Imagine having an interactive map that could show city officials, planners and developers where the best locations for housing construction are on Cape Town. That’s what the Cape Cod Preservation Associationand the Housing Help Society. set up after a two-year project.
Grow Smart Cape Cod’s interactive map highlights priority natural resource areas and priority areas for year-round moderate-density housing in each of Cape Town’s 15 cities. The focus is not only on affordable housingbut housing that residents can afford, according to HAC chief executive Alisa Magnotta.
At its core, the project emphasizes environmental protection and seeks to effectively use a dollar of wastewater infrastructure investment to address an environmental issue as well as a public policy issue, said APCC Executive Director Andrew Gottlieb.
“The traditional struggle between the environmental community and the housing community hasn’t gotten either side what it wanted,” he said. “We have poor quality water and they are not affordable.”
Magnotta said the mapping project began by identifying critical environmental areas considered off limits.
“We took everything off the map that needs to be protected for drinking water and natural resources,” she said. “Then we looked at what was needed to be good stewards of the land, and then where we could build housing that is also beneficial.”
The interactive map includes layers of information that can be turned on and off. These layers show year-round housing priority areas, natural resource protection priority areas, wellhead protection areas, vernal pools, endangered species habitats, floodplains and more. according to David Quinn, Director of Housing Development and Planning for HAC.
Using the Cape Cod Commission’s model for determining top conservation priorities, the map identifies areas of potable water supply, degraded wetlands and watersheds that feed bays and ponds.
Some of the information was aggregated from state databases. The map allows viewers to zoom in and out, and it provides satellite imagery.
“There is a limited amount of natural resources on the Cape,” said APCC Deputy Director Don Keeran. “We need to make sure people understand they need protection.”
$80M luxury condos:on Hyannis Harbor could be an asset, but with some worries
Gottlied said the map will be useful in highlighting areas where development and redevelopment should be encouraged for housing while also targeting areas for investment in municipal wastewater treatment infrastructure.
“Essentially, it’s an agnostic map that uses data to prioritize land at its highest and best use value,” Magnotta said.
Grow Smart Cape Cod Recommendations
The Grow Smart Cape Cod project generated six recommendations for cities to consider:
• Prioritize expenditures and available funding sources to leverage resources that will benefit housing, wastewater infrastructure development, and natural resource protection.
• Direct investments and local planning initiatives to lands identified in priority natural resource areas and priority settlement areas by focusing efforts on acquisitions, regulatory requirements and other land use policy decisions. land for this dual purpose.
• Target housing production in identified settlement areas and natural resource protection efforts in identified natural resource areas.
• Rezone land in identified priority natural resource areas to reduce development potential and sprawl.
• Rezoning identified priority areas for housing to simplify and streamline the development of multi-family housing opportunities that are affordable and accessible to the people of Cape Town all year round.
• Invest in wastewater infrastructure that improves the affordability of housing construction and significantly benefits water quality protection.
Cape Housing Institute forums describing how the maps were created and how to use them are scheduled for May 31 at 4 p.m. and June 21 at 10 a.m. Registration is available at www.haconcapecod.org.
Learn more about Grow Smart Cape Cod at GrowSmartCapeCod.org.