About Daniel Fortier

Daniel Fortier is the Town Planner for the Town of Dennis. He is a certified planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners. He has been the Town Planner since 2001.

When Planning for Retirement, Consider Transportation – NYTimes.com

This really hits home for Dennis. Our population is aging and clearly getting to that stage where driving is not going to be an option. While we need to study how to encourage more young families to stay on the Cape, we also need to plan for the needs of our aging population.

These solutions may not be mutually exclusive. Density supports transit. Planning nodes with appropriate densities and amenities to provide a high quality of life for young professionals and seniors, jobs, entertainment and services can be achieved. An Exit 9 growth center, or increased housing densities along Route 28 can promote a better quality of life for current and future Dennis families. A quality of life which, if approached properly, can support a carless future as well.


Flooding, from a slightly different perspective

With the updates to the FEMA maps we have spent an inordinate amount of time looking at the impacts of a 1% storm on the town. The Union of Concerned Scientist have put forward a new, perhaps more insightful, analysis.

As discussed in, // Sea Level Rise Making Floods Routine for Coastal Cities, there are many properties at risk from just slightly higher tides than our average high tides today. Below are a few highlights and links for different parts of town included in their review. I am focusing, for the intent of this post, on the seemingly insignificant one foot increase in tides.

West Dennis

In West Dennis a one foot increase in tides will place 16 housing units at risk of impacts during routine high tide events. At first I scratched my head on this one, then I thought about the extent of the rack lines along many of the waterfront beaches. Given some of these come almost up to the outer reaches of the most coastal oriented properties, it is not so hard to believe that a slightly higher tide will reach out and touch them.

DSC00136 (Small)

Dennis Port

I have been on the beach during a few recent storm events in Dennis Port I was actually surprised by how few were considered at risk (6 homes). Perhaps the cottages at Camper’s Haven were not included. However, the rack lines near Metcalf Beach and elsewhere clearly shows tides lapping at the pilings for many decks along this coastline.

DSC08097 (Small)Dennis

The final area looked at is the coastal areas in the Dennis Village pat of town.  Here, eight homes are considered at risk from just a one foot increase in tides. More likely these homes are in the low lying areas along Chase Garden Creek. However, nearly all of the Aquaculture Research Center property would be regularly inundated at high tide.

I  have stated many times over the past several months, homeowners in Dennis need to think about how they prepare for future flooding, both from 1% storms and from sea level rise in general. Perhaps the 30 homes most immediately in harms way have already thought about this, but everyone within a flood zone, should be thinking about elevating their homes.

CapeNews.net: Homeowners Scramble For Insurance Due To Recent FEMA Maps

Some good information:

Homeowners Scramble For Insurance Due To Recent FEMA Maps

Dennis had over 4,000 properties added to the flood zone, however, our velocity zone did not expand as dramatically as elsewhere. If  you can get the preferred risk policy, take advantage of the grace period to flood proof your home. In general, a primary residence will see an 18% annual increase until you are at “true risk.” A second home will go up more dramatically and should reach “true risk” within five years.

For the past several years I have been trying to attract potential participants in a grant application requesting federal funds to elevate structures. If you are interested see the details here. I will be trying again with the next funding cycle, so, start thinking about preparing the necessary information. The grant program is only going to get more and more competitive.

A Community For Those Most At Risk

Over the past two weeks a proposal for town owned land along Hokum Rock Road has generated a lot of discussion. The parcel is located on the south side of Hokum Rock Road on land that has served as the town sand pit .


The property is bordered by sand pits to the west, town owned land to the south and open space associated with the Fox Run Subdivision to the east. Overall the site contains just over 16 acres.  The proposal, since its first introduction, has been scaled down to address community concerns.

Town Meeting will be asked to make the northerly five acres of the site available for the creation of an affordable housing community for adults with autism and autism spectrum related disorders. A request for proposals will be issued asking for qualified proposals to provide this community. 


Area shaded with yellow to remain open space.

.                                                                   Area shaded with yellow to remain open space.

Our conceptual plan calls for the creation of four dwellings, a community center and possibly a barn. Each dwelling will consist of a living room and kitchen along with four bedrooms. Each of the bedrooms will be designed like a studio apartment providing the resident with their own bathroom, refrigerator and area to prepare food.

We are looking to create a community that serves the life needs of these at-risk adults. Many still live at home with aging parents. These parents are worried about what will happen to their adult children. These worries include the very real possibility that these adults may wind up homeless. The community will provide opportunities for on-site counseling, life training, transportation services, advocacy and other services needed to provide a quality of life for these members of our town.