Gail Culp: Vote Yes to help mend a broken Frisco
April 16, 2009
Frisco is broken. My friends shake their heads and ask “What’s happening in Frisco, why you at are war again?” Giving that some thought, I recount my first-hand experience with the Peak One process.
All started fine, with well-attended public meetings where citizens prioritized needs and visualized a livable, attractive neighborhood. This was developed into the Peak One Master Plan.
Then the trouble. Early this year, the town drafted and adopted the zoning laws governing the Peak One development. In this process, a transformation occurred with the result being Peak One zoning that is way too dense!
How dense is it? Many envisioned an affordable and livable development like the popular Wellington neighborhood in Breck. At Peak One, there is no cap on density. Minimum lot sizes are teeny (2,000 square feet per duplex unit, 3,000 square feet per single-family home). To illustrate, assume a 50 x70-foot lot size (3,500 square feet), which is somewhat larger than the minimums. On that small lot, the zoning will allow a 1,750 square-foot home, a detached 400 square-foot garage AND an 875 square-foot carriage house living unit. In comparison, the typical lot in Wellington is 4,600 square feet, without the extra carriage house squeezed in.
The Peak One parcel is small, only 12.7 acres. Half is not developable acreage; we can’t build on the wetlands or the flood plains, the recreation path, the roads and other public ways. On the estimated 6.4 acres of developable land, 75 homes are to be built along with a possible 75 detached carriage houses. Lacking a density cap, more than 20 units per developable acre are allowed on Peak One, far more density than in Frisco’s highest allowable density district (RH) zone. Didn’t we make it clear we wanted a neighborhood that Frisco could be proud of ” that was affordable and livable, not a development of intense density?
Then the war begins. When citizens speak to these issues, planning commissioner Bob Bloch wrongly “clarifies” and pretends Peak One’s density is far less. And worse, dissenters are ruthlessly attacked.
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Where is the balance? As one who participated in the Master Plan process, I object to the direction Frisco is taking. How do we achieve a balance of our highest community priorities? Most want attainable housing balanced with other “high priority” values. No park exists south of Main St. ” our kids play on the streets, but no park has been assured? The most used recreation path in all of Frisco runs through the parcel, why have no buffers or setbacks as yet been established? Will access to the trailhead parking for Mount Royal, Rainbow Lakes and Peaks trails be provided? Under Frisco’s new legal definition of “open space” which counts wetlands and paved areas, will there be any contiguous or useable green areas as contemplated in the master plan?
Instead of answers, more attacks. It is not selfish, elitist or “NIMBY” to question town plans. The ballot issue is not about “a select few wanting to preserve their own interests”. When we get name calling instead of thoughtful answers, I can only declare that Frisco is broken. I am voting YES in hopes of getting Frisco back on track.
Gail Culp lives in Frisco.