Author Archives: Daniel Fortier

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.

Flood insurance is broken. Here are some ways to fix it – The Conversation 9-19-17

Flood insurance is broken. Here are some ways to fix it  

The above is an interesting article covering the dilemma facing the National Flood Insurance Program. It has some valid points and some challenging thoughts.

One addressing repetitive loss properties, not allowing access to the NFIP if a house has submitted claims equal to twice its replacement value, is intriguing. But, with coastal construction hitting multi-million figures, and flood insurance capped at $250,000, one would have to question who this would benefit most, and who would be most hurt by it.  An elderly person’s home being damaged on the waterfront, that was built decades ago, may leave that person both penniless and homeless if they cannot insure their family homestead. However, it would not preclude that property being snatched up for a song and having a new mansion constructed. Making the waterfront more exclusive.

Another proposal in the piece suggests that all homes with mortgages be required to buy flood insurance regardless of whether they are in a flood zone or not. This reinforces the idea that flood insurance is here to protect the banks, not the homeowners. It spreads the associated insurance costs out across more properties, thereby making the program more financially stable, but does not cut across all properties that may be at risk.

Perhaps a better solution, and one that would be less costly to any one part of society, would be to have all homeowner insurance policies include flood provisions and establish a basic flat fee for flood insurance.  According to Zillow, the total value of all homes in the United States topped $25.7 trillion in 2013. A 0.01% of home value flood insurance fee could generate $2.5 billion in revenue for flood insurance annually. With more storms the size of Harvey, Irma and Maria expected, at 0.04% of home value, $10 billion could be generated annually at a cost to the average homeowner of about $140 per year. By making flood insurance a standard part of homeowners insurance, the average homeowner could be protected as well from flood damages.


Recent Affordable Housing Accomplishments #Housing4All #affordablehousing #OurHomesOurVoices

The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, Housing Coordinator, Planning Office and Planning Board have been quite busy in recent months on the affordable housing front. Here are some highlights since January 1st .

1. 98 South Yarmouth Road – Habitat for Humanity has received approval for a three bedroom house at 98 South Yarmouth Road. The Special Permit has been finalized, with no challenges, and Habitat can proceed with this project.

2. Janall Drive – Habitat has acquired, through donation, the two affordable lots that were a part of the Janall Drive affordable housing development. The Planning Board approved modifications to the Special Permit and Site Plan for these two homes, and they are expected to proceed to construction.

3. FORWARD Housing at the Rock – The FORWARD project has received its Special Permit for construction of two four-bedroom dwellings within a duplex structure. It is our hope that FORWARD will soon be the recipient of a state housing grant to support this project.

4. Dennis Port Motel Conversion – The Planning Board has approved the conversion of the long vacant Dennis Port Motel into twelve rental apartments. The conversion will involve the combining of hotel rooms into a mixture of efficiency, studio and one- bedroom apartments. While rents on all the units will probably be within range of many workers in town, three units are required to be deed restricted affordable. I have already received inquiries about potentially living in these new apartments from residents of Dennis.

5. 317 Sea Street, Dennis Port – The Planning Board approved the conversion of the three bay garage located at 317 Sea Street in Dennis Port into four one-bedroom apartments. One unit will be accessed by way of a ramp for handicap accessibility. The existing, wide open driveway will be reduced in size with landscaping added. One of the four units will be deed restricted affordable.

6. 72/74 Swan River Road – The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust has acquired the property at 72/74 Swan River Road. The property will be added to our affordable housing rental stock, with both units being deed restricted affordable.

PRESS RELEASE TOWN OF Dennis – Community Compact Signing

On Tuesday July 25th Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and State Representative Tim Whelan came to the Town of Dennis joining the Selectmen and Administration in Signing a Community Compact agreement. The Community Contract is a voluntary agreement between individual Towns and the Commonwealth. Each Community Compact is unique and tailored to best practices that Community selects.

Under the Community Compact, the Commonwealth will offer technical assistance, extra incentive points on grants, and additional grant programs offered only to designated Community Compact Towns.

The Town of Dennis applied for a Community Compact with the following best practices: Mixed Use Development – The Town selected Mixed Use Development as a best practice area as it meets the needs for promoting concentrated development where housing and employment can work together. The mixed use development approach allows for coordination of infrastructure that serves all community needs in one area. By concentrating development under the auspices of M.G.L. Chapter 40R, Dennis will be able to focus transportation, wastewater, recreation, and other municipal infrastructure in a manner that serves the greatest need.

Affordable Housing – The Town of Dennis adopted an affordable housing zoning bylaw in 2001 and have had numerous applications approved under this bylaw since then. In 2004 and 2007, Dennis enhanced its affordable housing zoning by making multi-family housing available in the Dennis Port Village Center (2004) and West Dennis Village Center (2007) with 25% affordability requirements.

With this Community Compact, the Town of Dennis hopes to explore an array grant opportunities including ones for wastewater as Dennis explores community partnerships and looks to the future.