Second Home Conversions – Chapter 40B Implications

The Cape Cod Commission released a report last week providing the results of a survey conducted for them of second home owners on the Cape.  The study suggests broad implications for the Town of Dennis.  Previously, I discussed the implications on population growth, and in particular the number of potential new retirees that will be living in Dennis.  Another implication, is a rapid increase in the town’s Chapter 40B housing target number.

Chapter 40B establishes a target for affordability that each community must achieve.  In Dennis, the 8,079 year-round housing units in the 2000 Census gave the town a target of 808 affordable housing units.  We currently stand at 337 affordable housing units.  We are working towards getting another 60 or so units into the state count.

Now, to properly understand this, the 10% target, 808 housing units, is 10% of the existing housing.  To raise the Dennis affordable housing stock to 10% would require either converting 471 existing housing units into deed restricted affordable housing or constructing only deed restricted housing units, this would require 523 additional units.  More likely, we will see a combination of market rate and affordable housing.  If this were to occur within the typical Chapter 40B style development patterns, Dennis will need to add 3,137 new housing units, with 25% of those deed restricted affordable.  At the end of this build-out, we would have 11,216 total year-round housing units, with 1,121 deed restricted affordable housing units.

The projected conversion of seasonal to year round housing will raise the bar.  The town will need to add one affordable housing unit for every ten market rate units.  This means the potential conversion of  512 seasonal units in the next five years and 1,301 over the fifteen year projected conversion time period of the study.  It will not be as simple as adding 130 affordable housing units.  As with meeting the current target, there will be market rate housing units constructed along with affordable ones.  If one in every four can be counted towards our Chapter 40B target, Dennis will need 6,170 housing units (counting the converted seasonal housing units) to our year round housing stock.  In the end, we will have 14,249 total year round housing units, and 1,425 of them deed restricted affordable.

Chapter 40B places us between a rock and a hard place.  The conversion of seasonal housing will only make it more difficult.

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