In working toward its mission and consistent with the Town’s Local Comprehensive Plan, the BFDC has undertaken a redevelopment program for Bourne’s Downtown, the Village of Buzzards Bay. The project’s goal is to make Bourne’s Downtown attractive to investors by overcoming the several factors that compel them to take their projects elsewhere.
Operating as a collaboration of Town leaders and civic organizations, the BFDC’s Main Street Steering Committee (MSSC) used grants from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2007 and 2008 to contract with several consulting groups to provide information for creating a comprehensive redevelopment plan. With the series of actions described below, Bourne’s Downtown is now “open for business” with a new hotel breaking ground, new over 55 residences in the permitting phase and a continuing care community in operation. Town residents have voted almost two million dollars of Community Preservation Act funds to support an upgrade and restoration of the Buzzards Bay Park on Main Street (see http://bfdconline.org/bourne-development/town-meeting-votes-funds-to-complete-park/)
Those impediments and the actions to remove them included:
- A dual regulatory process — a permitting process that required applications to both the Cape Cod Commission and the various Town boards. In 2012, the Cape Cod Commission accepted the Town’s application for a Growth Incentive Zone, essentially pre-permitting development projects within Bourne’s Downtown.
- Unknowns — appropriate site density, architectural and sign standards. In 2008 Bourne Town Meeting voted (with ayes significantly exceeding the required 2/3 vote) a Downtown District Zoning Bylaw that allows greater density, mixed use buildings, greater height, and other Smart Growth concepts. The Zoning Bylaw can be accessed through the link at the bottom of this page. The drawing below shows the Downtown District.
The Town also adopted architectural standards and guidelines so that potential developers can create their preliminary designs knowing what the Planning Board favors. A link to that document is also below.
- Flood zone restrictions/added expense — portions of Bourne’s Main Street are in a flood zone. A document was prepared for potential developers that describes how buildings can be constructed or renovated within the flood zone. (See links below.) With the new zoning bylaws encouraging buildings of greater height, the flood zone building requirements become a much less significant element in overall development project costs.
- Traffic and transportation challenges. In 2007 the Board of Selectmen endorsed a study that recommended changes in traffic patterns in Bourne’s Downtown. The state is currently following up on those recommendations with a plan to alter the access ramps and entrances to the Bourne Bridge to ease congestion and eliminate back-ups in Buzzards Bay. In a parallel action, the Town’s Transportation Advisory Committee recommended to the Board of Selectmen that it endorse a Town Meeting vote and ballot question inviting the commuter train to extend service to Buzzards Bay. The Town voted in favor of joining the MBTA and is working with state officials and the Cape Cod Commission’s technical assistance team to convince the state to bring commuter rail to Buzzards Bay.
- Limited wastewater treatment capacity. The Town’s Wastewater Advisory Committee, working with recommendations in a 2012 comprehensive wastewater management study, conducted hydrogeologic studies on a town-owned parcel. The site has been decreed by the engineers as perfect for sub-surface disposal. The Committee recommended a plan to the Board of Sewer Commissioners that would build a package treatment plant by the end of 2019 that would increase the Downtown wastewater treatment capacity by 100,000 gallons per day, an increase of 50 percent. The October 2017 Town Meeting voted a $6.5 million appropriation to build the plant. Earlier that month, the state awarded a $1.5 million grant for the project which will reduce its cost to $5 million. The Town is also working in collaboration with surrounding towns to dramatically increase wastewater treatment capacity through ocean outfall. This planning is supported by the Cape Cod Commission and the Coalition for Buzzards Bay.
- A “blight and slum” appearance. The Board of Selectmen and the Main Street Steering Committee developed a plan to restore and upgrade the Buzzards Bay Park, the first area a visitor sees when entering Bourne’s Downtown from the west. Much of the project is complete; the final installations will take place in spring 2018. See Park Restoration and Upgrade Continues