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Zoning for Housing

Cape Cod Commission creates a suite of model bylaws to encourage greater housing options

The Cape Cod Commission is nearing completion of a yearlong process to create a Regional Housing Strategy, a plan that aims to address the region’s housing challenges by providing a set of tools to help Cape communities expand housing opportunities for those who need and want to live here.

The tools include a suite of model bylaws the Cape Cod Commission is developing with Utile and Outwith Studio. Towns can customize and adopt these bylaws to help encourage and incentivize development and redevelopment for housing that meets the needs of year-round residents.

Form-based code lite for multifamily housing

This model bylaw allows an array of context-sensitive multifamily housing uses by-right with specific parameters for building form. The bylaw is designed to encourage diverse, financially attainable housing options that align with a Town’s vision. It can foster or enhance compact, pedestrian-oriented villages that include a mix of residences and businesses, encouraging the preservation and reuse of existing buildings.

Zoning for seasonal worker dormitories

Housing for seasonal workers is scarce, with many businesses finding that seasonal workers cannot find a place to live, resulting in inadequate staffing during the region’s busy summer season. This model bylaw is designed to encourage the provision of safe living spaces dedicated to the seasonal workforce. The model bylaw provides for dormitories within a mixed-use setting, as an accessory to new or existing commercial buildings, or in lower density areas and locations along commercial corridors.

Converting single-family homes to multi-family

Current zoning often prohibits conversion of single-family homes into multiple units, especially by-right. This model bylaw would encourage this, aiming to broaden the range of available housing options, provide an alternative use for large historic homes, limit construction-related greenhouse gas emissions, and respect the aesthetic value of Cape Cod’s existing housing.

Incentivizing year-round rentals

Cape Cod’s year-round rental market faces significant pressure from the seasonal, second home, and short-term rental market. The lack of available, attainable year-round rentals has destabilized communities, hampered economic development, and increased the cost of housing and other goods and services. The model bylaw offers an incentive to encourage a portion of a development to be used as year-round rental units to encourage the production of housing occupied by long-term residents who may want or need to rent rather than purchase their home.

All of these model bylaws can be customized to best suit the community’s unique character, needs, and priorities and can help advance initiatives to encourage greater housing diversity in the region.

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