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The largest single development project in the town's history - with as many as 50-units per acre and within 10 ft of Route 134 - is being proposed for approximately 112 acres on both sides of Theophilus Smith Road including ALL of Patriot Square and the land behind it. Still undecided is the fate of the 35 Acres of the now closed Wixon School. Other issues being reviewed on a fast track are proposed restrictions limiting short-term rentals, and a comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan which includes extensive development capabilities.


A proposed Dennis Zoning Bylaw change was fast tracked for consideration and implementation for the May 2023 Town meeting, but now has been deferred for further study to the Zoning Bylaw Study Committee. This controversial proposal was drafted by the interim Town Planner in response to a Select Board goal of expanding Multi-family housing in an industrial zone. The Planning Board voted to rezone a portion of the area to allow developers "By Right" to build thousands of units of multi family housing.

The Zoning ByLaw Study Committee submitted an extensive list of questions and a request for funding to do a multifaceted impact study which is thought to be under consideration by the Select Board.

The Multi-Family Housing Overlay District proposal calls for an overlay of multifamily zoning over the top of the industrial zoning in the area of Patriot Square including and behind the Stop and Shop, Theophilus Smith Road up to the Propane gas distribution facility on South Gages Way and including New Venture Drive. Although not easily discerned, the proposal covers the General Commercial III District along Route 134. Currently that zoning requires that buildings be 60 ft back from the lot line along Route 134 and 2 stories tall. The proposal reduces those standards to allow multifamily or mixed use buildings to be only 10 ft off of Route 134 and 4 stories high, and may contain as many as 30 to 50 units per acre lot, including only one parking space per unit. The entire overlay area is around 112 acres and while numbers are not stated, guesstimates are that this could allow far more than 1000 units - with an average of 3 people per unit. The resulting infrastructure of police, fire, schools, traffic, water, wastewater, beaches, etc. would have to be able to support the additional 3,000 or more inhabitants. 25% of the units would meet the affordable housing requirements. The remaining 75% could be market rate rentals or sales for primary seasonal homes and corporate investments. The area abuts the Town of Dennis landfill and the proposed Sewage Treatment plant. This mix of industrial with high density residential leaves the possibility of noxious industrial uses abutting residential units.

This proposal needs and deserves much more public consideration.

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12-5-2022 Version

Section 14 Multi-Family Housing Overlay District

14.1 Purpose.

The purpose of this section is to establish guidelines for the Multi-Family Housing Overlay District. The purposes are to:

(1) Promote public health, safety and welfare by encouraging a diversity of housing opportunities in the Town of Dennis;

(2) Increase the availability of affordable housing by creating a range of housing choices for households of all incomes, ages and sizes and to meet existing and anticipated housing needs;

(3) Provide a housing type that responds to changing household sizes and ages (e.g., retirees, small families, single-person households);

14.2 District.

14.2.1 Establishment. The Multi-Family Housing Development Overlay District is shown on the Dennis Zoning Map and map inset 14-1 dated ____. This map is hereby made a part of the Zoning By-law and is on file in the Office of the Dennis Town Clerk

14.2.2 Underlying Zoning. All underlying uses of the districts remain in full force and effect except as superseded for Multi-Family Housing Developments under this Zoning By-law.

14.3 Development Standards

14.3.1 Projects meeting the standards in this section shall be considered

“by-right” development subject only to design review under Section 4.1.2

Site Plan Approval.

14.3.2 Intensity of Use

a) Minimum lot area forty thousand (40,000) sf

b) Maximum height of fifty (50) feet and four (4) stories;

c) Maximum building coverage of 30%;

d) Maximum total site coverage of 70%;

e) Minimum building separation of twenty feet.

f) Minimum of 25% of the units created restricted affordable in perpetuity to persons earning no more than 80% of area median income.

a. The second unit created and the appropriate portion of units created thereafter (25%, 33% or 40%) shall be deed restricted permanently affordable units, per applicable standards in Section 4.9.4. .

g) Minimum 1 parking space per unit.

h) Maximum of thirty (30) dwelling units in any one building.

i) Density Parameters, up to:

a. Thirty (30) units per acre with 25% of units affordable to 80% of AMI

b. Forty (40) units per acre with 33% of units affordable to 80% of AMI

1c. Fifty (50) units per acre with 40% of units affordable to 80% of AMI

j) Units shall be evenly distributed in the development and across bedroom configurations.

k) All units created shall be for year-round housing

l) Front, Rear and Side Building Setbacks of a minimum of 20 feet

m) Parking Setbacks:

a. Front 20 feet

b. Side and Rear 10 feet.

14.3 Permitted Housing Types

Multi-Family Housing Developments may include: or living quarters, where the emphasis of the facility remains residential.

High Rise Residential - high density, vertical residential development providing for multi-family housing.

Low Rise Residential - provides a transition between single family zoned areas and more intense multifamily and commercial areas. Low Rise Residential provides a mix of housing types such as small to moderate scale multifamily housing including apartments and townhouses.

14.4 Relationship to Other Portions of the Dennis Zoning By-law

To the extent that Section 14 may conflict with any other portion of the Dennis Zoning By-law, in particular the minimum requirements otherwise applicable under Section 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 4.2 and 4.5 the provisions of Section 14 shall supersede and apply.

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