About the Initiative
IN 5 SHORT YEARS, CAPE COD HAS LOST 3,000 YEAR-ROUND HOUSING UNITS.
OUR COMMUNITY IS CHANGING FAST. WE NEED TO TAKE
ACTION NOW TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT CAPE COD.
We can create more year-round housing now.
The best way to do that is with a better ADU bylaw.
Cape Cod does not have enough year-round rental housing. Modifying towns' Accessory Dwelling Unit by-laws will increase the supply of available units without developing more land or destroying the character of our community. Those who grew up on Cape Cod will be more likely to stay on the Cape if there are more convenient, affordable homes for them to rent.
The current year-round rental market on Cape Cod is too small, driving up rental prices. The types of rentals tend to be too big (3 + BR houses) and expensive for single people while affordable housing excludes those
in the middle class, like those who grew up here who are also facing burgeoning student loan debts and rising child care costs and ultimately, just trying to save to afford a down payment for a home of their own.
Cape Cod lost 3,000 year-round housing units and gained 5,000 seasonal units in the past six years. As the supply shrinks, the price goes up and up out of reach of workers. Additionally, the Cape has a drastic shortage of 1-2 bedroom units – which is the type of housing unmarried young professionals, fishermen, and other members of the workforce – the backbone of our economy - want and need in order to afford to live here.
Employers are struggling to find workers. Workers are spending less money in our local economy because all of it is going to housing. Losing our workforce and their families translates to higher prices for goods, decreased access to essential services, and increased traffic from a commuting workforce. Our year-round economy is threatened by the housing shortage. We need to preserve and protect Cape Cod by providing better housing options for our locals.
A model bylaw proposed by the Cape Cod Commission would make it easier for homeowners to build and rent out accessory units on their property, for example a carriage house, an in-law apartment or an above-garage apartment. While creating protections for neighbors, the environment, and community character, it would make it easier for homeowners to create and rent out year-round rentals.
Accessory units are great option because they create affordability in two categories – increasing attainable rental options and creating an income stream to make a home more affordable for owners. Allowing existing homeowners to create more rental opportunities without adding more bedrooms or bathrooms than allowed by wastewater and/or zoning regulations strikes a great balance of more units, while keeping the charm and character of Cape Cod intact. And because lot coverage, setback, and other zoning remains in place ADUs don't change the character of our neighborhoods.
The crux of an accessory dwelling bylaw lies in the fact all existing land use and wastewater regulations will have to be met; it’s nitrogen neutral as no more bedrooms are added than existing zoning allows. Essentially, it allows homeowners to better utilize their homes to meet the market in an effort to preserve Cape Cod.
Who Benefits from a better ADU bylaw?
IN SHORT, EVERYONE!