In recent weeks much has attention has been paid to the possibility of Lowes opening a home center in Dennis.  As news articles have confirmed, Lowes has stated an interest in locating a new store in Dennis on Theophilus Smith Road.  The site is presently occupied by Dick and Ellie’s Flea Market and the Inflatable Park.  It is expected that these two uses will seek an alternate location in Dennis if they have to relocate.

As of now Lowes has not submitted an application for review by the Dennis Planning Board. They have had preliminary discussions with town staff regarding traffic issues and steps they will need to take to mitigate traffic impacts.

At some point soon the Lowes Homestore will file an application for what appears to be 128,300 sf facility including lumber store, home goods and nursery. The path it will follow through the regulatory process is a bit different from most as it will trigger an automatic referral to the Cape Cod Commission for a review as a Development of Regional Impact.  Below are my expectations for the overall process:

1. Lowes files application with the Planning Board for Site Plan Review

2. Immediate, mandatory, referral to the Cape Cod Commission

3. Lowes files application with Cape Cod Commission

4. Commission schedules Public Hearing(s) in Dennis

The DRI will look at Open Space, Traffic, Affordable Housing, Economic Impacts, Stormwater and Energy implications.

For Open Space land or a fee will be required to provide for protection of open space in Dennis. The requirement appears to be at about 2 acres of protected open space, or a fee equal to what would it would cost to buy that amount of land.

Traffic requirements call for mitigation at its driveway and immediately adjacent intersections. We are looking for the consolidation of the Cranberry Plaza, Cumberland Farms, Patriot’s Square and site driveways to use a single signalized intersection. However, we have asked the representatives of Lowes to look at a number of other access options as well so we can have the best long term solution possible. We also expect some changes at the Theophilus Smith Road/Route 134 intersection. The project will also have to look at every intersection that gets 25 or more vehicle trips. The Commission also provides for mitigation fees related to these more distant impacted locations which the town and Commission would over see the use of.

Affordable Housing impacts are based upon a fee schedule reviewed annually by the Commission.  Collected funds are paid to the county for use in Dennis for the provision of Affordable Housing. The Housing Trust would most likely oversee the use of these funds when their by-law is re-written.

Economic impact assessment, while straight-forward, is a bit more nebulous. Competition is not a basis for denial of a project, but the Commission reviews these impacts and may adjust mitigation requirements accordingly.

Stormwater analysis sets out to ensure no net increase in site stormwater discharge. Mostly this occurs on-site and has little off-site impacts.

Energy analysis sets a requirement for a portion of the site’s energy uses to come from renewable resources. Most likely this will require Lowes to incorporate solar into its site design.

5. Public Hearing is held and results of above studies are reviewed

6. Commission establishes projects Minimum Performance Standards, required improvements, and mitigation fees.

7. Upon Commission approval, Planning Board Hearing is scheduled.  While it is possible for the Planning Board to hold its hearing concurrently with the Cape Cod Commission’s hearing, there is little experience with this on Cape Cod. Joint Hearings may be preferable, as it would allow more town input into the Commission’s final decision. All to often town approvals after the Commission review is complete is simply a rubber stamp of the Commission’s decision. We will at least explore the possibility of concurrent review in order to maximize Planning Board involvement in this process.

8. Planning Board actions are limited to approval or approval with conditions under Site Plan Review. As retail uses are a by-right use in the Industrial District the Planning Board cannot reject the application unless there is a violation of the Dennis Zoning By-law.



29 thoughts on “Lowes

  1. The folks from Lowes are anticipating about 2 years to make it through the entire process.

  2. On paper, it may look good, but the other side of the coin is that Lowes has a reputation for displacing local business that cover the same products. Lowes promises to bring in about 150 jobs, but these are usually subsistence level / minimum wage, part time, with out benefits. The businesses that will be displaced along Great Western, Upper County, and White’s Path number about 1,000 employees, which translates family-wise into 3-4,000 residents of Dennis, and of Yarmouth and Harwich as well. The corporate actions of Lowes have strained much larger juristictions to the demise of local economies where the profits leave for some larger corporate pocket, making the beneficial impact negligible. Once the local businesses are driven out, and Lowes decides that Dennis is not profitable, it will leave and Dennis will be left with more unused structures, with the workers who once served our community long gone to other geographic areas out of necessity of survival.The return to Dennis in permits may come to over $600,000 according to the BOS. However, the amount of money that will LEAVE the community is incalculable, not to mention the human impact and reduction of local jobs, highly needed in this economy.
    The next question, then is, “Why Dennis?” We are not a commercial community as such. We are a residential and vacation community. To add to our traffic flow, especially along the usual routes from 28 and 6A, namely 134, Main Street in the Historic District, Old Bass River, and High Bank Road, will strain our roads and our infrastructure; they are sufficient for the current existence, but ill-equipped for what such a commercial venture will initially bring. Currently, we have seen the ramps of Exit 9 onto 134 more crowded than any other summer in the past 6 years. The four-way stop at Liberty Hall has been continually backed up this summer. Just imagine if there is commercial traffic compounding that congestion.
    People come here because the way of life does not have the congestion many of us left in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and so forth. To think that we all, codders and wash-ashores deserve to re-live the traffic nightmares and corporate impersonality we left behind is not only presumptuous on the part of local government, but is a disregard for the communal independence that is traditionally Cape Cod. Hyannis may have all that going for it, but we are not Hyannis, nor do Dennis residents want to be. Nor should we be expected to sacrifice ourselves and our way of life for what is essentially blood-money, acquired on the demise of our neighbors and those who have faithfully served Dennis, Yarmouth and Harwich. If the town really wants to honor the memory of Charlie Chamberlain who did set aside the land, the town’s most pressing need is for affordable or senior housing. That land would make a great site, close access to shopping especially for those who cannot drive, and a legacy that will show how Cape Codders take care of their own, rather than sell out to corporate greed at the expense of its residents and neighbors.

  3. Bill, thanks for the input. The town does not choose what commercial interests knock on our door. The site that Lowe’s is interested in has been zoned for commercial uses since first zoned in 1973. Prior to that it was an unrestricted area. I do hope that we can change the zoning in this area over the next few years. A mixed use area with a focus on professional office space and housing will balance out the commercial floor space that presently exists or is on the drawing board. At present, though, this area allows big box retail by-right. In fact, our zoning also discourages placing multiple smaller structures catering to a variety of retailers on this site. The value of our hard work is beginning to show in Dennisport but we hve a long way to go. Dan

  4. Dan, thanks for your response. It is true that the town has little control over which businesses knock on the door. But the town has control over what it will and will not accept. See you at the commission meeting on 1 October.

  5. Not sure what meeting you are planning on attending, the Planning Board Meeting for tonight has been cancelled as only three people were able to make it.

  6. I’m in 100% support of Lowes coming to Dennis. I for one am tired of the local monopoly by local suppliers which overcharge the consumer, simply because we’re on Cape Cod and they can. It’s about time for competition. It’s about time for additional choices. I’ve been driving off Cape to go to Lowes for the past 2 years for projects. While I feel there is a significant level of ignorance clearly displayed in the form of signs throughout Dennis, it’s inevitable that Cape Cod finally steps up the plate with the rest of the world and embraces some competition. I’m cheering on Lowes.

  7. BRAVO!! ….. bring em on! …..ASAP !!!
    Lowes is an exceptional customer satisfaction oriented retailer!
    Lowes supports military veterans in a BIG way!
    Lowes is an EXCELLENT corporate citizen!

  8. Perhaps we should deal with facts rather than scare tactics..
    Lowes doesnt hire employees to work @ MINIMUM WAGE !!!! As a matter of fact..if you do a little research you will find that even the part time workers who simply collect carts and assist customers in the parking lot are paid well above minimum wages and they also participate fully in the company bonus plans at each store! Many of the Lowes positions in fact offer significantly higher wages when compared with ANY other retailer on Cape Cod. Even larger companies like Stop and Shop, Sears, Job Lot,etc.., do not have average hourly wages comprable to Lowes. In addition, a little more research will show that Lowes offers a company supported and very reasonable benefits package that includes a variety of health benefits, educational reimbursement, company matching 401K, and discounted employee stock purchase plans!!! Remind me to see how many local companies offer capecodders such a package!

    Next, the proposed site is currently occupied by a bloody flea market that creates Zero local jobs and if I may say so,,(lets get real ) has lost all of its charm and come to resemble honky tonk silliness, never mind it being an eyesore! Are we really saying having that set up is a draw for our “charming community??!!!

    Next, how exactly does anyone beleive that trucks full of LOWES merchandise will be rolling thru historic dennis when if we are using common sense we all know the ONLY “cloverleaf enter and exit ramp wich is a stones throw away will bear all the traffic aside from perhaps a driver who happens to somehow miss the actual store directly off the exit!!! Windows and foundations “shuddering” please…

    Do a little more research in the vast amount of communities where Lowes already operates and ask the community centers, senior centers, schools, recreation depts, boys and girls clubs, and organizations like Habitat for Humanity what kind of neighbor Lowes has been. Likely the same folks from our S Dennis community who cry foul and spread innaccurate information will be the same folks knocking on the door and asking for the “big business” to assist with $$$$ donations or the talent of the dedicated local Lowes employees to assist with one or more local volunteer or charitable programs!!! My guess is Lowes will do what they always seem to do, they will step up and help.

    Finally, do one more bit of research, check the pricing of the items sold at Lowes vs some of our addorable small business owners!!! Are you kidding! Talk about traffic,,,its the traffic going to Hyannis or off cape to the nearest Lowes we should be concerned with. Tired of paying too much??? Gas for my car is one thing but this is an economic win for homeowners unless $ doesnt matter (yes, those folks obviously live here too).

    Finally, lets have a reasonable discussion that includes facts for all to consider..let the process play out.

  9. It was +/- 16 years ago that Yarmouth residents came out against Home Depot moving into the old Coliseum building on White’s Path and all the same arguments were used. Soon after, Home Depot moved into a vacant Bradlees in Hyannis. Guess what…..not a single hardware store has closed as a result. As a matter of fact, since that time an Aubuchon moved into Hyannis, Hubbarb paint expanded and Harbor Freight Tools moved into town.

  10. Hmmm. . .I know a “David H” that works at a Lowes just off Cape. That’s the type of argument I would expect from a Lowes employee:)
    Jim Baskin (True Value Hardware)

  11. Hey Jim, I’m not a Lowes employee and I’ve lived in Dennis for years. True Value Hardware is the Cumberland Farms of hardware stores to most of us and the very reason why we need Lowes to come to the Cape. It’s this “we need a monopoly” mentality that’s causing most of the Cape’s economic problems.

  12. True Value is hardly the Cumberland Farms of Hardware stores!!! If I want information and outstanding customer service….I find it at True Value in Dennis…Thats just the truth. Simply no arguing that point, so I wont bother!!

  13. I disagree. Walk into the one in Dennis and most of the young boys who work there are too busy talking to help you. Combined with that everything that is overpriced. They ARE like the Cumberland Farms of hardware stores. It’s easier just to drive to Hyannis and go to Home Depot.

  14. I support progress, and believe that a “Lowes” in Dennis would be a positive addition for the convenience of those of us who live here, would provide jobs and add to the our tax revenue, which is needed. All these are positive reasons and should encourage support of a new store in the Mid Cape.I don’t think the location could be described as “quintessential “, thus the ideal spot for growth. Are there any statistics about how many, if any, small stores closed down when Home Depot opened in Hyannis? A contribution to “Affordable Housing” is another plus for Dennis when Lowes does come to town.

  15. Competition is what made this country great. Let Lowes come in and compete for employees and business. The best business will win.

  16. Great point! The problem is that the local businesses like Breakaway and Mid Cape are afraid that competition. They’ve had a monopoly for too long.

  17. I agree. Mid cape has been purchased by an off cape resident , who I believe is involved in real estate development.

    The Dennis public market seems to be surviving with stop and shop and shaws in the area.

  18. For information about how Lowe’s will affect our Cape Traffic, Economy, Environment and the Cape Character go to http://www.notolowes.com – don’t just accept the rhetoric – learn more about the affects of big-box business on communities.

  19. All, I would like to remind everyone that comments need to be directed to the Cape Cod Commission. They are not monitoring outside discussions of this type.

    That being said, Dennis was the second community in the Commonwealth to regulate Formula Based Businesses. Learning from various court cases, especially recent ones in Florida, we recognized that such standards needed to consider the zoning district and adjacent land uses. The Formula Based Business by-law recognized that this area, with Stop and Shop, Marshalls, Dunkin Donuts (2), D’Angelo’s, Burger King, etc. had already crossed a Formula threshold. Formula Based Businesses were not restricted in this area.

    Much of the analysis of the impacts of chain stores was reviewed in crafting this by-law, and choosing where to allow and where to regulate such businesses. Formula Based Businesses also are not defined by “ownership,” franchises are also Formula. Ace Hardware and Agway are also Formula Based Businesses.

    We all need to ask ourselves, are we taking our position on this because it is Lowe’s or due to its size? Would you feel the same way if it were “Mom and Pop’s Hardware” and this size? This soul search should come from both sides of the discussion.

  20. The cape cod commission SHOULD be monitoring these types of forums frankly! The average citizen who would appreciate competitive pricing, decent paying jobs, tax revenue for our community, access to shopping that is convenient and saves time as well as money, etc… is not the demographic which screams the loudest! However, they are likely the majority who want this to become a reality.

  21. David

    The entire concept of a public hearing process looks to bring comments and concerns into a targeted focused forum. It tries to dissuade decision makers from seeking input outside the public realm. Without such controls, the old smoke filled backroom would, once again be dominant.

    Dan Fortier, Town Planner

  22. The only reason that Lowes “has a reputation for displacing local businesses” is because the majority of local businesses, particularly those here on the Cape related to building materials, gas grills and outdoor equipment are pricing gouging the consumer. Some healthy competition would be great for us residents allowing more choices and forcing those businesses who have had the monopoly for years to become more competitive. I’ve personally driven to Plymouth to go to Lowes time after time because I’m unable to get reasonable prices at the local stores. I welcome Lowes, I think it will be great for the local economy and it will year-round jobs where year-round jobs are significantly needed. I know a lot of our seasonal workers enjoy there winters off and enjoy collecting unemployment, now there will be a local employment opportunity to keep them from doing so. Perhaps that’s the problem.

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