Editorial: Peak 1, Frisco’s best chance
As Jennifer Kermode, director of the Summit County Housing Authority, observes in the guest column appearing on this page, finding land for worker housing is not easy in Summit County.
While the county takes steps to promote awareness of the need for land, the towns are also making strides. Breckenridge and Silverthorne are in the best position as both towns can more readily expand their borders. In the case of Frisco, land inventory is tight with few remaining parcels for anyone to develop. Frisco is limited by I-70, Dillon Reservoir and abutting federally owned land.
That’s why the push by the town to annex the so-called Peak 1 Parcel and develop it for worker housing makes an awful lot of sense.
Almost 10 years ago, Frisco convened an affordable housing task force that identified a several tools for bridging the gap between rising real estate prices and what local workers could afford. It was clear then, as it is now, that if a town like Frisco wishes to remain a viable community and not just an enclave of retirees and second-home owners, it would need to do something to encourage local families to call the town home.
The Peak 1 plan will not address the total problem; that’s because the number of homes the town needs to house its workers is in the hundreds. But Peak 1 is a project that can put a good-sized dent in the problem, and as the owner of the land, the town is in a position to truly act.
The Peak 1 parcel is bordered on two sides by development and abutted by the bike path on the other side. Other than a few area residents who walk their dogs there, there’s no compelling reason to preserve the parcel as open space, especially given the vast amount of such land just across the bike path in the form of a National Forest.
Another group has suggested a new law in town that would prohibit Frisco from doing things with town-owned land without a vote of the citizens. This is a thinly veiled attempt to block the development of Peak 1, and it should be treated as such. Using the excuse of preserving open space, this group would ignore the needs of local workers to keep undeveloped a small parcel already bordered by development and which is literally steps from the National Forest.
The Peak 1 project is Frisco’s best chance to develop a high-quality housing project for local workers that fits with the neighborhood and provides a clear community need. It should not be derailed by the selfish demands of a small minority.
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