Mashpee Commons Officials Seeking Three-Party Expansion Agreement

MASHPEE – Officials with Mashpee Commons are seeking to enter into an agreement with the Cape Cod Commission, along with the town, as developers pursue an expansion.

Former executive director of the Cape Cod Commission Paul Niedzwiecki appeared before selectmen this week representing Mashpee Commons to inform them of his client’s intent to work with the county planning agency.

Niedzwiecki and Commons officials are also seeking the town’s participation in trilateral discussions.

“I think that there is an opportunity for both sides to come to the table with the Commission, all three parties, and look at what would be best there,” Niedzwiecki said.

Niedzwiecki said the three-party would be used as a tool and that any party unhappy with the discussions could leave at any time.

“Instead of having repetitive meetings, we would like to get everybody around the same table at the same time to discuss these issues,” he said.

Niedzwiecki said broader issues need to be discussed other than zoning changes.

“Those broader issues are economic development, the fiscal impacts of any proposed development to the town, and wastewater,” Niedzwiecki said.

“Not just wastewater that accommodates what might be proposed as building out there, but wastewater that fits into the town’s plan.”

Mashpee Commons’ existing development rights are 33 years old, created with a special permit in 1986.

“The currently permitted mix of commercial, residential and building form – I don’t think is something the town necessarily would endorse,” Niedzwiecki said.

The first step would be to notice the Cape Cod Commission that Mashpee Commons would have intent to file for a development agreement and Niedzwiecki said they would like to do that with support from town officials.

The Commons will forward a letter outlining the notice of intent process to the planning board, chairman of the board of selectmen, and the town manager seeking general support.

“I think this is the best way to move forward,” he said. “It’s always been my feeling that if you get everybody around the table at the same time, everybody hears the same thing at the same time.”

Niedzwiecki said the three-party discussions could expedite the permitting process that responds to the town’s needs.

Selectmen were also informed that Mashpee Commons officials have no plans to submit an article for October Town Meeting.

Niedzwiecki said a lot of work has been done over several years with public charrettes and design issues.

Mashpee Commons officials held a “Master Plan Week” in the spring of 2018 to gather input on what the public would like to see from expansion of the mixed-use development.

Officials said residents expressed an interest in more housing types that are currently unavailable in Mashpee and surrounding communities, including housing for younger people who would like to stay on Cape Cod or seniors seeking to down-size.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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