Category Archives: Planning Board

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.

Alexander Drive Project Update

The Alexander Drive Housing Project will be heard Monday December 3rd by the Planning Board at 6:30 pm in the Stone Hearing Room. After a lengthy review by the Board of Health, the septic system has been approved.

The project has been reduced in scope to 24 units and has been made a for-sale rather than rental project. The six affordable 2-bedroom units will sell for about $195,000. The eighteen market rate 2-bedroom units will sell for about $389,000. 

·        Site will be about 4.48acres ~ 191,446 sf

·        24 units mean about 5.5 units per acre, 7,977 sf per unit, The previous plan was 5.8 units per acre and 7,510 sf of land per unit.

·        Adjacent house lots range from ~ 7,800 sf to ~ 10,200 sf

·        Deed restricted for-sale units will have a price of somewhere between the $192,750 of the Route 6A project and $198,000. 

·        Market rate units are targeted at $389,000, which is below the March 2018 median-priced home sale on Cape Cod.

·        Affordable 2 bedroom units are targeted to 3 person households earning no more than $62,100 (2018 income limit) this could be bumped up by the time these units go to market in 2019.

·        Market rate 2 bedroom units at $389,000 fall slightly above the reach of a 3 person household earning a median income of about $78,000.

Planning Board to Host Regional Policy Plan Presentation/Discussion

The Dennis Planning Board will host a presentation and discussion of the Cape Cod Commission Regional Policy Plan Update on Monday, October 29th at 5 pm in the Stone Hearing Room, Lower Level, Dennis Town Hall. The public is invited to attend and participate in this discussion.

The Regional Policy Plan is updated every five years and sets regional guidance regarding the future of Cape Cod. It provides a basis for many development and land preservation decisions.

The Draft Regional Policy Plan can be found here.

Cooperative Living Space

What do these situations have in common?

“Mark Fletcher has a chance encounter with his high school crush Katie Bowman, and he ends up moving in with her into her four bedroom apartment alongside her other roommates Hope and James.”

“the suddenly risen film star Vince Chase, a ‘jeune premier’ of humble origins, learns the ropes of the business and the high-profile world of the wealthy happy few in and around Hollywood, but not alone: he brings from his native New York his atypical ‘entourage (hence the title), not glitterati or professionals but a close circle of friends since childhood”

“Four previously married women live together in Miami, sharing their various experiences together and enjoying themselves despite hard times.”

Anyone?

The answer, under Dennis Zoning their living arrangements would be illegal.  Currently, when 4 or more unrelated individuals live together, they are defined as a commercial use of the property.

Quite simply, the living arrangements found in the old television series “The Golden Girls”, or more recently in “Roommates” and “Entourage”  is not legal in Dennis. Zoning declares that “four or more individuals not related within the second degree of kinship” can only live together in a commercial lodging house. The first degree of kinship is one’s parents or children. The second degree of kinship is one’s siblings. The Golden Girls, as four widowed women living under one roof, would not meet that test in Dennis.

The Collaborative Living Space proposal will allow the opportunity for unrelated individuals to live together for familial purposes (two unmarried individuals with unadopted foster children), camaraderie, and financial purposes.

The proposal seeks to:

  • Find a way to create easily attainable, entry-level housing for our high-school and college graduates to be able to remain on, or return to, Cape Cod;
  • Find ways to allow our seniors (Golden Girls or Golden Guys) to live semi-independently in the community in a supportive environment;
  • Allow for adaptive reuse and reinvestment in some of our larger antique homes scattered around town.

On a national level, collaborative living arrangements are being managed by entities such as “WeLive” or “Common.”

The need for this as part of the housing solution can be found in the May 7th Cape Cod Times article; Youth outreach expanded in annual Cape homeless count, where it noted: “Finding affordable housing on the Cape can pose a particular challenge to young people just starting out in entry-level jobs….”

The target for Collaborative living is the 2,614 single person households (37.7% of all households in Dennis); the 1,491 single person households age 65 and over, perfectly fitting the “Golden Girls” or “Golden Guys” scenario; and the 90 single people are aged 15 to 34 living alone.

The Brookings Institute reports that the 25 to 34 year old portion of this demographic earn an average of $37,974 which means they can only afford to pay $950 per month for rent and utilities.  If Collaborative Living were and option, four people in this group could generate as much as $3,800 in monthly living costs and would create a household with nearly $152,000 in local spending power.

 

South Yarmouth Road Habitat for Humanity Wall Raising

Some pictures from today’s “Wall Raising” for the Habitat for Humanity home on South Yarmouth Road.

A little background first. The town made this parcel available to Habitat through a request for proposals process. Habitat applied to the Planning Board for a Special Permit under the Affordable Housing portion of the Dennis Zoning By-law. Upon grant of the Special Permit, Habitat also applied for and received, a grant from the Community Preservation Committee to support the construction of the home. Numerous local businesses support Habitat’s home projects as well.

Habitat marketed this, and two additional units to be constructed on Janall Drive and conducted the affordable housing lottery. The new, soon to be, the homeowner was selected from this process. Desiree and her two sons are already well connected to Dennis.