Category Archives: Planning Board

Open Space and Recreation Plan Review March 18, 2019

On Monday, March 18th the Planning Board will hold a Public Meeting on the Dennis Open Space and Recreation Plan Update.  The focus of the discussion will be on Section 9 Action Plan.  The comments we received from the state is that this section has too many “on-going” activities listed.  My review would suggest that the section that relates to goals, past activities, and status all be moved to Section 8, which addresses Goals and Objectives and focus this section down to a clean implementation section.  Essentially, updating the planned budgetary expenditures, and the Implementation Plan Map that is on page 179 right now.  The map was completely missed by the state in the last submittal.  I might suggest that the map is modified to only show potential land acquisitions. 

The current Section 9 simply builds on the past versions of this document, but I think the actual action items get lost with the long list of on-going town activities.

The Planning Board Meeting starts at 6:30 pm, in Dennis Town Hall, Stone Hearing Room, the public is invited to attend and participate in the discussion.

A link to the Open Space And Recreation Plan is below:

https://app.box.com/s/kuhd7opepmuzfa0k52h59a2pn7h6k5dh

Collaborative Workspace and The Dennis Local Comprehensive Plan

In 2002 Dennis Town Meeting adopted the Dennis Local Comprehensive Plan. Over the past nearly 20 years we have implemented many of its recommendations. Most have been successful.

Several recommendations deal with Collaborative Workspace Zoning:

3.3.2 Dennis will encourage projects which provide permanent, year-round jobs with benefits, and should encourage employee training opportunities for Dennis residents.

3.3.4 Dennis will encourage embryonic businesses such as incubator projects that relate to the Town’s resources, and where possible, should seek growth through local resources rather than through importing.

3.3.5 Dennis will create a regulatory climate that makes Dennis more business friendly, both to retain existing businesses and to attract diversified small-scale business.

Since 2002 the Dennis Economic Development Committee has worked to improve business opportunities in Dennis. Despite these efforts, there are significant empty buildings. The EDC believes that creating shared work-space opportunities will help to meet the economic needs of Dennis.

The Collaborative Workspace proposal that will be discussed at the March 4th Planning Board Public Hearing can be found here: Collaborative Workspace

Collaborative Living and the Dennis Local Comprehensive Plan

In 2002 Dennis Town Meeting adopted the Dennis Local Comprehensive Plan. Over the past nearly 20 years we have implemented many of its recommendations. We continue to work on implementation.

Several recommendations provide support for the Collaborative Living Space zoning proposal:

9. The Town should work with Elder Services and the Council on Aging to encourage shared or congregate housing to all for dwellings to be occupied by more than one family by education, mediation, and outreach

15. The Town should seek out, support, and encourage nontraditional, alternative housing patterns such as home sharing, accessory apartment, and ECHO housing.

The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust completed an Affordable Housing Needs Assessment and two Affordable Housing Production Plans. These documents highlight the town’s affordable housing situation and lack of rental housing. Collaborative Living Spaces are an important part of producing affordable housing options in Dennis.

The Collaborative Living Space proposal that will be discussed at the March 4th Planning Board Public Hearing can be found here: Collaborative Living Spaces

Accessory Dwelling Units and the Dennis Local Comprehensive Plan

In 2002 Dennis Town Meeting adopted the Dennis Local Comprehensive Plan. Over the past nearly 20 years we have implemented many of its recommendations. Most have been successful.

Several recommendations deal with Accessory Dwelling Units:

5.3.6 The adoption of zoning by-laws allowing for mixed-use in commercial buildings and the creation of affordable accessory apartments shall be encouraged.

15. The Town should seek out, support, and encourage nontraditional, alternative housing patterns such as home sharing, accessory apartment, and ECHO housing.

21. The Dennis Fair Housing Committee will work with the Planning Board to modify regulation to allow accessory apartments where appropriate lot size and environmental conditions allow.

Through Section 4.9 the so-called Dennis Affordable Housing By-law we addressed these recommendations. Unfortunately, the Special Permit requirements, affordability deed restriction and tenant selection process we only have had three takers since the adoption of the by-law in 2001. All three had been amnesty situations.

Since 2002 the Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust has replaced the Dennis Fair Housing Committee. They have completed an Affordable Housing Needs Assessment and two Affordable Housing Production Plans. These documents highlight the town’s affordable housing situation and lack of rental housing. Accessory dwelling units are an important part of producing affordable housing options in Dennis.

The Accessory Dwelling Unit proposal that will be discussed at the March 4th Planning Board Public Hearing can be found here: Accessory Dwelling Unit Proposal

Zoning Amendments Posted for March 4, 2019 Public Hearing

The Planning Board has scheduled several public hearings for March 4, 2019. Above is a tab that brings you to the notice for the hearing, and links to each of the proposed zoning amendments. Each has a discussion item explaining the by-law, the reasons for it, and the verbiage for the actual amendment. You can also get there through this link: HERE

West Dennis Apartments

The apartments at 323 Main Street, West Dennis, are coming on-line. Several months ago Ron Bourgeois received permission from the Planning Board to convert the former Dennis Partners Office Building into six apartments. The work is wrapping up, the Regulatory Agreement is nearing completion with the state, and tenants are being screened to move in.

Ron will be putting planters along the street side of the building. Out back, there will be picnic tables in the grass area for the residents.

Cheers & Jeers: A model bylaw to promote affordable housing

Cheers & Jeers: A model bylaw to promote affordable housing Cape Cod Times 12-7-2018

Kudos to the Dennis Planning Board for voting 5-1 Monday to issue a special permit for Beach Plum Village, an affordable housing complex made up of 24 two-bedroom units – six of which will be deed restricted as affordable. The complex is planned on about 4.5 acres on Alexander Drive.

Kudos also to the developer, Cape Commerce Nominee Trust, which significantly altered its original plan based on input from concerned neighbors and town officials.

Changes include a reduction in the number of units from 29 to 24 and a reduction in the number of bedrooms from 59 to 48. Developers also added eight guest parking spaces, and fencing and landscaping berms that offer more privacy for abutters.

The project was also changed from a rental complex to an ownership complex at the request of neighbors. The special permit was granted in accordance with a Dennis zoning bylaw that relaxes local regulations as long 25 percent of the development’s units qualify as affordable, but allows the town to maintain some control over things like aesthetics and landscaping.

“Whoever was responsible for your zoning bylaw should be commended, because very few towns have this proactive approach,” said John Kenney, the lawyer for the developer. If that is the case, more Cape towns should pass a similar zoning bylaw.