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Typical process for the review of a Development of Regional Impact (DRI)

  • An applicant files an application for a development permit with the town. If a project is expected to meet a mandatory DRI review threshold, applicants are strongly encouraged to meet with Commission staff prior to filing an application with the town. 
    • If the project meets a mandatory DRI review threshold a town permitting authority for the project refers the project to the Cape Cod Commission for DRI review. 
    • If the project does not meet a mandatory DRI threshold a town permitting authority may vote to make a discretionary referral of the project to the Cape Cod Commission requesting that it be accepted for DRI review. 
    • Town permitting processes are suspended after a project has been referred and while the project is under DRI review. 
  • After referral, the applicant submits a DRI application to the Commission. Applicants are strongly encouraged to meet with Commission staff to discuss the application process. 
  • The Commission reviews the project and holds public hearings on the project. The DRI public hearing period opens within 60 days of receiving the DRI referral from the town, and closes within 90 days thereafter. A 60-day DRI decision period follows the public hearing period, which period may be extended upon mutual agreement of the Commission and the applicant. 
    • Commission staff may open the DRI hearing period procedurally if no application, or an incomplete application, is received by the Commission (including submission of the required review fees). The Commission will not notice, open or hold a substantive public hearing on a project unless and until an applicant has submitted a complete application. An applicant may withdraw its town permitting application should it choose to withdraw from DRI review and no longer propose the project. 
    • A subcommittee of Commission members may be formed, or a hearing officer designated, to hold one or more substantive public hearings on the project, review the project, and take public comment during the DRI public hearing period. At least one public hearing will be held in the town where the project is proposed. After its review, the subcommittee or hearing officer may make a report and recommendation on the project to the full Commission, which may be in the form of a draft written, recommended decision. 
  • The full Commission is charged with deciding whether to approve or deny a project, informed by those recommendations by staff, a subcommittee or hearing officer. The full Commission will make its decision in a meeting open to the public, and in its decision-making, may hold one or more public hearings where additional public comment may be considered. 
    • If the project is approved by the Commission, or approved with conditions, town permitting for the project can resume, after the Commission’s decision becomes final
    • If the project is denied by the Commission, the town cannot re-commence review or issue any permit for the project.  
    • The Commission may procedurally deny a project (without prejudice) should an applicant not timely submit a complete application or otherwise proceed with DRI review in the required timelines. 

For additional information on the DRI review process see Chapter A: Enabling Regulations Governing Review of Developments of Regional Impact 



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