Community Design Workshops to Discuss Housing Concepts

HYANNIS – Two community conversation workshops will be held next week on Cape Cod to gather input from the public on possible designs for more compact housing developments.

The towns of Eastham, Orleans and Falmouth, working with the Cape Cod Commission and the design team of Union Studio, are starting a conversation about what it will take to meet current and future market demand for smaller multi-generational units in areas supported by infrastructure and neighborhood amenities.

“Hopefully the design process is to get people thinking differently about what compact housing design looks like,” said Heather Harper, an affordable housing specialist with the Cape Cod Commission.

The goal of the compact housing is to create stronger communities by introducing housing opportunities for individuals and families in all stages of life near community centers.

“I think the concept is how do you plan for neighborhoods that are attractive to multiple generations and how will that relate to the demographics of the neighborhood?” Harper said.

A workshop for Eastham and Orleans is Tuesday, June 19 at the Eastham Public Library at 6:30 p.m. and a Falmouth workshop is Wednesday, June 20 at Falmouth Town Hall at 5:30 p.m.

The discussion stems from a potential grant opportunity from the Department of Engergy and Environmental Affairs, which is focused on promoting compact development patterns in areas of the state better poised to support growth with infrastructure more resilient to flooding and coastal issues.

The Cape Cod Commission released a regional housing market analysis last year that demonstrated a current demand for housing along with moving forward into the future.

“We’re proposing to start visioning and thinking about what the needs of seniors, what the needs of the young professional and what the needs of the workforce might look like with more compact development,” Harper said.

The projects stem from long-term planning exercises in Eastham with it’s District of Critical Planning Concern.

Orleans has worked with its downtown to invest in infrastructure for a long-term plan for their wastewater system, along with zoning changes that will allow for more compact development.

Falmouth has also invested in a wastewater system downtown and is looking at zoning reform that might address development pressures in its urban compact center just outside the village center.

“We don’t expect [the developments] to be the same. These are all very different places,” Harper said.

Following the two meetings next week and possible meetings in other towns, a builder’s roundtable will be convened to discuss budgetary pressures and what would need to be done to meet design standards for the region.

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