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A Home for Everyone

Cotuit Meadows

Inside one of the Cotuit Meadows residences, where natural light and well-appointed finishes abound.

The attention to the smallest details is one of the elements at the heart of the success of this project. Each home, while not being exactly the same style as their neighbors, benefits from a traditional New England vernacular. Interiors boast details like shiplap and board and batten paneling in the conventional market homes, and for the affordable homes Bayside worked closely with each homeowner, referred through the Housing Assistance Corporation, to individually choose the finishes of their home. The high quality of construction Bayside has built a reputation upon is evident at every turn. That expertise is not just found in the surface details, as each home has been built to exceed current energy standards. Those amenities include spray-in insulation, on-demand hot water systems and LED lighting—all building practices usually reserved for high-end residential construction. Perhaps most importantly to both the homeowners and the surrounding community is the on-site, zero-nitrate sewerage treatment plant that is gravity fed from each residence. As a result of this thoughtful inclusion in the plan, Cotuit Meadows has a net zero impact on the Cape’s groundwater and natural resources and is the preeminent example of what developers can create when they work hand in hand with local authorities and citizens alike.

Given the current housing challenges on the Cape, the question of how to provide affordable solutions is one that begs resolution sooner rather than later. Brian Dacey, founder and owner of Bayside, doesn’t consider himself to have been a visionary as he embarked on this project in 2008—at the height of the recession—but he does acknowledge the need for more thoughtful planning, especially in a precious and fragile environment like the Cape. “I would like to see more developers create more solution-based projects that serve a variety of needs—human, environmental and social,” Dacey says. “But it requires everyone to have a stake in the process. The towns and the state not only don’t make it easy, but sometimes they make it very difficult.” According to Dacey, if he hadn’t been in a position to finance the project himself, the amount of time it took to take these units to market would have proven to be impossible for most developers.

“When people hear the term 40B, they assume the developer is taking a success to the bank. In fact single lots with the price of land versus a high-density project will always be more profitable, but for me it was worth it because affordable living on Cape Cod is a need that has to be filled.” All in all, the vision that spawned the community now known as Cotuit Meadows was not only award winning, but also some might consider it revolutionary. Novelist J.G. Ballard wrote, “A small revolution was taking place, so modest and well-behaved, almost no one noticed.” If that were the way the building future on Cape Cod progressed—implementing revolutionary ideas to provide for all, and protect the vulnerable landscape, without anyone noticing—wouldn’t that be a wonderful place to call home?

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