Exit 9 Economic Development Center Framework

Thinking out loud. The Economic Development Committee has spent some time trying to decipher a future for the Exit 9 area. We have a concept, we need to convert that to a formal plan.

The concept calls higher densities; required mixture of uses; and a public private partnership for the provision of new infrastructure.

We are thinking of a “Planned Unit Development” (PUD) approach where larger tracts of land can be looked at in a big picture way. Ultimately permitting multi-year, multi-phased projects. Such an approach provides the capability for private interests to take on larger scale infrastructure upgrades at their expense as they will have upfront expectations of future build-out.

The vision includes Route 134 as an upgraded central boulevard. Sidewalks, bicycle facilities, and street edge amenities  would be added along with improvements at the two key intersections. Theophilus Smith Road would need similar upgrades with two major intersections,  one at Gages Way and a second at a new intersection at a new Boulevard that would connect the Patriots Square/ Market Place intersection to Theophilus Smith Road. Gages Way and its intersection with Great Western Road would need similar improvements.

The land uses would fall into three categories: retail oriented uses; office/services including hotels and restaurants; and residential uses. All PUD projects would be required to have a minimum percentage of its floor space from each category. Roughly thinking, 20% minimum retail; 20% minimum from the office/services category; ans 35% minimum from the residential category. As we would look to acquiring some state support for improvements in this area, we would be trying to make this a Chapter 40R eligible zoning district.  This would create a need to have 20% of the residential units created be deed restricted affordable. 

Chapter 40R designation would require that the development in the district only be subjected to Site Plan and Design Review approval.  Use of Special Permit approval to implement the goals of the district is not allowed if we seek to leverage the infrastructure funds available under Chapter 40R.

Now to the nitty gritty details, we are considering a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 2, which means 2 square feet of building floor space for ever square foot of land area. We are also thinking of a maximum building height of 4 stories.  Building and site design would require scaling such that buildings closest to Route 134 and the South Dennis Historic District would be held to today’s 2 1/2 story, 35 foot height limit.

The first line of buildings would be pulled forward to a “build to” setback much like we have in Dennis Port and West Dennis,  probably 25 feet off of the street line (existing and proposed streets). Front yards would provide pedestrian facilities and amenities. Outdoor cafés would be considered acceptable for a portion of this area. Push cart access to the area might be a consideration as well.  We would want to establish some degree of pedestrian friendly uses at street level.

The challenge is converting these thoughts into a zoning by-law.

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