2014 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program

The FEMA website notes that the 2014 Pr-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program will be opening soon. Last year, the grant application time period began in July. It is my hope that we can try to pursue funding this year for structural elevation. the number of flood zone properties will increase dramatically on July 16th. These funds will go a long way towards assisting home owners address long term flood insurance costs.

Specifically we would be looking to FEMA to fund Structural Elevations as described below:

Structure Elevation – Physically raising and/or retrofitting an existing structure to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) or higher if required by FEMA or local ordinance. Elevation may be achieved through a variety of methods, including elevating on continuous foundation walls; elevating on open foundations, such as piles, piers, posts, or columns; and elevating on fill. Foundations must be designed to properly address all loads and be appropriately connected to the floor structure above, and utilities must be properly elevated as well. FEMA encourages Applicants and subapplicants to design all structure elevation projects in accordance with the American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute (ASCE/SEI) 24-05, Flood Resistant Design and Construction. For additional information about structure elevation projects, see Addendum, Part E

In order to submit such a grant FEMA is looking for detailed estimates of various costs, such as labor, materials, equipment, and subcontractor costs. We will need to identify what the federal and non-federal contributions would be (the non-federal contributions would be costs borne by the homeowner for elevating a structure).

As a part of the application, each property owner will be asked to provide the following FEMA required information:

  • The property address, original date of construction, and two color photographs for any buildings, structures, objects, or manmade sites/landscapes features that are 50 years or more in age. At least one of the two photographs provided of a building should be the front or primary façade showing the elevation;

  • Any identified federally listed threatened or endangered species and/or designated critical habitat in the project area;

  • Vegetation, including amount (area), type, and extent to be removed or affected;

  • Identification of all surface waters in the project area regardless of drainage area, size, or perceived hazard level. Information about surface waters should include dimensions, proximity of the project activity to the water, and the expected and possible impacts of the project upon surface waters, if any; and

  • A description of any adverse effects on low income or minority populations in the project area.

If a property is a repetitive loss property, the property owner will be required, at the end of the project, to provide an update to the national repetitive loss database (this includes an as-built elevation certificate).

The grant program can provide federal funding for these projects of up to 75% of the cost to elevate a structure.

Essentially I will need your cost estimate, survey plan, building elevations, existing and proposed first floor elevations, flood elevation on the property based upon the July 2014 maps, and the information noted by FEMA above. If you are interested, please let me know. I hope we can start this process when the grant application period opens.




Economic Development Committee Meeting April 17, 2014

Economic Development Committee Meeting

Thursday April 17, 2014, 9 am

Dennis Town Hall Annex – Conference Room

685 Route 134
South Dennis , MA 02660



  1. Sesuit Harbor Zoning By-law Review (one more review? Semi-final revisions Here)
  2. Route 28 Zoning Map Amendment for land between Holiday Hill and Benny’s Holiday Hill Rezoning
  3. Exit 9 Economic Center Zoning Discussion – Part 1 Understanding what is there


We need to create a contact list specific to Exit 9, please bring suggested key participants ideas so we can add them to the contact list.

Let’s Get The Discusion Started

When the Cape Cod Commission denied the Lowe’s application there were a few comments made related to Dennis Zoning for this area. While they were either completely incorrect (Dennis has zoned this area industrial so they must not want retail here) or inaccurate (Dennis has not adopted any changes to this areas zoning since it was designated an Economic Center), it is time to tackle a long considered overhaul to zoning in the Exit 9 area.

The land use vision is included in the 2002 Local Comprehensive Plan. The Plan calls for the area to become a mixed use center.  Current zoning even gets us part of the way there. If you look closely, we allow retail, professional office, manufacturing and other non-residential uses in this area. Actually, low density residential is allowed, BY-RIGHT, in the General Commercial III Zoning District and higher densities are allowed by Special Permit as well. However, most of the area is zoned at too low a density to create a walkable development area, and setbacks promote separation rather than the integration of uses on adjacent properties.

The general concept would be to promote a mixed use area that targets some percentage of total floor space for residential use, street level pedestrian orientation for some retail, with larger retail uses behind this street facade. Professional office space, research and development, and medical technology should be targeted. I have been looking at the so-called “innovation districts” for some conceptual ideas as well. These districts try to promote areas that provide opportunities for start-up programmers to share resources, two decades ago we referred to them as incubator spaces.

Here is a general timetable:

April 17th EDC Kick-off Meeting, 
April 17 – May 15 Identify key stakeholders 
May 15 EDC Meeting with key stakeholders to discuss concept and needs
May 15 – June 19 Meet weekly to discuss land uses with Stakeholders
June 19 EDC review results of stakeholders discussions
June 19 – July 17 Meet weekly to discuss density criteria, building height, setbacks, parking considerations
July 17 EDC to review progress
July 17 – August 21 Meet weekly to discuss site design, landscaping, internal connections
August 21 EDC to review progress
August 21 – September 18 Meet to formulate development mitigation requirements
September 18 EDC to review progress.
This is a very aggressive schedule. Much of this relies upon buy-in by the landowners on the concepts put forward. Some of it will challenge the traditional patterns that have been established out there of 40,000 sf lots with 9,900 sf steel buildings on them.

With this timetable we would have a build-out for a future land use scenario in the July/August time frame. Town Meeting is being asked to fund a Route 134 traffic study. This schedule will  which provide for a future growth scenario for the traffic study. Two growth scenario’s actually, existing zoning build-out and proposed zoning change build-out would both be able to be considered.

After September 18th we would be taking all the concepts and crafting the by-law. The actual zoning proposal could be ready for Spring Town Meeting in 2015. It is an aggressive schedule. Much of this overlaps with coordinating public review of the Sesuit Harbor Zoning proposal.

The EDC has just about finalized the Sesuit Harbor proposal. There is a need to review this by-law proposal with the Sesuit neighborhood between May and August. This might mean skipping one of these EDC progress report meetings.

We hope to develop a proposal for Cape Cod Commission acceptance. This will allow for the Commission to reduce or eliminate its control over this area.  We will need to establish an infrastructure improvement program for this area. This would include waste-water and traffic mitigation fees, to be used to fund transportation improvements and a centralized waste water system that will be needed for this area. It is possible we may need some form of special taxation district if the fee system is unworkable.

Stay tuned, I will be tossing lots of ideas out through this and the Economic Development blogs.

Discussion: FEMA outlines next steps for flood insurance law

A few days ago I shared a blog post entitled FEMA outlines next steps for flood insurance law and promised a discussion of the high points. The biggest take-away from this is we need to educate the consumer!

FEMA has been provided eight months to implement the legislated dismantling of the most egregious aspects of Biggert-Waters. After that, it could take up to six months for the insurance companies to fully implement the changes. The FEMA administrator essentially is stating that consumers need to take appropriate steps to lobby on their own behalf – i.e. the educated consumer.

Here on Cape we have a fairly astute group of insurance agents dealing with flood insurance. However, with a rush of flood insurance applications, it will, most likely be a reflex action for agents to reach for the rate tables. If you are a potential home buyer or home seller located in a flood zone, remind your real estate broker, mortgage company and insurance agent that the grandfathered flood insurance rates are transferable.

Dennis wants to tax medical marijuana | CapeCodOnline.com

Dennis wants to tax medical marijuana | CapeCodOnline.com.

The proposal, found below, seeks to place a 5% excise tax on the gross retail or wholesale sales by a medical marijuana facility. This tax would provide the community with benefits given we stepped forward and readily accepted this state mandate that all communities make themselves available to the possibility of hosting medical marijuana facility. We, and twenty other communities statewide, stepped up and will be providing a service to, not only our residents, but all the residents of the Commonwealth. In my discussions with the other host communities we share the belief that we should benefit in some fashion for taking on these facilities. This excise tax proposal will provide a benefit to Dennis, and the other host communities, by creating a fund each of us can reinvest in our cities and towns based upon the volume of sales. Our present thinking is the revenue could be used for projects of town-wide benefit. Recreational funding, possibly like a new community recreation center, that provides activities for people of all ages, but could specifically serve the youth and seniors in Dennis. Also, we are thinking a portion of the funds could provide initial funding for waste water improvements.

The proposal that will go before voters at Town Meeting:

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to petition the General Court for special legislation authorizing the Town to impose a local sales tax on the sale of medical marijuana; provided, however, that the General Court may make clerical or editorial changes of form only to said bill, unless the Board of Selectmen approves amendments thereto prior to enactment by the General Court, and provided further that Board of Selectmen is hereby authorized to approve amendments which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.



Section 1. (a)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 6 of chapter 64H or any other general or special law to the contrary, the Town of Dennis is hereby authorized to impose a local sales tax upon (1) the retail sale of medical marijuana sold by a medical marijuana treatment center licensed by the commonwealth pursuant to chapter 369 of the acts of 2012 originating within the town, (2) the wholesale sale of medical marijuana by a treatment center located in the town to another treatment center located in another municipality, (3) the wholesale sale of medical marijuana cultivated in the Town of Dennis to a licensed medical marijuana  treatment center located in another municipality, and (4) the wholesale value of medical marijuana cultivated in the Town of Dennis and sold by a licensed medical marijuana  treatment center located in another municipality. The sales tax imposed under this Act shall be at a rate of 5 per cent of the gross receipts from the retail or wholesale sale of medical marijuana.  The sales tax imposed under this section shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Town on a quarterly basis.

Section 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.


Or take any other action relative thereto.