Sesuit Harbor Planning Efforts

At May Town Meeting attendees supported funding for a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure supporting Sesuit Harbor. The study will include a review of the physical assets of the town marina; operational aspects of the marina, water sheet and access; and the financial issues related to the harbor. A final report is due before May Town Meeting. Interim material will aid in making many decisions related to the harbor as early as fall town meeting.

Concurrent with this effort, it has become quite evident it is time to correct a decades old zoning issue. In the 1950’s the Sesuit Harbor area was placed in a zoning district that allowed marina and boat facilities by Special Permit from the Board of Selectmen. In 1973, when Dennis was rezoned with a comprehensive new zoning by-law, while isolated business sites like “Joe Mac’s” clam shack and Rose’s Restaurant were spot zoned as business areas surrounded by single-family zoning, properties such as the Lighthouse Inn, Bass River Marina and Sesuit Harbor were put into residential zoning districts.

Over the past decade we have corrected two of these zoning conflicts. Bass River Marina was rezoned twice. First putting it entirely into the GC II zoning district. Later it was put into the Mixed Use Marine District as part of the West Dennis Village Center zoning. The Lighthouse Inn was, more recently, placed into the new Hotel Resrt District.

While there are probably a number of other zoning conflicts around town, the zoning governing Sesuit Harbor is probably the most glaring. Sesuit Harbor, comprised of the Town Marina (east and west sides), Northside Marina and the Dennis Yacht Club are intensive business uses located in a low density residential zoning district.

I am asking the Dennis Economic Development Committee to take on the issue of appropriate zoning for this area. I hope that, over the course of the summer, residents, harbor users, and businesses that may serve/benefit from harbor users can all come together to discuss these issues.

These issues surrounding the harbor are not new. Many of you have discussed these with me in the past. I had hoped we could have started this process a couple years ago, but other initiatives were more pressing.

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