West Harwich DCPC Approved by Cape Cod Commission

HARWICH – The Cape Cod Commission has given the green light to the establishment of a District of Critical Planning Concern in West Harwich.

Harwich selectmen submitted a request in September to establish the DCPC, in an attempt to protect the area’s character and resources via more regulations on planning and development.

The designation would also aim to manage transportation and safety issues as well as promote the district’s small businesses.

Sarah Korjeff, a historic preservation staff member for the Cape Cod Commission, said the district has 24 structures that date back from the mid-18th century to the early 20th century.

“The Mass Historical Commission determined in 2016 that those buildings as a group are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Any redevelopment in that area could have a significant impact on its character,” Korjeff said.

The Cape Cod Commission approved the request unanimously last week.

The DCPC would encompass 43 total acres of land along Route 28, from the Herring River area to the town line shared with Dennis.

Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh said the request came to fruition after a proposed 7,400 square foot retail outlet would have led to the demolition of one of the 24 historical structures.

“It brought to light the fragile nature of this corridor,” Greenhalgh said, “to the demolition of historic homes to make way for the construction of larger retail businesses that are not necessarily in keeping with what the community character really is in that area.”

The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates will now receive the DCPC request and decide whether or not to enact it as a county ordinance.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the CapeCod.com NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.

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