Creating a business friendly environment
The BFDC and the Town of Bourne have been working to create a business friendly environment in the Village of Buzzards Bay, Bourne’s Downtown.Designated an economic growth center by the county’s planning agency and targeted in the Town’s Local Comprehensive Plan as the location for growth, Bourne’s Downtown has been the undergoing many changes to encourage investment.
With these changes, investors and developers will find good opportunities through both new development and redevelopment. As noted by a local commercial realtor: “Buzzards Bay is open for business.”
In the space of six weeks, the Town of Bourne saw three major revitalization initiatives come to fruition: the Cape Cod Commission’s designation of the business district of Buzzards Bay Village, Bourne’s Downtown, as a Growth Incentive Zone, thus easing the permitting process; Town Meeting’s nearly unanimous affirmation of four articles establishing architectural and sign guidelines and standards; and the start of the final phase of Main Street streetscape improvements.
Each of these initiatives is part of a revitalization plan designed to make Bourne’s Downtown a more desirable place for investment and development. In addition to the recent activities, Downtown District Zoning By-laws passed in 2008 allow for greater height and greater density, and create opportunities for better return on investments. They also encourage mixed use, buildings with retail and businesses on lower floors and residential units on upper floors where they command views of the Cape Cod Canal. Downtown District Zoning Bylaw
Cape Cod Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the Town’s application to designate Downtown Bourne, as a Growth Incentive Zone. In a GIZ, a specified amount of development can proceed without Cape Cod Commission review, effectively removing one level of permitting for potential investors and developers. The Commissioners forwarded the document to the County Assembly of Delegates which accepted the ruling unanimously, thus codifying the special designation that fosters mixed-use growth and redevelopment in economic centers. Specified projects in the GIZ will need only the Town’s maximum 120-day permitting process, saving developers time and expense.
Town Meeting voters have also approved By-laws that establish architectural and sign guidelines and standards, and create a Design Review Committee. The guidelines and standards apply to projects in the Downtown Zoning District, the same area as the GIZ. All new downtown architectural projects will be reviewed by the Design Review Committee and its recommendation will be forwarded to the appropriate governing board. New or replacement signs in the Downtown District will be reviewed by the Committee and a recommendation sent to the Building Inspector. This process, during the pre-permitting phase, makes it easier for potential developers to know what the Town’s vision is, thus saving time and expense by reducing the need to adjust architectural plans mid-stream.Architectural Guidelines and Standards
The third phase of Main Street streetscape included new sidewalks, landscaping, and other amenities beginning at Belmont Circle and extending to the end of the second phase of streetscape work completed in 2003. The project is funded by a supplemental appropriation in the state budget promoted by State Senate President Therese Murray. Through a competitive bid process, I. W, Harding Construction Company Inc. was selected for the project.
These revitalization projects began in 2007 when a state grant, championed by then Sen. President Murray and other members of the Town’s legislative delegation, to the Bourne Financial Development Corporation was used to contract with Stantec Planning and Landscape Architects PC to create a vision for a new downtown district in Bourne’s Buzzards Bay Village. (Links to the Vision Plan are below.)
Additional grants supported other studies including one that identified ways to build in the flood zone that covers about a third of the downtown district, and another that created an Action Plan to turn the vision into reality. That Action Plan was presented by the BFDC to the Bourne Board of Selectmen which accepted it during a May 2009 meeting. The Downtown Zoning District and By-laws supporting smart-growth initiatives were approved enthusiastically by an October 2008 Town Meeting vote.
Components of A Vision Plan for Bourne’s Downtown prepared by Stantec Planning and Landscape Architecture
Sec 0.1 Table of Contents
Bourne Downtown Site Planning – part 2
Components of Flood Hazard Mitigation and Design for the Main Street Business District