Affordable Housing Looking Back At 2014 And Forward To 2015

Housing affordability is the No. 1 problem facing Dennis.  The lack of affordable housing creates a situation where young people cannot afford to live in town. This means young people educated in Dennis cannot bring their knowledge or skills to town.  It threatens everything that makes the Dennis a great place to live. Expensive housing prices make it impossible for more than a wealthy class to live here year round or for a second home market to thrive.

Dennis has done more work on this issue than most are aware of probably over the past several years. Our approach proceeds from two primary ideas:

1. Try many different solutions.

Solutions are hard to come by, we need to recognize the driving forces that push housing prices up, and tackle these head on.  Dennis needs to add to the overall housing supply,  fix regulations and invest in subsidized housing. The scale of the problem calls for us to make use of all of these strategies at one time.

2. All our villages are in this together.

Affordable housing is not just a one village issue. East Dennis may have the highest concentration (measured in percent of all housing units) and South Dennis the largest number of affordable housing, no where is the supply even near the demand. In every village over 40% of the year round population spends more than a third of their income on housing. Over 10% of the population is below the federal poverty rate.  In short, Dennis has a tremendous amount of need for affordable housing.

The housing supply situation is even more dismal.  During the first decade of this century we shifted to a predominately second home community,  with nearly 52% of our housing count being listed as seasonal by the Census. Locally employed home buyers are outbid for modestly priced homes that get torn down and replaced with luxurious second homes or by investors who know they can earn more on weekly rentals than the average family can afford for a mortgage.

What follows is a snapshot of what Dennis has achieved in housing, where we’ve been set back, and what is before us in the upcoming year:

Achievements

Affordable Housing Trust Fund

The Dennis Affordable Housing Trust Fund  establishes a focal point funding for affordable housing.  Dennis made a major step forward with the creation of the Housing Trust Fund. Housing is expensive to create — the average unit in Dennis costs over $200,000 to build, excluding land costs.  Housing that is subsidized to be affordable isn’t any less expensive to build.  Given land costs, it takes close to $300,000 dollars to make a single unit affordable in Dennis.  Many sources of funding have never been available to Dennis for creating affordable housing, while other sources of funds have disappeared as the federal and state governments have dramatically cut their assistance over the past decade. The Dennis Affordable Housing Trust Fund, when coupled with Community Preservation Funds will provide a dedicated source of local funding.

Public/Private Partnerships in Housing Creation.

Housing under the control of the Dennis Housing Authority plays a critical role in meeting housing affordability needs. The Authority is the single largest owner of housing, deed rstricted or otherwise, in Dennis. Due to declining state and federal funding programs, the Authority has not been positioed to add to its housing stock. In its place the Town has stepped up to work with Habitat for Humanity, the Housing Assistance Corporation and other private entities to fill this void.

Habitat for Humanity has constructed two affordable ownership units on land provided by the Town. The Housing Assistance Corporation has broken ground on 27 units of rental housing on Route 134.  Private projects include ground breaking on 8 ownership housing units, two deed restricted affordable, in Dennis Port and completion of the rental conversion on Route 134 now providing 18 rental units, with 5 of these units deed restricted affordable.

Addressing the Seasonal Housing Market.

The housing crisis has many facets.  Two market forces artificially drive up housing prices, second homes and weekly rentals. Sites like ineedavacation.com and airbnb have made it easier for homeowners to find weekly vacation renters. The increase in units rented weekly, reduces available year round rentals for local employees and drives up the rental costs for the limited remaining rental properties.

The Town has attempted to address these issues. Heritage Sands is the first purpose built seasonal home project in Dennis in years. The 60+ units of housing, plus a smaller 5 unit cottage conversion on the north side, provide options for second home buyers and relieves pressure on the year round housing market.

Looking Ahead to 2015.

A Renewed Focus On Housing

The coming year will see a renewed focus on housing, and housing affordability. The Town has many irons in the fire; reuse of town owned land; zoning initiatives; pursuing projects under current zoning; and Community Preservation funding for housing all  are on the radar screen.

MelPet Housing

After years of delay, the Community at MelPet is finally coming to fruition. Ground was broken this year with hopes to have residents in place before the 2015 holiday season.

Elkannah Howland Road and Janall Drive

Two projects approved by the Planning Board in recent years provide opportunity for additions to our affordable housing stock. Elkannah Howland Road is approved for the creation of 18 housing units, 9 deed restricted affordable to 80% of median income and the remainder restricted to 120% of median. This project has been held up in court for years. On Janall Drive eight housing units, two deed restricted affordable have been approved for construction.

Dennis Port Townhouses

Ground has broken on another eight unit project in Dennis Port. Two of these units will be deed restricted affordable. One of the affordable units will be fully accessible.

Candlewood Lane Housing

Years ago we started discussing  a Chapter 40R housing project on Candlewood Lane. The concept is to rezone all the land adjacent to Candlewood Lane to allow for a higher density compact neighborhood. The concept would be similar to what is being built at Heritge Sands, but for year round housing. The proposal would call for a mix ofone and one and a half story residences with footprints between 700 and 900 sf. Conceptually, the site could accommodate 51 units of housing.

Route 28 Rezoning

We are exploring the possibility of rezoning Route 28 from the Dennis Port Village Center Zoning District to around the Cape Shoe Mart area. This effort would seek to encourage making this stretch of Route 28 into a walkable residentially oriented, yet still mixed use, area connected to the Dennis Port Village Center. The working concept would include top of the shop housing, townhouse development and clustered single family dwellings interspersed with rehabilitated and redeveloped commercial space.

Exit 9 Economic Center

Another big initiative calls for a new approach to the future of the land area south of Exit 9. The Economic Development Committee is exploring creating a Planned Unit Development approach for this area. The concept presently under consideration calls for a floor area ratio approaching 2.0. There would be three general land use categories, with development projects being required to draw floor space uses from each of the categories. At least 1/3rd of the floor space would be required to be residential,  with a 25% affordability requirement.

Hokum Rock Road Community

Town Meeting approved land on Hokum Rock Road for the creation of a community for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The community will provide affordable living arrangements for a population that is at great risk of becoming homeless.

Beyond 2015

Looking to the future, there is still much to do.

Reform the planning process to welcome projects that fit within the zoning.

Dennis needs to consider moving certain zoning districts to “by-right” development with more reliance on properly defined Site Plan Review control as opposed to Special Permit control. Dennis Port and West Dennis Village Centers could benefit economically from a more certain development approval process. Changes in these two areas would also make the villages eligible for Chapter 40R consideration.

Innovative “Small” Housing  Within The Affordable Housing Bylaw

As we have delved into the Candlewood Lane housing concept, its application on other sites has also been considered. The verbiage is being crafted to allow it to be applied elsewhere. Several sites come to mind, both public and private ones. Public sites include the former DPW site on Bob Crowell Road and parcels the town has foreclosed on around town. Private sites could include two properties that might make ideal mixed use sites.  These properties could also combine use of Community Preservation Act Historic Preservation and Affordable Housing funding. These sites, in village centers, include the Columns site in West Dennis and the former Karl’s Landmark site in Dennis Port.

Affordable Housing Land Acquisitions

Since the initial creation of the Land Bank, Dennis has used Land Bank and Community Preservation Act funds to acquire land for conservation purposes.  The Community Preservation Act funds could also be considered for targeted acquisitions of sites that are found to be optimal locations for creation of affordable housing. Willing seller sites currently exist, sites that are on market.

More Seasonal Housing Target Areas

The Heritage Sands community of seasonal homes has succeeded in reducing some of the demand for seasonal housing in surrounding neighborhoods in Dennis. Similar projects have the potential for reducing some competition for existing home resales, leaving more existing homes for the year round population in Dennis.  We need to further analyze the dynamics behind the sales at Heritage Sands and find areas where such housing can be created. Modfications to, and expansion of, the Seasonal Resort Zoning District might be in order. Additional cottage colonies should be considered for inclusion in this district. In addition, the present by-law does not allow for increased density, perhaps, increased density could be allowed provided the building separation standards placed in the by-law are adhered to. The more purpose built, seasonal, housing we can create, the lower the home price pressures will be on the existing year round housing stock.

Tackling Weekly Rentals

This is a two step issue. First is the question of whether we should pursue measures to reduce the spread of weekly rentals, the second is the question of pursuing rooms taxes on weekly rentals like several of our neighbors are doing but with an affordable housing twist.

The advent of websites such as ineedavacation.com and airbnb have increased the marketability of weekly rentals. They have also placed the ability to rent a house for a few days or a week easily into most people’s hands.  These sites have also increased the reach of investors into otherwise residential neighborhoods, turning homes into business properties.  Some have recognized this transition, and have started to regulate weekly rentals as commercial land uses, rather than residential ones.  This may need to be considered for portions of Dennis. Restricting weekly rentals in portions of town will protect a portion of the housing stock from potentially being investor owned. In Hawaii zoning districts are established that allow weekly rentals, and others that prohibit such districts. In San Francisco, they have defined residential properties as ones that are owner/leaseholder occupied for at least 275 days per year. Closer to home, the Town of Hull has determined that homes rented on a weekly basis constitute businesses in residential zoning districts and has determined that such uses are banned under their existing zoning. Looking at rental permit history, it should be possible to develop districts that allow weekly rentals, while prohibiting such businesses in some other areas.

The second issue is the rooms tax.  Weekly rentals of homes do not pay the hotel rooms tax like hotels are required to do.  Our neighbors have been pursuing expanding the rooms tax to these rentals on a fairness argument, basically stating that these rentals generate the same impacts on their communities as hotels. As I have laid out above, weekly rentals turn residential properties into commercial investment properties. The return on a weekly rental in July far exceeds what a local employee might be able to pay even for one month’s mortgage payment. These commercial investment properties drive up the selling price for homes and decreases the housing supply available to low or moderate income households working in the local economy. The local option rooms tax on weekly rentals could be earmarked to directly serve the portion of the local economy most directly impacted by these price increases.  The tax on these weekly rentals could be dedicated to the Affordable Housing Trust for programs to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Dennis stands committed to meeting our affordable housing challenge. We look forward to continued community support for affordable housing.

Cottages, Cottages, Cottages – Mayflower Beach Villas

At the last Board of Appeals hearing the ZBA was faced with a request to raze and replace 6 cottages on the north side. At present, the cottages range from about 300 sf to about 600 sf. The proposal calls for tearing these down, making the new cottages comply with zoning setbacks and increase the size of the structures. Under the proposal, each cottage will have a footprint of roughly 700 sf and total living space, across two stories, of about 1,370 sf.

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Above is the site plan for the project, below are the drawings for one of the proposed new cottages.

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The Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District has already approved the replacement of the old cottages on this site with the new ones. The Board of Appeals asked the landowner to meet with his neighbors and come back to the June 23rd meeting with agreements on landscaping and screening to ensure adequate screening for the neighbors.

This meeting will take place on-site on Saturday May 31st at 10 am. I hope the concerned neighbors will make every attempt to attend this meeting.

As Scott Van Voorhis rightfully points out in his Boston Globe column, these are “Not Your Granddaddy’s Cottages” but they do reflect the direction for the future of cottages both on the north and south sides of Dennis.

Some Interesting History on Camper’s Haven

Don Robitaille passed these on to me over the weekend. Camper’s Haven apparently originally consisted of two locations. The site of today’s Camper’s Haven and the site of the existing Haigis Beach, known also as Pettingill’s Trailer Park at the time of the town’s acquisition of the site.

The cost of Beach Front Property in 1962? all of $35,000.

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Heritage Sands – A Work in Progress

Sometimes we work real hard on a project, never get the chance to see it through to the end. Dennisport Village Center is progressing with many more new additions coming this Spring and Summer. We have much happening in other parts of Dennis right now and I really need to go take a few pictures of all that is going on.  Progress is being made at the Cumberland Farms and former Christine’s property towards redeveloping these sites, but I have not gotten out to take any pictures.  For now, the work at Heritage Sands will have to do.

Heritage Sands as it was:

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Heritage Sands as it is now:

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Heritage Sands as it will be:

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Work Set To Begin At Heritage Sands

After the conclusion of last Thursday night’s Selectmen’s Meeting everything was in place for Cape Cod’s first new cottage colony in half a century [link]. On Friday morning the realtor for the project announced they were ready to start accepting reservations for purchasing cottages. Contracts for construction will be available soon thereafter.

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Of even greater significance, permits have been issued by the Dennis Building Department to begin demolition and site preparation. Soon Dennisport will be the beneficiary of its largest new venture since, well since Summit Partners bought into its future in the downtown.

The village has come a long way in the 13 years I have now been here. Going out of business signs have been replaced with a Main Street full of hope. That hope is now expanding to the rest of the village.

Heritage Sands

Here are some of the site improvement benefits I listed last night at the Board of Selectmen’s Meeting:

*  Removal of structures from the Velocity Zones located on the property;

*  All structures on the property constructed to flood zone standards;

*  Removal of cesspools from the coastal dunes;

*  Removal of structures/RV’s from the coastal dunes;

*  Improved setbacks from property boundaries and coastal dunes;

*  Removal of structures/RV’s which encroach in a deeded right-of-way;

*  State of the art waste water treatment including nitrogen removal;

*  Reductions in overall traffic generation from the property;

*  Lot coverage reduced;

*  Storm water controlled on-site; and

*  Building Heights of 25 feet where pre-rezoning 35 feet was allowed.

All of these match up to one or more of the policy objectives found in the Regional Policy Plan. For instance, the building height ties to the objective of not promoting mansionization and pursuing Cape Cod vernacular in building design.

Heritage Sands Responses To Comments

The following highlight comments that have been fielded to date, and responses to those comments. Comments have been received in the Planning Board Public Hearing, through the Planning Blog, and other communications. These comments have been responded to on previous occasions, during the Planning Board Hearing, private meetings and on the blog, those responses are repeated here and expanded upon where appropriate.

Lack of public review of project

* This proposal has been presented to the Dennis Economic Development Committee on several occasions and to the Dennis Planning Board three times (first during the original zoning proposal hearing, second during the petitioned attempt to modify the Seasonal Resort Community zoning and finally at the November 5th Planning Board Public Meeting). The Planning Board Public Meeting was noticed in the newspaper and mailed to abutters within 300 feet as would occur with required public hearings. The public was allowed to ask questions and comment at the November 5th Planning Board Meeting. Responses to these comments were offered.

* In addition, the project has been discussed on the Dennis Planning Department Weblogs; in all three local newspapers (two print one electronic); and has been followed closely by WXTK radio.

* The project is the direct outcome of very public planning processes for Dennisport including the Dennisport Design Charrette and the year long process to draft the Seasonal Resort Community Zoning By-law.

Certain comments mentioned lack of receiving a notice

* All those commenting that they did not receive a notice in the mail were determined to live beyond the 300 foot radius of the property entitled to notice under normal town Public Hearing procedures.

Project should have ZBA approval

* Project is consistent with the Seasonal Resort Community Zoning adopted by Town Meeting for this property. Use is by-right and must comply with strict design standards that were placed in the zoning by-law. No Zoning Board relief is needed.

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Project should be subject to Site Plan Review by the Planning Board

The owner of the property submitted plans to the Planning Board in October and the Planning Board held a public session on November 5, 2012. The public meeting was noticed both by a mailing to those owning property within 300 feet of the property, just like we would for any required public hearing, and it was published in the Dennis Register for two consecutive weeks. On November 5th, the Board accepted public comment. They took no vote as the project does not trigger a Site Plan Review under the Dennis Zoning By-law (just like the change in use for the former Pizza Hut building which recently became medical offices).

The Site Plan Review standard in the Dennis Zoning By-law is strictly tied to the demand for additional parking over the existing use on the site. Heritage Sands reduces required parking from 159 spaces to 63 spaces, and therefore does not trigger a mandatory Site Plan Review. However, in the Heritage Sands instance, the Planning Board and the Public were provided the same review opportunity that would have occurred if a Site Plan Review were mandated, just no vote was called for due to the lack of jurisdiction.

Project should be reviewed by the Cape Cod Commission

* When this project first started to be reviewed by the town, we met with the Executive Director of the Commission and Commission Regulatory Staff under the belief it would trigger Commission review.

* Discussions regarding impacts/benefits of the project led to the across the board belief that the owner should pursue a couple of approaches including a jurisdictional determination and a project of public benefit exemption from review (under a redevelopment limited review application). The latter being based upon improvements under all the regional review criteria.

* A Commission opinion that adversely affected Dennis wind turbine interests provided further impetus to ask for a jurisdictional determination.

* Two requests have been made of the Commission regarding Mandatory DRI review, both times the Commission has determined that no mandatory thresholds are exceeded.

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Architecture should not be row houses.

* Property is designed consistent with the Cape Cod Commission’s “Designing the Future to Honor the Past” preserving views and using traditional Cape Cod designs

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Housing units are not consistent with the by-law/do not look like seasonal cottages

* There have been many comments along this line. The by-law down-sized the potential size of structures in this area. Part of the change set development standards for cottages. The plan calls for the creation of a new, seasonal, cottage colony. There will be 63 cottages ranging in height from 18’ 8” to 25’ in height. The cottages will provide a mix of one and one and a half story structures. Shorter cottages and cottages with smaller footprints, ranging from 652 sf to 795 sf, are targeted for sites adjacent to Old Wharf Road. The largest cottages are restricted to areas deeper into the property, away from Old Wharf Road. The cottages comply with the Seasonal Resort Community zoning for size, height setbacks and spacing.

* Cottages along Old Wharf Road were kept smaller than cottages deeper in the property to ensure a blend with the properties across Old Wharf Road from the property.

* Cottages are consistent with recommendations in the Cape Cod Commission’s “Designing the Future to Honor the Past” and the examples of cottages used to illustrate the zoning proposal prior to adoption.

* Proposal meets State Building Code requirements.

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Concerns about drainage, especially at the end of Shirley Avenue

* Town replaced drainage in 1999.

* Site will contain all storm water on site; thereby further improving conditions on Old Wharf Road in this area

* A trench drain will be placed across the site driveway to capture storm water leaving the site. Along Old Wharf Road the property will also be flanked by a short wall which will block run off headed to the street.

* The trench drain not only captures storm water from the site driveway, it is designed to capture excess runoff from an extreme storm event or failure of other on-site, upgradient, storm water control devices.

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Access in and out of site

* Vehicle access through one driveway opposite Shirley Avenue;

* The driveway location was shifted to the east in August 2011 after it was noted that the originally proposed entrance was opposite a residence on Old Wharf Road.

* Pedestrian access for neighbors with beach rights through existing access easement.

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A traffic analysis should have been conducted

Traffic issues were discussed with Glen Cannon at the Cape Cod Commission. The ITE Trip Generation Rate for RV Parks (ITE Code 416) suggests 0.37 trips per camp site in the peak hour and 74.38 per acre for average daily travel. The existing RV Park therefore generates about 576 daily trips and about 61 afternoon peak hour trips.
A “recreational home (ITE Code 260),” the closest category for a cottage colony, would generate 3.16 trips per week day, and 1.6 am peak hour .26 trips in the peak hour. As a 63 unit cottage colony this would be about equal, with 199 daily trips with 102 of these occurring during the morning peak and 17 during the afternoon peak hour periods.
The conclusion, the change to a Seasonal Cottage Colony with only 63 units would generate less traffic than today.

The site access should have been left where it is, or located opposite Ocean Avenue

The site access has been a part of many technical reviews with Planning, Engineering, Police and Fire department input. As the photo below illustrates, the existing site driveway is adjacent to a stretch of Old Wharf Road which has both vertical (rise in the road) and horizontal (bend in the road) curve issues.

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Ocean Avenue is aligned with the property line between the Haigis Beach parking lot and Heritage Sands. To locate a site driveway in this area would either require joint access with the properties, losing a significant number of parking spaces in the town lot, or creating a staggered intersection which could lead to extra confusion.

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The proposed access is aligned with Shirley Avenue creating a four-legged intersection. Exiting vehicles will be lined up opposite Shirley, rather than opposite anyone’s home. Sight distances are also ideal at the proposed driveway location.

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The proposed driveway location will be unsafe due to speeding vehicles

The Dennis Police have conducted speed analyses in this area. Average vehicle speeds are 25 mph. The 85th percentile speed matches the 30 mph posted speed.

Vehicle headlights will shine into bedroom

As noted above, the driveway location was shifted to the east in August 2011 after it was noted that the originally proposed entrance was opposite a residence on Old Wharf Road.

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Pre-August 2011 Site Plan

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Revised Site Plan

* Traffic generation at night is significantly lower than at other times of the day. None-the-less, the site driveway is aligned opposite Shirley Avenue, not anyone’s home. Using the ITE Trip Generation data suggests that all but 80 of the site trips would occur outside the morning and evening peak periods. These 80 trips would be split between entering and exiting traffic. If they were split evenly across the day and night, 4 trips per hour in the of-peak periods could be anticipated. This would mean, generally, 2 entering and 2 exiting per hour. Even at this low level of night-time traffic impact, the applicant has offered to plant screening on the corner lot on Shirley Avenue.

* On August 1st, mid-summer, sunset is at 8:18 pm

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Fire and other Public Safety vehicle access

* Several reviews took place with town staff including Fire, Police and Engineering. Traffic circulation and the accessibility of all portions of the site by fire apparatus was reviewed closely. Fire apparatus can reach all structures on the site.

* Special provisions have been designed into the site boat ramp to allow ambulance access to the beach, a feature not now present on this site or Haigis Beach next door.

Natural vegetation to screen

* Vegetation is provided through-out the site consistent with “Designing the Future to Honor the Past” by the Cape Cod Commission. This report establishes appropriate plantings for Cape Cod.

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Parking requirements for visitors

* Parking exceeds zoning minimum requirements and is consistent with what is required on adjacent properties.

* Extra parking is provided by community building and elsewhere on site.

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Septic location and capacity

* Septic capacity set by Consent Agreement with DEP at 14,300 gpd.

* Septic located adjacent to the community building with mechanical equipment in garage.

* Leach fields located in existing high elevation areas on site.

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Will septic generate noise or odors

* Septic facilities will be in close proximity to site housing, noise and odors will be minimal.

* Leaching areas will be below site green areas.

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Will septic system be in an enclosed building?

* Mechanical equipment will be in the garage structure adjacent to the community building. All other facilities will be below ground.

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Concern about groundwater impacting septic system

* Storm water report includes a soil analysis conduced for the project by the same entity that conducted the analysis for Crowe’s Pasture.

* The soil analysis suggests that there is over 8 feet to high groundwater (wet periods) in the area of the septic tank and leaching facility.

Request to limit waste water capacity to 12,000 gallons for fear of saturation

* DEP established future waste water levels based upon a conservative approach to current use.

* DEP used “campsite” waste water flow for existing flow rather than “recreational vehicle.” This differentiation set waste water flow targets at less than 1/3rd of the current Title 5 flow.

* As set in the consent agreement between the state and the landowner, waste water generation on the site will be well below historical levels.

* Soils analysis conducted for the site does not identify any water table restrictions which would call into question the waste water allowance in the consent agreement.

Time frame for construction

* Site work to begin as soon as possible. Permit applications have been filed and approved by the Dennis Conservation Commission. Demolition permits to begin site preparation work have been filed and are awaiting completion of this meeting. With no additional permitting delays site work can begin in a matter of days.

* Target is for waste water and other site infrastructure to be in place during the winter/spring 2013.

Ongoing inspections

* DEP requires a waste water system which will need an on-going monitoring and maintenance program.

* Dennis storm water regulations require storm water system cleaning and inspections.

* The storm water analysis includes a maintenance schedule and procedures for tracking system maintenance.

 

Snow and trash storage

* Site layout allows for plowing, what little that might occur, to store snow along the edges of the interior road and at the ends of site parking spaces.

* The Dennis zoning establishes this as a seasonal resort. Access is greatly limited after October 31st and before April 1st.

* Off-season use will be further restricted due to the need for the site office to be staffed when open for use by owners.

* Each cottage includes an attached storage shed for trash receptacles.

* Trash removal will be contracted for by the condominium association.

* No central dumpster will be present on-site.

Public safety issues, i.e. debris, on-site

* At the time of the Planning Board Hearing, site had piles of fencing and other material left behind by RV owners to remove. Much of this was removed.

* Since the hearing the site was used for SWAT team training leaving new issues.

* While some material has been removed, a final Conservation Commission permit is necessary to complete site demolition.

* Demolition permits have been applied for.

Questions regarding fencing

Old Wharf Road

* Along Old Wharf Road there will be a low stonewall. The stonewall will be both decorative and functional. Its function will be as a retaining wall and part of the storm water control system. This wall will be topped off with a short fence.


Haigis Beach

* Along Haigis Beach, a stockade fence will most likely be used on the lower level. On top of the retaining wall, a more open fence will be used. Fencing on the beach border has not been determined, but the existing chain link fence will be removed.

Longell Road

* Fencing along the Longell property line will be determined in cooperation with the neighbors.

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Can “Private, Keep Out” sign be removed

* The beach is a private beach which will be shared by the owners of the cottages and neighboring homes with beach rights. Opening the beach to the public is not desirable to either the owner of the property or those with beach rights as the beach will become overcrowded. However, no such sign existed when staff visited the site.

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Can the 12″ storm drain into the beach be removed?

* This pipe belongs to the town.

* The Engineering Department is checking the status of the pipe; if it is no longer in use permits will be requested to remove the pipe.

* Property owner has granted permission for the Town to access the pipe location through Heritage Sands

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Clarify the word “seasonal” can you visit your cottage in February for a weekend or is it shut down?

* Seasonal is defined in the Seasonal Resort Community By-law as being between April 1st and October 31st.

* Off-season access is allowed, but limited to no more than 4 days in any 30 day period.

* Site management must be on-site for it to be open to cottage owners.

 

Concerned with grading along boundary on Longell Road and topography on site

* Site will be re-graded along this boundary.

* Pitch will be away from boundary and directed into the site.

* Storm water will be directed to a swale on the Heritage Sands property.

* Ground elevation on Longell Road is higher than on the Heritage Sands property.

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Concerned that fill in the flood zone will displace water to Longell Road

* This issue arose with fill proposed for North Side Senior Housing, the FEMA response is that fill in a coastal flood zone has no measurable impact on adjacent properties.

* The fill will reduce flooding on the property. This will reduce hazards on this site and potential for erosion impacts on adjacent properties.

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Concerned with multi-story structures on the beach

* Zoning for this area restricts building height to 1 1/2 stories and 25 feet. The previous zoning allowed 2 1/2 stories and 35 feet.

* Surrounding properties are still zoned for 2 1/2 stories and 35 feet.

* SRC Zoning restricted building height to promote more compatible development with surrounding area which is mostly 1, 1 1/2 and 2 story housing

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What about an environmental study like was required for house at the end of Longell Road?

* The house in question had many issues requiring Zoning and Wetland relief.

* The house was reconstructed and expanded impacting setbacks, lot coverage and coastal resources; specifically it was re-built in the coastal dune.

* Heritage Sands complies with zoning, relocates existing features out of the dune and establishes resource buffers that are presently non-existent on the site.

* The Dennis Conservation Commission did review and properly permit all site work impacting the coastal resource areas.

* Consistent with all filings with the Conservation Commission, Mass DEP was copied on the Heritage Sands Notice of Intent and provided no comments suggesting that an expanded environmental study was necessary.

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Concerned about maintaining views to the water across site

* Homes on Longell Road are located on land at a higher elevation than the Heritage Sands site, hence the retaining walls along the common boundary both under existing and proposed conditions.

* Current views are across RV’s and the Grindell’s office.

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Will there be a wall or other enclosed community area?

* The community area will consist of a patio area surrounding a pool and a community building.

* The community building will be located between the street and the pool to provide both a visual and sound buffer between neighbors on Old Wharf Road and the pool. Landscaping will also be provided in this area.

* While a low wall will be located along Old Wharf Road, the height of the wall is not intended to function as a mechanism to wall off the community.

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Where will the community area be, and will it be enclosed?

* The community area will be adjacent to the main entry. There will be an office on the driveway side, kitchen and function area and a fitness equipment area.

* Except for the patio and pool, the community facilities will be enclosed.

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What will the area look like from Old Wharf Road, is it of backyards?

Concerned about aesthetics.

* The Old Wharf Road border will consist of a low wall (about 30″ high) topped with a short fence.

* Inside the fenced area, between the road and the cottages, will be landscaping. Landscaping is designed to soften the appearance of the community and to protect and enhance views across the property from Old Wharf Road.

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Will there be noise restriction?

* Based upon discussions with the property owner, in which the neighbors were involved, the condominium documents will address noise.

* The town noise by-law will also govern the property.

 

How will access to the easement area be controlled?

* This is a private matter between the owner, the condominium association and the easement holders. As of our last discussion disagreement was evident regarding use of a gate and the size of the opening of the gate.

* Other similar private beach access points, such as the one on the opposite side of Haigis Beach do not employ a gate, only signage.

 

Easement holders desire to store boats on the beach (email request)

* This is a private property issue between the property owner, easement holders and ultimately the condominium association.

* The easement allows beach access for swimming boating and fishing, it does not mention permanent physical occupation. The town, under a host of takings court decisions is precluded from making such an imposition without compensation to the property owner.

 

Easement holders want access to the bathrooms and use of the clubhouse for parties (email request)

* This is a private property issue between the property owner, easement holders and ultimately the condominium association.

* Granting this request (by the condominium association) would raise wastewater and zoning issues. As proposed the clubhouse is incidental to the facility. The request would remove the structure, under zoning, as incidental and change its use classification. The request would also impact how it affects the waste water calculations for DEP.

* The town, under a host of takings court decisions is precluded from making such an imposition without compensation to the property owner.