Frisco Town Council agrees to rezone property behind Safeway |

Frisco Town Council agrees to rezone property behind Safeway

Auto-oriented zoning

– Purpose

To promote the development of a regionally-based commercial shopping area which is auto-oriented in nature, to allow for commercial development that may not necessarily be compatible in scale or use with the Central Core District (Main Street)

– Permitted Uses

Commercial development which is both land and traffic intensive in character

FRISCO – Frisco Town Council members approved the first reading of an amendment to rezone approximately 10-acres of town-owned land behind Safeway. The land is currently zoned parks and recreation, and staff has recommened it be rezoned to auto-oriented, in anticipation of developing the lot for commercial use.

The property also has been considered as a possible site for a Super Wal-Mart.

The land was purchased, in an inter-governmental agreement between Frisco, Summit County and the Summit School District, with the intent it one day would be developed.

“When council started negotiating on the purchase, it was identified as a revenue-generating piece of property for the future,” said Frisco interim manager Tim Mack.

Though town officials said they have not decided who will be chosen to develop the property, they seem to agree it will be a big-box development.

Wal-Mart officials have expressed a desire to build a Super Wal-Mart on the site, Mack said. Several other developers have expressed an interest in the parcel as well, he added, including Don Sather, partner of the Big Horn Center in Silverthorne and officials with Summit County Medical Center.

Town staff has recommended the town council rezone the property to auto-oriented, in preparation for developing the property, said Frisco Community Development Director Amy Ito, but the Planning and Zoning Commission have recommended the town council not rezone it at this time.

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.

Though some Frisco residents have expressed a desire to see the land remain open space, Ito said the property’s proximity to Interstate-70 makes it more conducive for development.

Additionally, with the recent economic downturn and the impending Target and Safeway stores in Silverthorne, Frisco officials are worried about competing for sales-tax revenue. Approximately 40 percent of Frisco’s sales-tax revenue is derived from retail stores.

For these reasons, town officials seem to agree developing the land is necessary. Not all council members seemed certain auto-oriented is the best zoning for the property, however. An auto-oriented zone would allow only one residential unit, and some council members said they would like the flexibility to allow employee housing as a part of the development.

“We have an opportunity to create something really special here,” Councilmember Jon Zdechlik said, who asked if council members could create a new zone type for the area. “We can still create the same commercial opportunity … and get other components (like employee housing) that are important to this town.”

Councilmember Tom Connolly also said he would like to see a residential component as part of a development on the property.

When it came to a vote, however, only Zdechlik and Councilmember Bernie Zurbriggen voted against the ordinance. Connolly hesitated before agreeing to approve the first reading.

Only three citizens attended the first reading of the ordinance. There will be a public hearing at the second reading, which is scheduled for the Sept. 3 town council meeting.

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

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