would compromise mountain views and be out of place with the surrounding smaller-scale residential structures.”By putting in a monstrosity there, it will destroy the views and the history,” said Sara Kinzey. Tuso plans to exceed the allowable building height in the zoning district. The area is zoned for a maximum 35-foot building height, but, since Tuso will provide underground parking, the code allows him a 15-percent height increase.The highest point on the project will be 44 feet; the average height of the entire project will be 37 feet. The nearby Rocky Mountain Bible Church has a height of 47.5 feet.In response, the commissioners noted that the project does comply with the town’s codes.

“We have to go by what the code reads,” said commissioner Arnie Yuen. “I’d like to see more affordable housing in the core area for working people, but we can’t make judgments based on personal feelings.”The lot is zoned for a maximum of nine residential units, but the town code allows for the eight-unit increase, provided that 25 percent of the additional units are affordable housing. Tuso will designate two one-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit as deed-restricted affordable housing.”If we kept it to nine units, they would be in the range of $750,000 to $800,000. By increasing the density, the units will be about $325,000 to $350,000. The price range is half what it would be if we built in the luxury range,” Tuso said.The one-bedroom units designated as affordable housing will sell for about $160,000, according to Frisco’s community development director, Mark Gage.”I don’t want us to pretend that this will be a huge economic boost to downtown,” said commissioner Jim Wheeler. “I’m only guessing, but probably 75 percent of these units would be purchased by second homeowners. There’s a huge difference between someone who is here every day versus the second homeowner who is here two months of the year.”

Tuso argued that many second homeowners rent out their units for much of the time they don’t use them.”I think you’re working off the right ideas as far as density goes,” said commission chairman Bill Climo.The Frisco Town Council will vote on the project on Aug. 10.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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