Home Depot heads for the ballot
FRISCO – In a 4-2 majority decision, the Frisco Town Council voted Tuesday night to put Home Depot on a December ballot, leaving the fate of the 9.4-acre parcel up to the people of Frisco.A special election will be held on Dec. 13, when Frisco residents will vote on whether or not they want a Home Depot on the site, located at the end of Lusher Court by the transportation center.”Maybe this is not the right thing for the community,” said Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen, “but many people I’ve talked to say it is.” After the initial vote by the council, an amendment was proposed by Councilmember Tom Looby to require Home Depot to provide resources for an independent study, which would analyze potential economic, environmental and traffic impacts on the community if the public votes in favor of Home Depot.
The amendment, which also had support from Councilmember Bill Pelham, was voted down by the rest of the town council, who said that Home Depot would provide this analysis during the planning commission’s approval process.In a lengthy decision process which has taken up much of the past year, the town council had narrowed the field to three options for the parcel. One option included putting Big Horn’s mixed-use village concept on the lot.”It’s what we expected to happen,” said Don Sather, owner of Big Horn Ace Hardware in Silverthorne, of the council’s decision. “We’ve been looking at this property since 1995. If the voters vote Home Depot down, we will stay interested.”Aside from Home Depot and a mixed-use village, the other option included deferring the decision to give time for more studies and feedback.
Many members of the audience were in favor of the latter, as they voiced their opinions during time allocated for public speaking.”For the council to vote tonight on this resolution is premature,” said Frisco resident George Sherman. “This issue has so many facts that have not been addressed, let alone studied by staff.” Sherman went on to cite traffic, water, environmental, labor, housing and economic factors caused by Home Depot that would, in his opinion, negatively impact the town.These sentiments were echoed in detail by several other audience members, including Mike McCraken, who also brought up the proposals aborted earlier this year to involve Colorado Mountain College as a possible candidate. McCraken also questioned why there was such a small number of viable retail candidates interested in purchasing the land.
Of the six council members present, four of them voiced their opinions that the issue needs, and is ready, to go to the public.”The council voted months ago to let the town decide,” said Councilman Rick Amico. “The train has left the station.”Councilmember Tom Looby expressed his own objections to Home Depot’s presence on the ballot, citing aesthetic concerns about its appearance and an aesthetic compromise with the image Frisco wants to project.”The big box does not fit the character of what I think the community can and should be, ” said Looby, who added that he also had concerns about a negative financial impact on local business, and felt that the situation “cries out for some sort of compromise.”
But the feeling of the majority of council members was that it was time to take the decision to the public.”A lot of the questions you raise will be answered in the process,” said Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen, addressing the audience members.”If the community doesn’t want it, then they won’t vote for it,” he added. “In the meantime, this way, we’ll find out where we stand.”Keely Brown can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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