Tag Archives: Design Standards

Micro-Apartments: Boston’s Housing Solution Or Developers’ Cash Cow? | WBUR

Micro-Apartments: Boston’s Housing Solution Or Developers’ Cash Cow? | WBUR.

What do you think? Could Dennis, especially in its village centers, benefit from “Micro-Apartments”?

Sesuit Harbor Zoning Draft

A first draft of portions of the zoning amendment that will be required to create a new Sesuit Harbor Zoning District has been posted as a new page in the blog.  I strongly suggest residents and other interested parties check back regularly to participate in the crafting of this by-law.

There will continue to be near weekly meetings between interested parties and the Town Planner, as well as monthly meetings with the Economic Development Committee to create this by-law and prepare it for Town Meeting.

Sesuit Harbor Zoning Updates – October 10th Discussion

On October 10th we met once again in the West Dennis Graded School House to discuss the Sesuit Harbor Zoning Issues. My goal for this meeting was to start to create the parameters for each of the Principle Uses identified on October 3rd. The goal for the first meeting was to see how far we could get with the parameters for the use “Private Marina.”

We went into this discussion trying to determine what facilities were common to a Private Marina and what design elements should be included as part of future zoning compliant permitting for such uses. The fruits of this discussion is below.


Private Marina Facilities:

  • Hauling and launching facilities
  • Docks and Slips
  • Ramps
  • “Working” Boating, i.e. fisherman, lobstermen etc., not included in what we eventually determine to be “accessory” under the term “excursion/charter”
  • Recreational Boating
  • Single level boat storage
  • Mooring
  • Slips
  • Boat Repair (not including repair to trailers)
  • Fuel service

The discussion on “facilities” led to modifications to the “Accessory Use” list created on October 3rd. This type of feedback loop should be anticipated through-out this process. The revised Accessory Use List now includes:

  • Food Service
  • Ship’s Supply Store
  • Rack Boat Storage
  • Boat Sales and Rentals
  • Employee Housing (Seasonal/Security)
  • Excursion and Charter Boats

As with the Principle Uses, each of these Accessory Uses will need to be carefully refined to ensure we all have a firm understanding of what they comprise.

Along with the discussion of facilities, we also started the process of determining the design elements that should be required for Private Marinas in the Sesuit Harbor Zoning District. The design elements, which still need much refining, are listed below:


  • Signage consistent with Dennis Sign Code and Old King’s Highway design standards
  • Emergency Services (Dennis Fire Department has been asked for input to develop what these standards should be)
  • Boat Pump Out
  • Adequate Parking for cars and trailers
  • Restrooms
  • Public access to water
  • Safe access
  • Showers (especially for overnight stays)
  • Balance between various boating uses
  • Visual Character – includes green spaces, landscaping, screening, and site design/layout
  • Enhanced Historic Review (to be discussed with Old King’s Highway)
  • Ground level parking only whether indoors our outside. No multi-level parking.
  • No Recreational Vehicle Parking
  • Bus Parking needs to be accommodated, but with appropriate restrictions on number, location and idling (consistent with state law).

As you can see, this is beginning to take real shape. Some important issues are being addressed. I know buses have been an issue in past discussions. Yesterday the discussion focused on a few aspects. First, we cannot, outright, prohibit buses on public streets. If an entity were to hire a bus to bring a group to the harbor as part of a charter of, say a couple fishing boats, would we want them discharging passengers in the street? Would we want the bus to have to leave the area (empty) and return (empty), or is it better that they can park (and reduce two extra vehicle trips. or, worst case, if buses were discouraged, would we want all the cars that would have been accommodated by a 20 seat mini-bus, or a larger bus on Sesuit Neck Road? It was determined that accommodating and designing for such parking would be best for this area.

Next Thursday, 9 am at the West Dennis Graded School House I will be updating the Dennis Economic Development Committee on the progress made.

Sesuit Harbor Zoning – Updates

The past two Thursdays have been very productive. I believe we have made some significant headway. With a long way to go.

On October 3rd we tried to review the list of uses that one would “typically” find in a marina/harbor type area and started a list of uses that would be considered the Principle Uses of land in the district and what we might consider to be Accessory Uses.

For those just beginning to understand the jargon, Principle Uses are the primary uses allowed on the site. In this area we have determined that these should be Private Marina’s, Public Marina’s and Private Clubs. Each of these uses would be established, eventually, as the “by-right” uses in this district. I have suggested that, while these are “by-right” they still be subject to Site Plan Review by the Planning Board.

Accessory Uses, on the other hand, are uses that would only occur in conjunction with a “by-right” principle use. Uses that fall into the accessory category are not allowed to stand alone on a property. On October 3rd, the following uses were identified to be within this list (the list was refined within the discussions on October 10th which will be part of the next post): Food Service; Ship’s Supply Store; Boat Storage; and Boat Sales and Rental. I have suggested that Accessory Uses be subject to Special Permit review by the Planning Board.


An Old Motel Problem

I posted earlier about a problem we have with old motels which became “motels in condominium form of ownership.” As I noted, these properties, while under zoning continued to be motels and are required to comply with all the normal motel operational requirements, hardly meet those standards.

Economic Development Committee will be talking about this issue. I am looking to find out if they feel if this is an important issue, or one we should just leave alone.

Your participation at the EDC Meeting is appreciated. The Meeting will occur in the Town Hall Annex Conference Room (corner of Bob Crowell Road and Route 134) at 9 am, Thursday July18th.

An Interesting About Parking – Over Parking

Some of you have heard me talk about “Welcome to My Garage” development styles. I have also challenged you to reduce parking minimums and establish parking maximums. In the Hotel Resort District we have even created opportunities for hiding commercial parking. The article linked below provides an illustrated discussion of the problems with traditional approaches to parking:

Ugly by Law

Expanding Flood Zones Means New Thoughts For Additions

Form Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Storm Smart Coast:

Using Freeboard to Elevate Structures above Predicted Floodwaters

Freeboard is elevating a building’s lowest floor above predicted flood elevations by a small additional height (generally 1-3 feet above National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] minimum height requirements). See CZM’s printer friendly Freeboard Fact Sheet (PDF, 748 KB).