The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates unanimously approved the designation of a District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC). The Nov. 1, 2017 decision follows the unanimous support by the Cape Cod Commission, which unanimously approved the designation in October.
A DCPC is a powerful planning tool available through the Cape Cod Commission Act. It allows for a temporary moratorium on development activity to allow communities time to put new regulations in place.
On Aug. 24, 2017, the Commission received a proposed nomination for the Town of Eastham District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC) from the Eastham Board of Selectmen. The Commission worked with the Town in advance to limit the effects of the full moratorium required by statute once notice of the nomination is published.
The moratorium began and ended the same day, with publication of the notice and acceptance of the nomination occurring on August 31, 2017. A limited moratorium was outlined in the decision and remains in effect.
The designation was sought and approved under three separate provisions of the DCPC regulations: Economic or Development Resource District, Affordable Housing Resource District and a Transportation Management District.
The Commission found that the area possessed significant natural and economic resources or values of regional, statewide, or national significance; and, the presence or proposed establishment of a major capital public facility or area of public investment. The potential for uncontrolled or inappropriate development exists within the District.
The proposed District is bisected by a four-lane undivided highway with multiple curb cuts and higher traffic volumes than other sections of U.S. Route 6. Permissive commercial zoning and the recent provision of town water to the proposed District resulted in high-traffic volume commercial development proposals whose layout and design could be improved with adequate regulatory controls. Implementing regulations will allow the Town to provide the regulations desired by the community and ensure that this local economic center will grow in a way that existing infrastructure can support.
The Commission’s decision also provided a set of guidelines to assist the town in meeting its stated objectives when drafting implementing regulations.
Among the reasons the town sought the designation is a proposal for a high-traffic retailer in this area of town.
in June, Eastham selectmen made a discretionary referral of a proposed Dollar General Store located within the area now under consideration for DCPC designation. While the application did not trigger mandatory DRI thresholds, the Commission found it posed the regional issues identified by selectmen and accepted it for review. The Dollar General project is unaffected by the DCPC and its moratorium. A separate Development of Regional Impact review is ongoing for that proposal.