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Fostering New Ideas and Employment Concepts

Over the next several weeks or months, I will be exploring new concepts for employment and provisions of services in Dennis. In particular, I will be discussing the ever-changing face of employment locally and across the Commonwealth.  A particular focus will be on innovative and shared workspaces. Believe it or not, the particular concept I am looking at has already hit television in the new TV series Alex Inc. where the protagonist has set up shop in a shared workspace. These spaces have allowed start-ups to flourish through the cross-pollination of ideas, some becoming nationally recognized. You can learn a bit more about this concept here.

Innovative work ideas can also flourish out of one’s own desire to be their own boss. And, some will be creative home occupations. As we stumble our way through accommodating the future innovative employment concept I will snag ideas happening in the local economy and highlight them in the Economic Development Blog. Maybe, with enough examples, this zoning concept will write itself.  Here is one example of a locally grown innovative service being offered in Dennis. She is serving the mid-Cape today, but maybe this will be spun into a larger franchised business concept with its roots in Dennis.

Fresh Start Services on the Cape

With the post I put on the full Planning Department blog about shared housing, the services offered by Fresh Start Services would tie into services provided to residents of some of these shared housing arrangments nationwide. The generation we need to attract back to the Cape relies on Uber, Lyft or ZipCar for transportation options rather than car ownership. They make use of bike-share programs. They think outside the box, giving them broad reach for new career modes. As the oldest town, by average age, in the Commonwealth, we need to figure how to attract these new concepts to Dennis.

Together, we can do this.

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Exit 9 Economic Center Zoning Discussion Kick-Off

On Thursday April 17th we will start the discussion regarding creating a zoning proposal for the land around Exit 9. The goal of this proposal is to create a comprehensive approach to redevelopment of this area with an eye towards managing traffic and waste water generated by the area.

During the review of Lowe’s the statement was made that this area was not appropriately zoned for mixed use activities. Not really sure how they arrived at that conclusion, but, this process will look at both development under existing zoning, as well as under a new zoning scheme.

At present the area comprises General Commercial III and Industrially zoned lands. The General Commercial III district uses include:

Retail
Office
Consumer Services
Restaurant
Residential

While the Industrially zoned lands allow:

Retail
Office
Consumer Services
Restaurant
Manufacturing
Warehousing
Contractor’s Yards

Housing may even be possible in the Industrial Zoning District under Section 4.9 of the Dennis Zoning By-law. We have asked Town Counsel to review this.

Zoning setbacks in this area are generally 50 feet. Unfortunately, no one has built at this setback line. A simple change of approach, to make this a build-to line, for at least a portion of the site floor space would drastically change the look of the area. The 50 foot setback could then be transformed into an active pedestrian plaza. Current zoning actually allows for this.

As with all our zoning initiatives, this process will require creative thinking.

Economic Development Committee Members Needed

The Dennis Economic Development Committee is charged with making recommendations to improve the economic condition of the Town of Dennis.  Over the past several years the EDC has worked with residents and businesses of Dennisport and West Dennis on new village center zoning, crafted the Hotel Resort and the Seasonal Resort Community Zoning Districts and is now working on the Village Wayfinding Sign program for Dennisport.

The Economic Development Committee is, however, short-staffed. The Committee is to be comprised of 9 members.  At present the Committee has 6 members.  The 3 seats that are open represent village seats.  We are in need of Committee members to represent Dennisport, South Dennis and East Dennis on the Committee.

The Committee meets generally just once a month at 9 am on the third Thursday of each month here at Town Hall. The meetings try to run just an hour.  If you are interested, and represent one of these three villages, please take out a Green Card and get involved.