With views of the Cape Cod Canal and access to major highways without going over the bridges, Bourne’s Downtown is being developed as a mixed-use economic and growth center.
Previously, potential investors viewed Bourne’s Downtown as a difficult place to bring in new business. There had been a two-level permitting process that added time and expense, and there were no consistent guidelines for architectural style and site development.
Now, several development tools, enthusiastically endorsed by Town Meeting votes, are transforming Bourne’s Downtown to a business-friendly location:
- A Growth Incentive Zone changes the permitting process to one level: the Town. The goal is to complete permits within 120 days.
- A Downtown District Zoning By-law identifies an economic and growth center where mixed-use buildings are encouraged, buildings up to four stories are the norm, greater Floor to Area Ratios mean a greater return on investment and shared parking and other Smart Growth principles guide development.
- Architectural and sign guidelines and standards are available for any developer. They can be used at the beginning of preparing plans to assure that what is presented for permitting fits with what the Town wants. A Design Review Committee reviews projects within the Downtown District and makes recommendations to the Planning Board. With no required posting period, plans can be reviewed and amended as necessary without waiting for public notices to appear.
In addition, in the May 2015 Town election, voters chose to have the Town join the MBTA in January 2016. That will mean that commuter rail will bring people to Bourne and connect them to Boston in the near future. The potential for Transit Oriented Development is high with people able to live, work, and play within walking distance.
As soon as the Growth Incentive Zone was established, developers began studying where they might invest. One project that successfully passed the Town permitting process without going to the Cape Cod Commission was a new senior living community: Keystone Place. It opened in spring 2015 and is pictured below.
More recently, the ground has been broken for a 100+ room hotel with a restaurant and conference center on the Cape Cod Canal. A 55+ living community is in the middle of the Town permitting process. The Town is preparing to break ground for a new wastewater treatment plant that will expand treatment capacity to allow additional projects.