Cape Cod Commission Workshops to Focus on Housing Survey

FALMOUTH – The Cape Cod Commission will host two community workshops later this month to discuss the results of a recent survey focused on alternative housing development patterns for the region.

The Commission partnered with the towns of Eastham, Orleans and Falmouth on how to meet the demand for smaller, more affordable housing units in areas supported by infrastructure and neighborhood services.

The Cape Cod Commission has worked with the three towns over the last several years to build community housing.

Eastham adopted a District of Critical Planning Concern with the Commission.

“That resulted in as many as seven zoning changes in one Town Meeting, including zoning that would include more housing density in the highway corridor area of Eastham,” Harper said.

The Commission has been involved in the planning for more compact housing in Orleans Center and is related to their work around water quality in planning for their wastewater systems.

“That’s one community that is really focused on meeting community needs and economic needs through their investment in wastewater infrastructure,” Harper said.

Falmouth has expanded its water quality infrastructure and is seeing a lot of economic activity in the Davis Straits area.

“They have long been looking at their land use practices in that area and how to capitalize on the great work that happened in their downtown, but bring some of the right sized economic development to the Davis Straits area which is their more commercial area in and around the Falmouth mall,” Harper said.

The project is focused on those three planning districts to get a sense from the community about what type of housing might be preferable in those areas.

“How do they appeal to them from form, from density standpoint and what makes sense in each of those communities?” Harper said.

Harper said the project is about planning for more dense housing developments.

“These are communities that are really talking about this and thinking about how to improve community resiliency by investing in more density in those areas of their community that can support it,” Harper said.

A projected outcome of the project will be for towns to start thinking about a form-based code and approach to zoning, which is different from traditional zoning which is more use-based.

“It’s about getting that preference and thinking about these things visually in the community and translating those preferences into a regulatory scheme that would make it easier for developers to promote and develop housing that is more dense and has ideally more affordability,” Harper said.

The Commission is partnering with the firm of Union Studio. The firm will use the responses from the survey to help develop proposed housing models in each of the communities.

“The feedback that we get will both influence the community planning process and what is developed as a form-based code framework,” Harper said.

Workshops have been scheduled for Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Falmouth Town Hall and Thursday, October 25 at 7 p.m. at Orleans Town Hall.

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