SAVE THE PENINSULA COALITION

PRESS RELEASE

September 18, 2002

 

INITIATIVE ON THE BALLOT IN FRISCO SEEKS TO BAN GOLF COURSE

 

FRISCO - Petitioners have successfully placed an initiative on the ballot which seeks to ban a golf course on the Frisco Peninsula, which is adjacent to Lake Dillon and is home to the Frisco Nordic Center, the busiest Nordic center in the state.

 

On September 17 the Town Council signed the necessary papers to allow the measure on the ballot after Save the Peninsula petitioners collected 904 signatures in 90 days.  In order to get on the ballot the group needed to collect 422 valid signatures.

 

Our concerns are many, the serious detrimental effects to the quality of the Frisco Nordic Center, which consistently has had 20,000 skier days per season, the water usage of a golf course, estimated at 25 million to 30 million gallons per year which would come out of the town’s water supply, the imminent closure of popular trails for hiking and mountain biking, the loss of open space, impacts to wildlife and the financial burden on taxpayers, estimated at about $5 million.

 

Also, the Town Council has not done a study of the environmental effects to the reservoir even though a previous study showed the ground is very porous on the peninsula.

 

The initiative, if passed, would prohibit the Frisco Town Council from planning, designing, constructing or allowing a golf course on 219 acres of land the town owns just south of Frisco off Highway 9.

 

The group has maintained that the Town Council has forged ahead with plans for a golf course despite a previous vote against it in a 1993 election, public opposition to it for years at public meetings and town surveys done by the town in which a golf course on the Peninsula showed a negative rating with residents.

 

In May 2002 the Town Council first showed the public a $35,000 land use plan it had developed for a golf course on the Peninsula. The Council did not allow any public comment.

 

Frisco has never before had a people’s initiative make it to the ballot in the town’s 100 plus year history. The group’s initiative is the first to ever succeed.  Fifty people were involved in the effort to get the initiative on the ballot, with forty-two people petitioning.

 

It’s not easy to petition in Frisco. The town cut the number of days we have to petition according to state law in half, from 180 days to only 90. Then, they increased the percentage of registered voters we need to sign up from 10 percent to 15 percent. On top of that, they claim the number of registered voters in Frisco is 3,000, but the latest census figures put the number of people over 18 years old, regardless if they can vote or not, at 2,000. Finally, the Town Council has not been a friend to us petitioners. The mayor took out an ad with taxpayer money to defend the Town Council and he wrote a column in the paper asking people not to sign the petition. Petitioners were threatened with arrest at the Frisco Post Office for petitioning and the town’s attorney had to order the Council to back off of the Town Clerk during the signature counting process.

 

In spite of all this we persevered. We likely got the majority of registered voters in Frisco that actually exist and are not on a long summer vacation to sign our petition.

 

In the last Frisco election only 364 people in total voted. The group notes it had almost triple that in signatures. The November 2000 election, which was a bigger election because it had a hotly contested presidential race and a slate of state initiatives Frisco had 1,100 voters. The group noted that they collected over half of that number in certified valid signatures.

 

The group was approved for petitioning on June 6. On September 3 the group submitted their signed petitions to Frisco Town Clerk Debra Helton. The group was notified by Helton that they had 600 valid signatures, sufficient to qualify for the ballot, but the town’s charter required the group to wait for the Town Council to either pass the proposed initiative as an ordinance or submit it to the voters.

 

On September 17 the Council authorized it for the ballot. At the same meeting the Council again made a presentation of their golf course plan to the public, receiving negative public comment on their plan.

 

The measure will appear on the ballot November 5 in the town of Frisco as TOWN OF FRISCO INITIATED QUESTION 200.

 

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