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Collaborative Work and Living Space – A Thought

Okay, let’s float these as trial balloons.

First, in the Dennis Port Village Center, General Commercial II, and West Dennis Village Center I am thinking we might want to add the following as an Allowed Use:

Collaborative Workspace – shared space for those looking to lease a work area and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like conference rooms, office supplies, and internet and tech connections. Facilities provide space for networking, events, working alone or with others, pop-up shops, and workshops. Collaborative Workspaces may include services such as retail sales, food services, facilities for professional office, light manufacturing, research and development, common storage, packing, and distribution. Such facilities encourage business collaboration and provide opportunities for product aggregation, information sharing, and partnering on events and market promotion.

The Economic Development Committee has been kicking this around some time as part of the Exit 9 Economic Center. Long before the television show Alex, Inc. came out an put these types of spaces into a more public view.

In the three areas discussed above, we have vacant commercial floor space that might be attractive for reuse in this fashion. Imagine, start-up space for quilters (happening int he Holyoke Innovation Center), 3-D printing services, podcasts (yes that is part of Alex, Inc. but also part of the Holyoke Innovation Center long before the television show). Videographers, computer specialists, marketing start-ups all under one roof. This might be just what we need to put into the long-vacant space in Dennis Port Plaza.

Second, to solve some of our housing needs, and attract young people to town who might be able to take advantage of the Collaborative Workspace, I want to float the same idea to create new living arrangements that could supplant the “lodging house” concept for some group living accommodations. So, here are my thoughts, borrowing from the above and verbiage used elsewhere in the country:

Collaborative Living Space  – Residential dwelling for those looking to share accommodations for economic or lifestyle reasons. and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like wi-fi, cable television, internet and tech connections, housekeeping service, trash removal, etc. Collaborative Living Space shall not be subject to the limitations found in the definition of Lodging House.

For a while I have been wrestling with a number of issues that this could resolve. One is finding a residential adaptive reuse for some of our larger antique homes scattered around town. This could allow a shared living entity, such as WeLive or Common, to acquire a house, restore it, and have it lived in by younger residents. The second is simply finding easily attainable, entry-level housing for our high-school and college graduates to be able to remain on, or return to, Cape Cod.

The need for this as part of the housing solution can be found in today’s Cape Cod Times (Youth outreach expanded in annual Cape homeless count) “Finding affordable housing on the Cape can pose a particular challenge to young people just starting out in entry-level jobs….”

Posted to both the Dennis Economic Development Blog and the Planning Department Blog for maximum exposure. Sorry if you get two notices about this.

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Tourist Officials Say Airbnb Having An Impact

Totally agree, we need a level playing field. Especially given some investors are buying property for the sole purpose of renting on AirBnB. This was recently documented in a Boston  Globe article.

Investor owned properties rented on weekly bases drive up the cost of housing for everyone,  eliminates affordable housing opportunities and hurts our hotel business. All the while,  denying communities hotel romm taxes.

http://www.capecod.com/newscenter/tourist-officials-say-airbnb-having-an-impact/

How Rich and Poor Spend (and Earn) Their Money – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Dennis, and most of Cape Cod, has a high percentage of retirees as year round residents. Census data reviewed by the town for the recent housing summit reinforced the high percentage of income going towards housing costs for the retiree income group. Beyond the added burden of food for retirees, is the out of pocket costs for medical expenses. This analysis continues to illustrate the dire need we have to produce affordable housing.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/04/06/how-the-rich-and-poor-spend-and-earn-their-money/

The Cities Where Even 3 Minimum Wage Jobs Won’t Pay the Rent – Richard Florida – The Atlantic Cities

Based upon the state minimum wage of $8 per hour, and the 2010 median rent in Dennis of $905, it would take 2.17 jobs or working 87 hours per week at minimum wage to pay the rent on an apartment in Dennis. With the pending increase of the minimum wage in the state to $10 per hour, it would still take 1.74 jobs or 70 hours of work per week to afford an average apartment in Dennis.

The Cities Where Even 3 Minimum Wage Jobs Won’t Pay the Rent – Richard Florida – The Atlantic Cities.