Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Frisco Addresses the Need for Affordable Housing

Frisco Addresses the Need for Affordable Housing

A few months ago, I was asked to participate in a citizens’ discussion group about the future of a parcel of land in Frisco. This triangular parcel is 12.8 acres and is named the Peak One Parcel. It is located along the bike path in Frisco and bordered by Fifth Avenue and Belford Streets.

The Town of Frisco has engaged Perry-Rose, a Denver planning, development and advisory firm, to work with the town and its citizens to create a socially and environmentally responsible mixed income housing community on this parcel. The Town of Frisco is sensitive to the fact that housing prices in Frisco have made home ownership for its local workers almost impossible.

In meetings and discussions with town planners and Perry-Rose, most comments and concerns were about density, ensuring that the design of the housing compliments the location, preserving the trails and wetlands, and building environmentally responsibly. In October, an open town meeting was held where citizens met with Perry Rose to further discuss visions for this parcel of land. On November 29, another meeting was held where citizens provided comments on alternate site plan concepts designed by Perry-Rose.

Regardless of your opinion on attainable housing, these facts may come as a surprise to you.
65 percent of Frisco residences are second homes.
Between 1990 and 2000, Frisco saw a decrease in residents of ages 0-4 and 35-39. The 5-9 and 30-34 age-groups stayed about the same, but the 50-64 group more than doubled. And the 65-79 age-group more than quadrupled.
In the 2006 Frisco Community Survey, only 27 percent of business owners surveyed reported that they have employees who live in Frisco.
Frisco Elementary School has seen a decline in enrollment by Frisco children. In 2006 the school’s total enrollment was almost 10 percent lower than it was the previous year. Many Frisco students do not live in town.
In the 2006 Frisco Community Survey, 67% of Frisco businesses indicated that employee retention/recruitment and lack of affordable housing were the great challenges they faced.
In 1990 the gap between median home price and one person median income was three times higher than income, and in 2007 the gap is 14 times higher than income.
A January 2005 study commissioned by the Summit County Housing Authority concluded that about 3,150 affordable homes will be needed county wide by 2010.
A 2005 study by the Rural Resort Region evaluated the cost of housing in Colorado’s mountain counties. Compared to the U.S. Standard for a family with median household income, the study found Summit County housing to be 283 percent higher than the national average.

For more information on the Peak One Parcel, please visit www.townoffrisco.com.
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