Yes to diverse waterfronts and commuter convenience, no to sprawl: CLF in Massachusetts is ...

Author:Pollack, Stephanie
Position::From The States

Battling Sprawl

Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod are growing fast, and CLF is trying to ensure that the growth is prudent. That's why we're opposing construction of CanalSide Commons, a large retail/residential/hotel complex in Bourne that would generate twice as much traffic as the already stressed Bourne Rotary can accommodate. Not only that, the developer could try to eventually expand the project -- without regard to regional standards.

The developer is Bourne's Len Cubellis, who early in the application process lined up an army of supporters. After considerable pressure from CLF, as well as from local groups like the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod, he reduced the project's size. It went from the largest development ever proposed for the Cape to one with 20,000 sf of retail space, 137 housing units, and a 300 room hotel with conference centers, but it still fails to meet Cape Cod Commission (CCC) standards.

Early hearings strongly favored Cubellis's original plans. Then CLF began combining its traditional regulatory advocacy, with the running of opposition ads in Cape Cod papers. They were produced, pro bono, by our marketing whiz -- Paul Stone. By last May's hearing, the crowd was 80 percent opposed to the project.

On September 10, the CCC gave Cubellis until mid-November to present a plan that complies with mandatory standards of its Regional Policy Plan. His current plan would create traffic problems, and there is concern that he'll try to leave a portion of the site undeveloped, in order to evade the standards by building all sorts of small retail developments. If Cubellis's plan isn't amended, the CCC will be legally required to deny his project. If that happens, he could carry through on his threats to try and convince the town of Bourne to secede from the CCC. He could even attempt to blackmail the town, by offering an even less appealing alternative than the current plan, in the form of massive residential development, with just enough affordable housing to force approval of the project under the state's anti-snob zoning law -- Chapter 40B. Whatever the challenge, CLF will meet it, ensuring that Bourne and the Cape grow in a way that respects the smart-growth imperatives of the CCC's regional plan.

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