Category Archives: Zoning

Seasonal Resort Community Discussion of “season,” “off-season” and a workable solution to monitoring “off-season access”

Over the past several months there has been much discussion about the length of season, off-season accessibility and how to effectively monitor and enforce off-season access to the properties in the Seasonal Resort Community Zoning District. The Planning Board, after a couple house keeping items, will dedicate its August 7, 2017 agenda to a discussion of these issues with the hope of figuring out where we go from here. It is the Planning Board’s hope that all those with an interest in this issue will try to attend. Of course, written comments would also be welcome.

The Planning Board meeting will start at 6:30 in the Stone Hearing Room 685 Route 134, South Dennis MA.

Dennis Projects Get National Recognition

Last week was a good one for reconfirming that the vision being pursued by a variety of town boards. Two local projects were recognized by the National Association of Homebuilders for their “Best in American Living Awards. The 27 unit MelPet Farm Community Housing project won a Silver Medal in the Best Affordable Multi-Family Development Category.  In November 2016, this project was also awarded a Gold Award winner from the Builders and Remodellers Industry of Cape Cod for Excellence in Affordable Housing.

Heritage Sands was also honored by both of these associations as well. Heritage Sands won the top BALA award “Community of the Year” along with a Platinum Award for Best Single Family Community Under 100 Units and was recognized as the Best Project in the North Atlantic Region by the National Association of Home Builders. Heritage Sands also won a Gold Award from The Builders and Remodellers Industry of Cape Cod for Outstanding and Most Clever Use of Small Space during their November 2016 Award Program.

In receiving these national awards, these two projects illustrate the compassion that the Town of Dennis puts into its zoning and site plan review procedures to ensure that quality projects are being created around the town.


Falmouth ordered to pay landowner nearly $1M – Cape Cod Times

Falmouth ordered to pay landowner nearly $1M

Where Falmouth goes with this bears watching. We have a similar 50 foot no disturb zone from the top of a coastal bank in Dennis. We have not, as of yet had an empty lot come forward for relief under this section of the Zoning By-law.  Such zoning relief would fall under the Board of Appeals consideration for a soil, shape or topography relief.

As to this particular case, I find it interesting that the award was based upon current assessed value. Past takings cases have hinged a lot on the concept of “investor-backed expectations.”  Such expectations could be the actual value the property was purchased for, perhaps combined with taxes paid over the years since the local regulations were adopted. The owners did not “invest” the current assessed value of the property.

Definitely, one to watch, I would expect Falmouth to at least try to reduce the award.

Mini Turbine ‘Wind Trees’ Could Generate Power for Homes, Electric Cars

Mini Turbine ‘Wind Trees’ Could Generate Power for Homes, Electric Cars
I have been approached by a member of the Alternative Energy Committee about changes to our Residential Wind Tubine section of the Dennis Zoning By-law. The above article is just one example of the changes that have been made in wind technology since we adopted our zoning by-law.

These Wind Turbines Have a Twist 
Mashpee, on Route 130, has an example of vertical turbine technology that provides opportunities for residential wind energy alternatives as well.

Over the coming weeks I will be working with the Alternative Energy Committee to review how we can revise Section 11 of the Dennis Zoning By-law to promote greater use of wind energy in residential settings.