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Zoning News in Barnstable County - Early Fall Roundup

Just as we posted some zoning news briefs from Plymouth County a few weeks ago, this week we look back at what happened across Barnstable County as we cruised into fall.

In Dennis, Massachusetts, it looks like Lowe's Home Improvement store is going forward with its plan to try and locate a store along Theophilis Smith Road in South Dennis. In late March (3/29/2012), The Register/Wicked Local ran an article after Lowe's presented its concept plan to the Dennis Planning Board. Now, as reported recently (9/16/2012) by the Cape Cod Times, it appears that Lowe's intends to move forward with its plan, notwithstanding the opposition commonly associated with these kinds of projects. Obviously this kind of project will need to undergo review by the Cape Cod Commission, and it is likely that a Lowe's store, if approved, would not be completed for at least a couple of years.

Speaking of Dennis, Massachusetts, we want to mention this gem: the Dennis Planning Department's blog. It is regularly updated with planning and development news relevant to Dennis. Click over to that blog to see for yourself.

In Yarmouth, Massachusetts, the Yarmouth Planning Board has proposed a new overlay district bylaw: the Village Centers Overlay District (VCOD). The VCOD would be located along Route 28 in Yarmouth, running from Winslow Gray Road to Lyman Road, and consist of four (4) distinct geographic "village centers". The primary purpose of the VCOD seems to be to encourage economic redevelopment in those areas. We encourage you to visit the Yarmouth Planning Board's page on the town's website because it has extensive information about the VCOD and the status of the proposed changes.

Similarly, in Harwich, Massachusetts, the town is underway with discussing proposed zoning bylaw and subdivision regulation amendments as part of the East Harwich Village Center Initiative (a collaborative effort between the Town and three other groups). There is a good amount of information online about this initiative, which seeks to encourage economic growth, reduce sprawl and protect open space and water resources, and it would create three new zoning designations within East Harwich Village Center. But, as gleaned from the August 14, 2012 Planning Board meeting minutes, there still seems to be quite a bit of work in shaping up the draft proposed amendments. This seems to be a result of having two concept plans/proposals to work from, one prepared by the Association to Protect Cape Cod and the East Harwich Collaborative, and the other by the Town Planner. The Association to Protect Cape Cod has a good write-up about the Initiative, as does the Town of Harwich website. A recent story (8/20/2012) also ran in Cape Cod Today about some questionable use of funds related to this initiative. We will continue to follow this process as it plays out.

Town committees and boards are not the only ones interested in amending zoning bylaws. Indeed, some constituents and residents find themselves contemplating whether changes should be made to zoning bylaws. This seems to be the case particularly as it relates to development that takes place in areas of a community that some feel are "old-fashioned" or have a particular "charm", and worth preserving as such. As reported by The Cape Codder/Wicked Local (8/20/2012), some residents in Chatham and Orleans are increasingly frustrated by the size of homes that are being built on small or undersized lots, and are wondering whether it is time to effect change to the zoning bylaws before more larger homes are built.

Although it would not be a new zoning district, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, the town has applied to the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for a Glass Town Cultural District, as reported by the Sandwich Broadsider/Wicked Local (8/23/2012). The article reports that the application is slated to be reviewed in October. As stated on the MCC's website, a cultural district designation "can help local arts, humanities, and science organizations improve the quality and range of their public programs so that more local families can benefit from them . . . enhance the experience for visitors and thus attract more tourist dollars and tax revenue . . . [a]nd they can attract artists, cultural organizations and entrepreneurs of all kinds - enhancing property values and making communities more attractive."

Finally, do you know what an "aquaculture development area" (ADA) is? Well, we didn't either. That is, until we came across this piece that ran online by The Cape Codder/Wicked Local (9/4/2012). As reported in the article, there is a 50-acre ADA site located under 20 feet of water, straddling Provincetown and Truro. It can be best described as an underwater "community garden", but for shellfishermen. From a permitting and regulatory perspective, this is an interesting and commonsense way to promote aquaculture.

Written by Kristen M. Ploetz, Esq., of Green Lodestar Communications & Consulting, LLC, on behalf of Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. Edited by Jeffrey T. Angley, Esq.

Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is general in nature and for educational purposes only. No personal legal advice is being provided. If you have an actual legal issue that needs to be addressed, you should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C., Phillips & Angley or their attorneys.

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