“part of the issue is a lack of public investment in affordable housing,”
“From 1968 to 2008, a span of 40 years, there was only one year in which fewer new housing units were built than in 2017—and this despite rising demand in a growing economy,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said. “We estimate that over the next decade, young adults will add about 20 million households — and those households will need a place to live.”
The Cape Cod Commission projects that Dennis will grow by about 1,000 people in the coming decade, moving back towards our 2000 census numbers. Given the continuing strong second housing market, housing growth will be especially important to attract these households to Dennis. It will be especially important that the housing be available at levels attainable by young professionals.
The future of Exit 9.
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.
Barnstable ranks among the worst for jobs supporting middle-class living. And we wonder why our kids do not return to Cape Cod after college. We need:
- Affordable living options to lower housing costs in the equation;
- Better job options; and
- Zoning that promotes employment opportunities that look to the future, not to the past.
The zoning in Dennis Port Village Center and West Dennis Village Center, which promote live-work-shop environments, and the zoning proposed for Exit 9, encouraging mixed employment opportunities; opportunities for innovation and higher density housing can reverse this situation.
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.