North Eastham’s commercial district, if all goes according to plan, will be transformed into a walkable village center within the next few years. Provincetown, too, hopes for similar changes to create a walkable and bike-friendly Shank Painter Road.
The nuts and bolts of zoning bylaws are what will make these long-discussed visions real.
The town of Eastham has hired Brovitz Community Planning and Dodson & Flinker Landscape Architecture & Planning to create the zoning bylaw amendments needed for the village center plan. The most pressing are so-called form-based code updates — zoning regulations that prioritize built form and appearance rather than specific use categories like residential or commercial. The firms are also tasked with creating architectural design standards for the North Eastham Corridor Special District to streamline the regulatory process.
Eastham Town Planner Paul Lagg told the select board on Aug. 21 that the goal was to present updates on both initiatives at the 2024 annual town meeting.
The consultants’ strategy includes pursuing three opportunities for state support by establishing a so-called 40R smart growth district, which would encourage dense and mixed-use residential development where at least 20 percent of the mix must be affordable; district improvement financing, which can harness tax revenue for economic development; and a Route 6 corridor plan.
The last of these three would look at how to connect three key parcels: the town-owned T-Time property, the Town Center Plaza, and the Council on Aging site on Nauset Road.
A redeveloped North Eastham has been discussed here since at least 2007, when the first North Eastham Village Center plan was created. Ted Brovitz worked on that initial plan, Lagg told the select board.
Lagg said that this zoning work is a crucial foundation for the ongoing planning and design process. As Lagg told the Independent in June, it should make the project more attractive to developers when the next rounds of RFPs go out.
The goal of these zoning amendments, Lagg said, is “to create a village center that’s appropriate for Eastham.”
Select board chair Art Autorino raised a question about whether the architectural standards would be too prescriptive, but Lagg said the guidelines would not be overly demanding. Basic standards, he said, “get us to an aesthetic without dictating personal preferences.”
On Shank Painter Road
Provincetown already has the dense, walkable town center that Eastham is now adapting its zoning bylaw for. But ask anyone in town and they’ll say that Shank Painter Road is an exception. A new subcommittee is preparing for a zoning effort that could unlock state and federal funds for its makeover.
The goal, according to the community planning process outline, is to turn the corridor into a walkable and bikable mixed-use area with both affordable housing and commercial uses — “a gateway neighborhood with its own unique sense of place.”
The MassDOT corridor improvement project on Shank Painter Road from Route 6 to Bradford Street is slated to receive $5 million in 2024-2025 Transportation Improvement Project funding to transform the 60-foot-wide right-of-way using a “complete streets” design, with sidewalks, bike lanes, pavement markings, and rebuilt drainage pathways.
The plan also encompasses a roundabout at the Route 6 intersection and a shared-use path along Route 6 from Shank Painter to the Seashore, where it will link up with the Herring Cove bike trail.
A partial design went to a public hearing on June 13 of this year; the Cape Cod Commission first issued a corridor study in 2012.
The Shank Painter Corridor Planning Subcommittee, which began meeting biweekly on July 26, will respond to the “gift” of this infrastructure investment, as planning board chair Dana Masterpolo told the Independent in April.
They’re in the early stages of developing the scope of work for a community planning consultant, for whom town meeting voters approved $50,000 back in April.
The ad hoc subcommittee is overseen by Town Planner Thaddeus Soulé and is composed of Masterpolo, planning board alternate Stephen Roope, representatives from the conservation and historic district commissions, zoning board member Daniel Wagner, Shank Painter business owners Chuck Silva (who owns the laundromat) and Liz Athenius (the Bike Shack), former Town Planner Gloria McPherson, and at-large appointees and residents with urban design and policy backgrounds.
Three meetings in, the subcommittee, like the consultants in Eastham, are focusing on form-based code possibilities — zoning that focuses on appearance rather residential and commercial categories of development — according to Soulé.