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Greens vs. golf

Lu Snyder

FRISCO – Summit Greens is hoping to do what Frisco town officials opted against – to allow Frisco voters to decide whether they wish town funds be used to plan, design or construct a golf course on the peninsula.

Last week, Summit Greens submitted the paperwork necessary to begin petitioning for an initiative on the November ballot.

“We are trying to forbid the planning, design or construction of a golf course on the peninsula,” said Summit Greens chairman Doug Malkan.

Malkan said the party’s concerns include the preservation of open space and the Frisco Nordic center, the environmental impact a golf course would have on Lake Dillon and the peninsula, and the closures of existing trails popular with hikers and mountain bikes.

“We’re also concerned about the financial implication and liabilities to Frisco taxpayers, should the town need to subsidize the cost of the golf course,” Malkan said.

The issue of a golf course surfaced in January, when Frisco town officials explored overturning a 1992 citizens ordinance preventing the use of town funds to design or build a golf course on the peninsula.

In addition, in 1993, Frisco residents voted against the town using funds to design a golf course.

But their intent, town officials said, is not to design or build a course, but to plan for the future. And the town attorney told the council it isn’t necessary to overturn the ordinance because “designing” is not the same as “planning”.

Malkan said he was told town officials have up to two weeks to approve the language of the proposed initiative before the group may begin petitioning.

The petitioning group is calling itself the Save the Peninsula Coalition. Pending approval from the town clerk, the group will need to collect 421 signatures of registered Frisco voters by Sept. 5 to qualify for the ballot.

“We know it will be a lot of work, like citizen petitioning always is,” Malkan said. “But there are a lot of people very outraged about what’s going on with the golf course being planned out there.”

Malkan said he anticipates a good response to the petitioning.

“Frisco has a law forbidding the town from spending money to design a golf course,” Malkan said in a press release. “This was a product of a petitioning effort 10 years ago and of a vote of the people. The public has stood before the council repeatedly, passionately telling them that protecting the peninsula and keeping it open is one of the highest priorities. Town surveys have confirmed that open space is one of the highest priorities of the town.

“Yet despite all this, the pro-golfing town council has just appropriated $35,000 to plan a golf course on the peninsula, defying the public’s desires and skirting their own law. The only course left to us now, short of a lawsuit, is to take the peninsula away from the council and place it in the hands of the people,” he said.

Frisco community relations director Linda Lichtendahl said the town has received the petition request and is processing it per state regulations.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or lsnyder@summitdaily.com


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