Lake Hill Q&A: Summit County residents ask questions about the development going in near Frisco
The project would sit on nearly 45 acres and could host a mix of rental and for-sale units
The Lake Hill workforce housing development project that will be located on the outskirts of Frisco is still years away from occupancy. Nevertheless, Summit County and Frisco are continuing to engage the community about its impact as the two entities move forward on next steps.
Currently, the county is working on rezoning the nearly 45-acre property to accommodate what could be a mix of 436 deed-restricted affordable housing unit types. The property was previously zoned as natural resources, and in order to be developed, it has to be rezoned as a planned unit development, according to a county document about the process.
The process began in November, and the county has contracted Norris Design as a planning consultant to prepare the application and facilitate the rezoning process. The goal is to wrap up this stage of the project by February.
Part of the process is to gather public input about the project, so the county held two virtual community meetings Wednesday, Jan. 19, and Kate Berg of Norris Design facilitated the discussion.
The forum started out with a presentation on the history of the project and reviewed the impact study, master plan and workforce housing needs assessment that have helped drive the focus of the development so far. On the call were Senior Associate of Norris Design Lindsay Newman, Summit County Housing Director Jason Dietz, Summit County housing planner Brandon Howes and Frisco Community Development Director Don Reimer.
Here are some of the questions asked during the forum:
One of the biggest points of contention among residents, especially those who live along Dillon Dam Road, is what kind of traffic and roadway improvements would be installed.
Some participants voiced concerns about the two intersections with Dillon Dam Road and how they might be more congested once the development is complete. Others expressed worries about pedestrian and bicyclist safety with the influx of cars coming from and going to the complex.
Dietz said the county has already completed a traffic impact analysis, and under the guidance of the study, few improvements would be needed prior to the development of the first phase of the complex. Eventually, other improvements would likely be installed, such as measures to slow speeds and an extension of the recreation path along Dillon Dam Road.
“There’s actually going to be some beneficial improvements with Lake Hill being developed that are going to make the Dam Road a lot safer, slow vehicle speeds and provide infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists, and complete missing connections between the Lake Hill neighborhood and (Colorado) Highway 9,” Berg said. “With all of those improvements, the condition will be improved.”
While the finalized details of these improvements are still to be made, Dietz said the county and its partners are already planning to phase in some of these tweaks, including at the intersections with Dillon Dam Road, so as not to overwhelm the roadways.
“The intersection improvements are going to be phased with time,” Dietz said. “We are coordinating with (the Colorado Department of Transportation), and it doesn’t all come on at once.”
During the forum, there were a couple of questions about who would be eligible to live at the Lake Hill development once it’s completed. Dietz stressed that above all, the complex is for the local workforce, meaning only those working at or serving a Summit County business or organization would be eligible to live there.
“There will be a wide range of income eligibility, rentals and for-sale prices,” Dietz said. “It’s not going to be all one (area median income) category. It will be a wide range of lower AMIs to mid-range AMIs probably from 30% up to 120% AMI but the key to Lake Hill is that it’s only for the local workforce.”
According to the Summit Combined Housing Authority’s website, this would mean that a studio could range from $505 up to $2,019. The salary range for eligible individuals would be between $20,200 and $80,760 a year.
This also means that all of the for-sale units in the complex would be deed restricted to the local workforce. Like other units of this type, an owner must continue to work in Summit County to keep their property. If they no longer work in Summit County, Dietz said they’d likely need to vacate. If an individual was merely between jobs, then the county would work with the owner.
Dietz stressed that the specific eligibility criteria have not been set and that these details will likely be determined once the project nears completion.
According to Dietz, the project’s infrastructure improvements are estimated to cost $22 million. The price tag for the project is expensive, so it’s no surprise community members asked a few questions about where the funding is coming from.
Dietz said the project is to be funded through the county’s housing funds and through partnerships with some of the other towns. He said the county also plans to pursue state and federal funds to make the project happen.
During the forum, a few community members were confused why the county was leading the project considering the development’s close proximity to Frisco. Because the acreage is located within unincorporated Summit County, the county is the entity leading the planning.
That being said, the county knows the development will have a considerable impact on the town of Frisco, which is why it’s working so closely with the town.
“Certainly, it does have a big impact on the future of the town of Frisco, which is why the town council as well as staff are very heavily engaged in this project,” Reimer said.
Some attendees were interested to know if there were plans to annex the development into the town of Frisco, but both Dietz and Reimer said there was no discussion about this for the time being.
“The short answer is that the county had prior conversations with the town several years ago and at that point in time, the town council indicated there was no interest in annexation, so the county continued down this road outside town development,” Reimer said.
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