Cape tries new approach to filling in the blanks
Communities to steer growth to downtowns, while preserving land elsewhere
HYANNIS -- After years of worrying and wrangling, officials on Cape Cod are trying a new approach to controlling development that threatens this ecologically sensitive strip of sand: permitting more of it.
But not just any new housing or commercial strip. Rather, individual communities on the Cape would be free to promote new, high-density construction only if it is directed to their downtowns, and so long as it is accompanied by a similar amount of land preservation elsewhere.
"We need to direct growth to desirable locations and at the same time reduce the potential for growth in the areas that need to be protected," said Don Keeran, assistant director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, a civic group.
These development districts, or "growth incentive zones" as they are called, will not come under the direct oversight of the Cape Cod Commission, the government body created by the state Legislature in 1990 to regulate building construction on the Cape. The commission typically requires a lengthy and costly review that developers have criticized as stifling growth...
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