The Downtown Hyannis Rezoning effort is a major step towards implementing the goals of Barnstable’s Local Comprehensive Plan, Housing Production Plan and Growth Incentive Zone Strategic Plan. The zoning for downtown Hyannis is proposed to be revised, with a particular focus on residential and mixed-use development that responds to local context through size, form, placement, and design considerations.
The proposed amendment will be accompanied by an item that will repeal the current Hyannis Village Zoning Districts. The provisions in the ordinance pertaining to Adult-Use Marijuana will remain unchanged, but will be transferred to a Zoning Overlay District.
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A draft of the ordinance is currently available for public review and comment.
The current zoning allows for multi-family residential development; however, very few residential units have been permitted by-right. The proposed zoning revisions strive to allow for efficient models of compact housing by-right through a code crafted to correspond with the historic development patterns of downtown Hyannis.
Downtown Hyannis Study Area
The proposed “study area” is downtown Hyannis, with the same boundary as the Growth Incentive Zone (GIZ) and the existing “Hyannis Village Zoning Districts”. This area is currently served by public sewer and water. Hyannis serves as the regional commercial and transportation hub of the Cape. Achieving a greater density of jobs and housing within the GIZ is the foundation of the community’s vision of a vibrant, livable, mixed-use, walkable regional center. Dense, compact housing options paired within buildings that respond Hyannis’ unique character can support a mix of housing choices for all ages and incomes while encouraging healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.
While the GIZ provides some opportunity for streamlined permitting and as-of-right multi-family development, the regulatory structure has not been effective in broadly attracting residential development to the area. In the first 10 years of the initial GIZ designation, only 110 new residential units were built. The residential densities allowed by zoning do not respond to the high costs of land and construction. Requiring a developer to permit projects through a lengthy and unpredictable process only further increases project costs. This dis-incentivizes investment and raises the costs of housing in projects that do move forward.
Additionally, the current conventional methods of zoning do not adequately address most physical characteristics that contribute to the sense of place or sufficiently address the aesthetic character of our community.
Proposed Zoning Revisions
The focus of this effort is to create a predictable regulatory framework that encourages compact residential development, compatible with traditional development patterns, meeting a range of housing needs. The proposed zoning revisions are based on input received during the Community Resiliency by Design community engagement process, which produced a report on Village of Hyannis design preferences. This report included community input on preferred types and styles of building massing, scale, character, and composition.