The Economic Development Committee is working on new ideas for empty retail space. We have been working on shared work spaces, but perhaps need to be sure we have many options for these areas.
Okay, let’s float these as trial balloons.
First, in the Dennis Port Village Center, General Commercial II, and West Dennis Village Center I am thinking we might want to add the following as an Allowed Use:
Collaborative Workspace – shared space for those looking to lease a work area and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like conference rooms, office supplies, and internet and tech connections. Facilities provide space for networking, events, working alone or with others, pop-up shops, and workshops. Collaborative Workspaces may include services such as retail sales, food services, facilities for professional office, light manufacturing, research and development, common storage, packing, and distribution. Such facilities encourage business collaboration and provide opportunities for product aggregation, information sharing, and partnering on events and market promotion.
The Economic Development Committee has been kicking this around some time as part of the Exit 9 Economic Center. Long before the television show Alex, Inc. came out an put these types of spaces into a more public view.
In the three areas discussed above, we have vacant commercial floor space that might be attractive for reuse in this fashion. Imagine, start-up space for quilters (happening int he Holyoke Innovation Center), 3-D printing services, podcasts (yes that is part of Alex, Inc. but also part of the Holyoke Innovation Center long before the television show). Videographers, computer specialists, marketing start-ups all under one roof. This might be just what we need to put into the long-vacant space in Dennis Port Plaza.
Second, to solve some of our housing needs, and attract young people to town who might be able to take advantage of the Collaborative Workspace, I want to float the same idea to create new living arrangements that could supplant the “lodging house” concept for some group living accommodations. So, here are my thoughts, borrowing from the above and verbiage used elsewhere in the country:
Collaborative Living Space – Residential dwelling for those looking to share accommodations for economic or lifestyle reasons. and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like wi-fi, cable television, internet and tech connections, housekeeping service, trash removal, etc. Collaborative Living Space shall not be subject to the limitations found in the definition of Lodging House.
For a while I have been wrestling with a number of issues that this could resolve. One is finding a residential adaptive reuse for some of our larger antique homes scattered around town. This could allow a shared living entity, such as WeLive or Common, to acquire a house, restore it, and have it lived in by younger residents. The second is simply finding easily attainable, entry-level housing for our high-school and college graduates to be able to remain on, or return to, Cape Cod.
The need for this as part of the housing solution can be found in today’s Cape Cod Times (Youth outreach expanded in annual Cape homeless count) “Finding affordable housing on the Cape can pose a particular challenge to young people just starting out in entry-level jobs….”
Posted to both the Dennis Economic Development Blog and the Planning Department Blog for maximum exposure. Sorry if you get two notices about this.
During National Small Business Week make sure to visit our village businesses in West Dennis, Dennis Port, South Dennis and Dennis Village. Spend locally.
It helps if, when you copy an old survey to reuse the questions, you set a survey closure date that is in the future and not the past.
Every couple years we update information important to the local planning process. The questions here cover a broad spectrum of information and supports our open space, recreation, housing and economic development discussions. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey and share it with your friends who have connections to Dennis.
Please click the link to go to the survey:
On Tuesday July 25th Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and State Representative Tim Whelan came to the Town of Dennis joining the Selectmen and Administration in Signing a Community Compact agreement. The Community Contract is a voluntary agreement between individual Towns and the Commonwealth. Each Community Compact is unique and tailored to best practices that Community selects.
Under the Community Compact, the Commonwealth will offer technical assistance, extra incentive points on grants, and additional grant programs offered only to designated Community Compact Towns.
The Town of Dennis applied for a Community Compact with the following best practices: Mixed Use Development – The Town selected Mixed Use Development as a best practice area as it meets the needs for promoting concentrated development where housing and employment can work together. The mixed use development approach allows for coordination of infrastructure that serves all community needs in one area. By concentrating development under the auspices of M.G.L. Chapter 40R, Dennis will be able to focus transportation, wastewater, recreation, and other municipal infrastructure in a manner that serves the greatest need.
Affordable Housing – The Town of Dennis adopted an affordable housing zoning bylaw in 2001 and have had numerous applications approved under this bylaw since then. In 2004 and 2007, Dennis enhanced its affordable housing zoning by making multi-family housing available in the Dennis Port Village Center (2004) and West Dennis Village Center (2007) with 25% affordability requirements.
With this Community Compact, the Town of Dennis hopes to explore an array grant opportunities including ones for wastewater as Dennis explores community partnerships and looks to the future.
What: Dennis Community Compact Signing
Where: Dennis Town Hall, Route 134 and Bob Crowell Road in South Dennis
When: Tuesday, July 25th at 5pm
Who: Lt. Governor Polito, local delegation, members of the press etc..
Dennis has been a leader on Cape Cod with mixed use development planning. We have been recognized for our work in Dennis Port in 2004 with both the Governor’s Smart Growth Leadership Award and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) Comprehensive Planning Award and in West Dennis in 2007 by the Massachusetts Chapter of the APA Comprehensive Planning Award. We are now working on a Mixed Use project in the Exit 9 area that will look to creating a future economic center that will combine high density housing with new economic opportunities that recognize the changing world economy. This planning district is being developed in cooperation with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Cape Cod Commission.
Why did you choose this best practice and what assistance would you need to accomplish this best practice?
* The town chose Mixed Use Development as its best practice area to focus on as it meets the needs for promoting concentrated development where housing and employment can work together. The mixed use development approach allows for coordination of infrastructure that serves all community needs in one area. By concentrating development under the auspices of MGL Chapter 40R we will be able to focus transportation, waste water, recreation and other municipal infrastructure expenditures in a manner that serves the greatest need for the funds expended. We need the state’s assistance with this to be able to best provide for infrastructure investment. For instance, in Dennis Port Village Center, while great strides have been made to improve the economic condition in this village over the past 13 years, waste water has become the key issue that is keeping the village from meeting all of its potential. This is the same with the West Dennis Village Center and is expected to be an issue for the Exit 9 area on a much grander scale. In the Exit 9 Smart Growth Overlay District, we are working with state personnel to create a balanced zoning approach that will allow the Chapter 40R and S reimbursements to provide the seed money for meeting the startup infrastructure costs. These funds will be combined with some form of special taxation district to generate additional infrastructure funding. The special taxation district has been discussed with a portion of the key landowners and the Cape Cod Commission. Town Staff has also discussed modifying the Dennis Port and West Dennis Village Districts to make them compatible with Chapter 40R requirements with the state. These changes may also be forthcoming. We will need the state to accept these districts into the Chapter 40R program to provide the town with seed money for waste water infrastructure in particular.
Why did you choose this best practice and what assistance would you need to accomplish this best practice?
* Dennis has been a leader in creating affordable housing. We adopted an affordable housing zoning by-law in 2001 and have had numerous applications approved under this by-law since then. In 2004 and 2007 we enhanced our affordable housing zoning by making multi-family housing available in the Dennis Port Village Center (2004) and West Dennis Village Center (2007) with 25% affordability requirements. In addition, the town has developed community housing at Melpet Farms, has converted a number of commercial properties into multi-family housing with affordability requirements and has worked on modifications to accessory housing possibilities. The town has several larger projects on the drawing board that will raise concerns due to regional permitting requirements. These regional permitting requirements will trigger the need for the town to permit projects that are acceptable under local zoning by the means of Chapter 40B. These projects include a possible Chapter 40R redevelopment of an older industrial site adjacent to the Dennis Port Village Center, a village oriented project in the heart of Dennis Port Village Center, the redevelopment of the former Columns Restaurant site and a village oriented housing project on Route 6A in Dennis Village. Each of these projects will meet the requirements of the applicable Dennis Affordable Housing Zoning, but will require Chapter 40B status due to regional regulatory restrictions.
Community Compact recognition for these efforts will allow the town to continue to work with the Cape Cod Commission on finding mechanisms to exempt affordable housing from regional review while maintaining local permitting controls. Community Compact recognition will also allow the town to work with state agencies to access infrastructure funds to support these projects and access waste water funding.
West Dennis’s secret is out!