Dennis Planning Board Approves Permit for Veterans Home

PHOTO COURTESY: Town of Dennis. Rendering of planned home for veterans

PHOTO COURTESY: Town of Dennis. Rendering of planned home for veterans

DENNIS – A plan to build a home in Dennis for veterans has taken a big step forward over the past week.

The Dennis Planning Board unanimously approved a special permit to develop the project as municipally sponsored during a public meeting Monday night.

The permit approval follows support from selectmen and the finance committee last week for two town meeting articles to use $200,000 in Community Preservation Act funds and the use of town-owned land.

Plans call for a five bedroom home on Route 134 near Route 6A that will serve homeless veterans in need of transitional housing or other vets below the poverty line.

“Now we start the 20 day appeal period which with all luck will be completed prior to the town meeting vote on October 18,” said Dan Fortier, the Dennis town planner.

If a citizen appeals the permit approval it could slow down the progress of the project.

Residents at Monday’s public meeting expressed some concerns with the project.

“Nobody brought up issues about the nature of the people who would live there, which have been issues of previous discussions,” Fortier said. “It really did focus more on the nature of the building this time.”

An attorney in attendance questioned whether the planning board was authorized to issue such a special permit.

Fortier said the planning board reviewed the sections of the bylaw relating to affordable housing.

“The planning board was able to clearly determine they could issue this special permit,” he said.

Other questions were also asked about safety, access to the site for vehicles and the ability for the residents who live there to get to transportation.

“We covered the transportation services that the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center provides, the availability of Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority services and services from volunteers who have stepped forward to offer to provide rides,” Fortier said.

The project has also received the confirmation of a donation of a portion of the engineered wood products that will be needed in construction from Boise Cascade.

“We’re beginning to get the building materials to fall into place,” Fortier said.

Selectmen also voted last week to designate the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center as the preferred developer for the project, which is pending Town Meeting approval of the lease article.

Veterans make up almost 13 percent of the town’s population and 27 percent of those vets area over 65.

On October 1, the outreach center will host its 3rd annual Charity Golf Tournament with the proceeds to benefit the project. More funds for the project will be generated the same day as the outreach center co-sponsors a Veteran’s Awareness Field Day on the Hyannis Village Green.

The outreach center hopes to have the home completed by July 4, 2017.


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