Category Archives: West Dennis

Freddie Mac: Housing market is short 2.5 million units

Freddie Mac: Housing market is short 2.5 million units

“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.

West Dennis – HUD Designated “Difficult Development Area 2019”

“Difficult Development Areas (DDA) are areas with high land, construction and utility costs relative to the area median income and are based on Fair Market Rents, income limits, the 2010 census counts, and 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) data.”

What this means is, these areas are a higher priority for use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the creation of affordable housing.

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.

Retail Realities Rebuilding economic resiliency as brick and mortar goes to pieces.

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.

https://planning.org/planning/2018/jul/retailrealities/#.W5lLsvvP-J4.twitter

Collaborative Work and Living Space – A Thought

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.