Barnstable County Commissioners Approve West Harwich DCPC

WEST HARWICH – Barnstable County Commissioners endorsed the proposed District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC) in West Harwich by a 2-1 vote on Wednesday.

This comes after both the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates and Cape Cod Commission unanimously approved the proposal recently.

A request was made by selectmen in September to protect the character of the area, along with its resources, by implementing more planning and development regulations.

The district has 24 structures that date back centuries, and Commissioner Chair Ron Bergstrom said it was important to maintain those building for years to come.

“In Provincetown, if they ripped down all the historic homes and put up modern homes, nobody would go there,” Bergstrom contended.

“It’s part of the attractiveness of an area.”

The DCPC designation would also look to alleviate the 43-acre area’s issues with transportation and overall safety, as well as promote small businesses within its borders along Route 28 from the Herring River to the Dennis town line.

Commissioner Mary Pat Flynn voted in favor of the proposal, saying that its purpose to “bring people together.”

“Those who are concerned about building or change in their community, this is a way for them to have their voices heard,” she continued.

Ron Beaty was the only dissenting vote, saying that he believes inherent private property rights would be infringed by the designation.

The town now has 12 months to create zoning amendments to be placed in front of town meeting voters.

Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh has urged town officials to take their time with the proposal and to utilize input from both seasonal and full-time residents, before putting it up to a vote at the annual town meeting in May.

In 2016, the Massachusetts Historical Commission determined that the buildings in the DCPC area were eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

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