Under the Cape Cod Commission Act, the Commission has the authority and obligation to review and decide upon Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs), which are projects likely to pose development issues and have effects in more than one town.
The Commission’s Enabling Regulations Governing Review of Developments of Regional Impact define the classes and types of development that are presumed to be Developments of Regional Impact. The Commission’s regional review and decision-making is in addition to those federal, state or local permits and reviews that are required for a project. Where Commission review is required, town review of a project is suspended until the Commission reviews and approves a project. Towns may also request that the Commission accept for DRI review a project not otherwise presumed to be a DRI if it presents development issues significant to or likely to affect more than one town.
Through DRI review, the Commission determines the comparative benefits and detriments of a project and its consistency with the Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan (RPP) and local comprehensive plans and goals. The RPP directly reflects the purposes and goals set out in the Act. Under the Act, the Commission is responsible for balancing the protection of the region’s various cultural, natural and other resources with promoting sustainable local and regional economies and economic growth.
Regional regulatory review by the Commission is goal-based and context-sensitive. The goals and objectives of the RPP provide the framework for regulatory review, with review approached through the lens of the Cape Cod Placetypes in which a project is located. The Commission has regulations in place, and tools and resources available, to guide regional regulatory review and to support communities in their regulatory efforts in cases where development impacts may extend beyond town boundaries.