Category Archives: Design Standards

Confronting the Costs of Coastal Land Loss

A group of stories, some new, some old, addressing an issue we are facing.

Confronting the Costs of Coastal Land Loss

Orleans approves $1.2M as part of Nauset Beach retreat plan

Coastal erosion has not only become a fact of life, but many are also now surrendering to it. Dennis works to hold back the effects of erosion by dredging and restoring beaches with the dredge material. However, some areas are looking back for a solution that could benefit the future. Oysters, and reefs made of oysters. Beds are created from discarded shells collected from restaurants. Oysters are planted in the beds, sometimes in cages or bags.

Maybe land loss and retreat need not be inevitable.

How Oysters Can Prevent Flood Damage


Cape Cod Times Cheers and Jeers 11-2-2018

From today’s Cape Cod Times. At present, Dennis has relaxed the rules in two zoning districts to promote multi-family housing and is working on a third. In addition, the Dennis Affordable Housing By-law, our own local 40B zoning, allows consideration of higher density housing through-out town with appropriate affordability set-asides,

Relax the rules, allow more housing

If you are trying to rent a year-round home on Cape Cod, you know the two biggest challenges – availability and price. Why the shortage?

More than a third of the Cape’s houses are seasonal homes, and many remain vacant for most of the year. Last year, the Cape Cod Commission reported that the region needed an additional 7,000 rental units to accommodate the area’s needs. But in the past six years there has been a net loss of 3,000 year-round housing units and a gain of 5,000 seasonal units.

That’s why we applaud a study underway in three Cape Cod towns that could lead to more housing outside traditional residential neighborhoods. Funded by a $100,000 grant from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the study is examining areas of Orleans, Eastham and Falmouth that are on the fringes of residential neighborhoods and represent typical Cape Cod development patterns. The study looks at how building denser housing could better “knit” disparate parts of communities together.

The study will dovetail nicely with efforts by the Housing Assistance Corp., which has launched an initiative to promote more housing. It hopes to inspire some of seasonal homeowners to consider transforming their houses into year-round rentals, with a $1,000 incentive, coupled with assistance in making the jump to becoming landlords.

Housing report: Cape on precipice

Housing report: Cape on precipice

We are trying, but have a lot of work to do. Multi-family zones, West Dennis and Dennis Port. A relatively successful Affordable Housing By-law.

Future efforts underway, promoting a better Accessory Dwelling Unit by-law; creating shared housing opportunities as Collaborative Living Space to compete with the Air B&B market; and a concentrated development center at Exit 9 which will promote a higher density, live, work, shop smart growth economic center.

Shared Housing A Key to Adaptive Reuse of Larger Homes, Historic Preservation and Affordable Living?

Affordable Housing Week of Action May 1 – 8

I posted earlier this week about people living more and more in shared housing arrangements due to the lack of affordable housing for younger residents. I have also spent much time touring the town and seeing more and more of our older homes slowly close up and age due to the empty nest issues facing aging communities. Maybe addressing one problem, lack of affordable housing options, can address the other.

For those who have spent more than a few minutes with me discussing affordable housing, you have heard me say we need an adaptive reuse strategy for some of our five and six thousand square foot older homes.  You have heard me say that perhaps we have to find a way to attract investors to renovate the outside, and divvy up the inside into multi-family housing opportunities. Maybe, a different approach may be to reconsider the concept of a lodging house and carve out a niche for shared, communal living.  Perhaps, with the right zoning in place, we could attract an affordable Cape Cod version of WeLive or Common.