Cape Cod Commission to Hold Hearing on West Harwich DCPC

HARWICH – The Cape Cod Commission will conduct a public hearing next week at Harwich Town Hall to consider a District of Critical Planning Concern designation in the Town of Harwich.

It follows a unanimous decision made by the commission earlier this month.

The land use agency concluded that there is a need for special planning and regulations to maintain values and preserve resources intended to be protected by the Cape Cod Commission Act.

Harwich selectmen cited the need for a cultural, historic, archaeological resource district as well as an economic resource district and a transportation management district and submitted the application for the District of Critical Planning Concern.

A District of Critical Planning Concern would allow for additional planning and regulation to be put in place to protect a specific area and resources.

The area of proposed designation consists of approximately 43 acres of land located in West Harwich, and contains those parcels in the existing Commercial Highway Zoning District with frontage along State Highway and Route 28 from the Dennis-Harwich town line to just west of the Herring River.

The district has exceptions of certain portions of parcels located at 93 Route 28, 97 Route 28, and 156 Riverside Drive that fall outside of the Commercial Highway Zoning District.

A designation would provide the town with an opportunity to develop regulations to support and enhance the small local economy of West Harwich.

“The DCPC will provide the opportunity to look comprehensively at the development potential of the proposed district under existing zoning and to provide more effective regulations and guidance to property owners and developers,” said Harwich Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh.  

“Designation of the area as a DCPC will also provide the opportunity to incentivize appropriate development while also ensuring appropriate layout, design, and scale for desirable uses, this is an important aspect in gaining a balance between protecting community character, cultural heritage, and community design, and address realistic commercial and economic needs of the community.”

Many residents of the village support the preservation of historic homes that would be covered by the District of Critical Planning Concern, with many organizing to protect what they call “Captains Row”.

The public hearing will take place Tuesday, October 22nd at 5 p.m.

Anyone wishing to testify will be welcome to do so at the meeting and written comments may also be submitted at the hearing, or delivered or mailed to the Cape Cod Commission, P.O. Box 226, 3225 Main Street, Barnstable.

The proposed district boundary map and other relevant documents may be viewed at and at the Cape Commission office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

While the commission and the town goes through this process, a moratorium will remain in place.

Certain permits will be allowed to be issued, including repairs and maintenance to single family homes, non-residential structures, and accessory structures.


About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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