ADU housing, sewage work, park improvements at town meeting

DENNIS — A secondary suite bylaw, a full-time sewage superintendent position, a new ambulance and several projects seeking funding from the Community Preservation Committee are some of the issues that will be before Dennis voters during of a special municipal meeting on October 25.

One of the most important elements of the 33-section mandate is whether the proposed secondary suites bylaw — or ADU — found under Section 33 will get the green light from voters.

ADUs are self-contained apartment-type dwellings built on the same land as a primary residence.

The city’s Zoning By-law Review Committee has been working on the by-law for voters to review for 2 ½ years, meeting once a month to go through ADU by-laws from other Cape Town cities, discuss with experts from the housing and construction and collect public comments.

Committee member Carlyn Carey is optimistic about the chances of settlement.

Carlyn Carey is a member of the Dennis Zoning Bylaw Review Committee.

“Some committee members have attended community meetings and they’ve heard some interesting questions, but there’s no indication that people think the settlement is a bad idea,” Carey said. “We hope this will be a step to at least provide more rental housing for people who want to live in the town of Dennis.”

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In the draft regulations, the maximum area of ​​an ADU is 800 square feet, or 40% of the total living area of ​​the principal residence. ADUs can only be built on lots of at least 15,000 square feet and ADUs can only have two bedrooms.

The principal residence owner must live in either the residence or the ADU year-round, and ADU leases must have a minimum term of 12 months, in the draft regulations.

Homeowners cannot sell the ADU separately from the primary residence, and the number of ADU permits Dennis allows per year will be capped at nine so the city can study the effects of the settlement. The ADU cap would be phased out without further action from the town meeting on December 31, 2027.

Voters raise their hands for a count during the May 2022 town hall in Dennis.

ADU’s proposed settlement is significant, said Paul McCormick, board member and council clerk.

“It’s a really good idea for the town of Dennis,” McCormick said. “It was time.”

New sewage superintendent

Section 22, if passed, would create a permanent, full-time sewage superintendent to work with, oversee and advise the team working on the Dennis sewage project.

Diane Chamberlain, president and board of health representative on the city’s sewage implementation committee, applauded the select board for giving the article the go-ahead.

“The city is investing a lot of money to implement its wastewater treatment program,” Chamberlain said. “The sewage superintendent will be overseeing the consultants and engineers working on the project, and I think that’s a very positive step. I hope the townspeople will support him.”

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The new position will take much of the workload on the project off other city employees, she added, and having someone qualified for the job will be an asset to the project.

At the May town hall, voters gave the green light for the city to begin designing the first phase of a municipal sewer system and treatment plant at 120 Theophilus F. Smith Road, with a prize of $7.7 million.

Dennis is one of many towns in Cape Town embarking on sewage infrastructure improvement projects, especially as new Department of Environmental Protection regulations for septic systems are due to come in effective in a few months.

“We’re in the wastewater business now, it’s something we need to do, and it (the superintendent) will help us,” McCormick said. “The fact that we have someone working in the best interest of the city when it comes to sewage is the way to go.”

Community Preservation Committee Funds Park Improvements and Housing Initiatives

The community preservation committee seeks approval at the town hall to fund several projects.

“We are doing a lot of great work with the CPC this year,” said Chris Lambton, Chairman of the Board and Committee Liaison. “I’m proud of what we’ve done.”

Items 26-29 are all Community Preservation Committee grants focusing on upgrade and beautification projects through Dennis:

  • Section 26 is requesting $14,000 from community preservation green space and recreation reserves to purchase and install conservation area gazebos, signs and fencing.
  • Section 27 requests $104,800 and $200,000 from the Community Preservation Open Space and Recreation Reserves and Community Preservation Undesignated Fund balance, respectively, for the restoration of Johnny Kelley Park in South Dennis.
  • Section 28 asks voters to approve a transfer of $308,800 from the balance of the Undesignated Community Preservation Fund for updating the playgrounds at Johnny Kelley Park and the historic West Dennis Graded School .
  • Section 29 requests a transfer of $149,106 from the Historic Preservation Reserves of Community Preservation to be paid as a grant to the Jericho Historic Center Committee for exterior renovations to the Jericho Historic Center Barn.

“We are doing a lot of great work with the CPC this year, but one of my favorites is Johnny Kelley Park. It’s Dennis’ central park and we’re really investing in it,” Lambton said.

The committee wants to make the park compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, from playgrounds to walkways, he said, and improve the overall look of the park.

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“When you arrive you’ll know you’re in a really great place,” Lambton said. “So many people use it, there’s stuff going on there all year round. I’m glad we’re doing this.”

Items 30-32 are also requests for Community Preservation Committee funds, grants for housing and rental assistance initiatives:

  • Section 30 is requesting $341,250 from the Community Preservation Community Housing Reserves as a grant to Habitat for Humanity for the Setucket Road Community Housing Project.
  • Section 31 requests $235,000 and $450,000 from the Community Preservation Community Housing Reserves and the balance of the Undesignated Community Preservation Fund as a grant to FORWARD (friends or relatives with related disabilities autism) for phase II of the FORWARD at the Rock project.
  • Section 32 requests $388,000 of the Community Preservation Community Undesignated Fund balance as a grant to the Dennis Housing Authority for Dennis’ rental assistance program.

The Setucket Road Housing Project is an initiative of Habitat for Humanity with the goal of building four affordable homes on the 2.79 acre site at 401 Setucket Road currently owned by Friends of Senior Citizens of Dennis.

If Section 30 is approved, the Community Preservation Committee grant will cover the purchase of the land.

Lambton said the committee supported Phase I of FORWARD on the Rock, which built eight affordable housing units for people with autism and their loved ones near Hokum Rock Road.

He said he looked forward to continuing to support the project as it moves into Phase II, which will build eight more affordable units on the site.

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“It’s beautifully done,” Lambton said of the site. “The city gave them (FORWARD) the land on a 99-year lease, CPC provided significant Phase I funding, the Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust has already contributed funds, and now CPC will help even more. really is a great thing.

Lambton also said he was excited about Section 32, which if passed will fund housing assistance through the Dennis Housing Authority for 27 families over 3 years.

“Right now housing in Cape Town is tough, making ends meet is tough, and this is a way for Dennis residents, through CPC, to help other Dennis residents stay in their homes. “, did he declare. “I hope it’s not just a unanimous vote, but brilliantly unanimous in the town hall.

New ambulance, fire truck renovation

Items 14 and 16 would be for the Dennis Fire Department, with Item 16 asking the town assembly to approve the transfer or collection of $600,000 for a new ambulance.

Fire Chief Robert Brown said current estimates put the wait time for a new ambulance at two years due to supply chain issues.

There are currently two ambulances in the department which, although not in immediate danger of breaking down, arrive when they need to be replaced, he said.

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“We’re trying to be proactive knowing we won’t be able to get one for a while, we wanted to get an order in progress so we didn’t have any disruptions to our service,” Brown said.

He said the department plans to put an item in the Spring Town Meeting Terms of Reference for funds for the second ambulance.

With the unanimous backing of the board and finance committee, Brown is optimistic he will pass Oct. 25.

“The townspeople have always been very supportive of us and they know the importance of the vehicle. It’s a life-saving machine,” he said.

Item 14 requests a transfer of $23,375 for increased costs to refurbish one of the department’s fire trucks.

At the last town meeting, the department got approval for about $140,000 to refurbish one of their fire trucks that had started to show signs of aging, Brown said, but due to ‘record inflation since then, the cost rose slightly.

The refurbishment will extend the life of the truck by 15 to 20 years, he added, while a new fire truck would cost around $800,000.

“It’s well worth the money, it’s a good investment,” he said.

If you are going to

What: Town of Dennis Special Meeting

Where: Nathaniel Wixon School of Innovation, 901 Route 134, South Dennis

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, October 25

For more information, visit

Contact Sarah Carlon at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @sarcarlon.

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