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Which comes first?

Lu Snyder

FRISCO – Frisco town officials stumbled taking their first steps to lay a foundation of sorts for a revenue-generating development on the 10-acre parcel behind Safeway.

The Frisco planning commission voted 3-2 Thursday to recommend the council not rezone the parcel of land – a possible site for a Super Wal-Mart – at this time.

“When council started negotiating on the purchase, it was identified as a revenue-generating piece of property for the future,” said Frisco interim manger Tim Mack. The land, which was previously owned by the school district, is zoned for parks and recreation.

Some feel the first step to developing the plot would be to rezone it. Others disagree.

Though members of the planning commission seem to agree the land eventually should be developed, most seemed hesitant to rezone the parcel without first knowing what development would go there. They expressed concerns including the impact of development on neighboring wetlands, potential traffic problems and economic impacts on neighboring businesses.

“No commercial venture or entity of any kind can go onto that parcel … unless its rezoned,” Frisco Mayor Bob Moscatelli said. And gathering information before rezoning the property means the town would have to foot the bill instead of the potential developer, he said.

Discussions about the parcel began anew shortly after the first walls of Silverthorne’s Target store were erected.

Moscatelli acknowledged the impending Target, scheduled to open in March, has made him nervous.

“In my personal opinion, we should decide who is going in there (the land behind Safeway) and get cracking on it as soon as possible,” he said. “We are realistic enough that we know we are not going to interview anybody seriously unless we rezone the property.”

Wal-Mart officials have completed their economic study to determine whether they wish to build a Super Wal-Mart in Frisco, Moscatelli said, and they are still interested.

Several other developers have expressed interest in the site as well, including Don Sather, partner of the Big Horn Center in Silverthorne, and officials with Summit Medical Center, which is looking to expand, Mack said.

The town has not yet begun negotiations with any of the interested parties, he said.

A number of Frisco residents, including the planning and zoning commission’s chair, Bill Pelham, would like to see the land remain undeveloped.

“If I had my druthers, I’d like to see this property remain open space,” Pelham said Thursday. But, he added, that is probably not realistic as the town moves into the future.

Mack and Moscatelli agree the first step in developing the property is rezoning it. The council will have their first reading on the subject at its meeting Aug. 20.

“People need to realize that the town is in complete charge of everything that happens or does not happen on that 10-acre parcel, and ain’t nothing going to happen on that 10-acre parcel that we don’t think is in the best interest of the town,” Moscatelli said.

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


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