Summit County eyes completion of Lake Hill master plan process
Summit County government is hoping to move on to the next phase in the development of the Lake Hill property northeast of Frisco for future workforce housing despite having recently pushed the project’s time frame back by about a year.
County staff believes it has a final master plan completed and presented that roadmap for the 436-unit housing project to the Board of County Commissioners during a Tuesday morning meeting. The blueprint now contains several clarifications and addresses concerns from the Frisco Town Council following a joint meeting between the town and county boards in March.
“The goal here is for both the BOCC and the council to have a general comfort level with this conceptual plan and a mutual agreement to proceed with the next steps in partnership,” county planner Kate Berg said at the meeting. “There was a lot of clearing up of rumors and making them understand the intention of this, and actually incorporating that into the document.”
Revisions to the blueprint included determining the mix of residents — mixed between multi-family complex rentals and ownership units of single-family, duplexes and townhomes — as well as removing any set dates for its completion. The county originally thought it might have a finished master plan by this past September, but outstanding infrastructural and traffic congestion issues have delayed the overall schedule.
According to a 2016 housing needs analysis, Summit County will need 1,685 new units built by the end of 2020 to fulfill the swelling demand from the current and future workforce. The Tenmile Basin, which extends from the Gore Range to the Lake County line and the Tenmile Range to the Eagle County line, will require more than 33 percent of that total, or about 560 units.
The 44.8-acre Lake Hill property — purchased by the county from the U.S. Forest Service in late 2015 for $1.75 million — is the largest available land parcel to help meet those needs. Based on Frisco Town Council inquiries about the project, the guiding document now specifies that priority would be given for the future housing to those who are employed within the basin.
“We wanted to kind of emphasize that we’re providing housing to meet the needs of the Tenmile Basin,” Jim Curnutte, the county’s community development director, said in the Tuesday meeting. “We didn’t want it to be the place to meet the need for housing for all of the county or the resort specifically.”
Curnutte explained that in the process of bringing a project online, the first task is acquiring the land, and master planning comes next, followed by zoning and finally extending utilities and getting shovels in the ground. “So we’re at No. 2, and trying to wrap that up,” he said.
With regard to potential collaboration and infrastructure tie-ins, Frisco performed a water survey earlier this year to see if its existing rights and supply would be able to cover the completion of Lake Hill. Questions about the area sanitation district’s role and a prospective Colorado Department of Transportation traffic study for the Interstate 70 Exit 203 ramp, and the intersection of Colorado Highway 9 and Dillon Dam Road, are others still yet to be answered with relation to beginning the zoning process on the Lake Hill property.
At a joint meeting between CDOT and the county board earlier this month, the commissioners were told increasing capacity on the principal off-ramp into Frisco is estimated at almost $20 million and might take as many as eight years to finish. At this stage, no one seems to know where that kind of money might come from.
The focus for now, however, is solidifying adoption of the master plan by both Frisco and the county to at least start on the third step of rezoning. That, too, is a lengthy process granting opportunity for public comment before backhoes arrive and any dirt is ever moved.
“I’m very comfortable with it, and I also know that by the time we get started that it’s going to evolve and change,” said County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier.
“We’re in this together,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson added of the partnership with Frisco. “I kind of feel like we should either be there with them together, or we should wait and see if there are any additional comments and adjustments from the town council.”
As a result, the county board held off formal endorsement of the guiding document on Tuesday until after each of Frisco’s council members has a chance to look it over with the changes for themselves. The town initially planned to review it at its regular Tuesday night meeting, but kicked it to the next one on June 13 so Mayor Gary Wilkinson can give it more of his attention.
“This has been an excellent process in terms of public engagement, as well as identifying how we might want to develop the property,” said Curnutte. “But keep in mind that it is a master plan. The odds of it ultimately getting built out exactly per this plan are virtually zero. So we’re hoping that they’ll endorse it on that date.”
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