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BiEDtt OETfi mat t 

A Guide 
to the 
Development of 
Regional Impact 
Review Process 

Prepared by the 

Cape Cod Commission 

January 1996 



The Cape Cod Commission is a regional land use planning and 
regulatory agency created by an Act of the Massachusetts 
General Court in 1990. The Commission reviews projects 
which present regional issues identified in the Act, including 
water quality, traffic flow, historic values, affordable housing, 
open space, natural resources and economic development. 

This guide answers questions frequently asked about the 
Development of Regional Impact review process. Members of 
the staff are available to provide assistance with questions you 
might have. 

1, What is a Development of Regional 

There are certain development projects that, due to their size, 
location or character, affect more than one community. For 
example, a proposed commercial development may impact 
water quality in two towns. The Cape Cod Commission Act 
calls such a project a Development of Regional Impact (DRI). 

2, Who needs to go through the DRI 
review process? 

A project may be referred to the Commission for DRI review in 
one of three ways: 

a) Mandatory Referral. 

DRI review is required by law if a project exceeds a specific 
threshold. Examples of projects which need to go through 
mandatory DRI review by the Cape Cod Commission are those 

• subdivisions of thirty acres or more 

• development of thirty or more residential lots or 
dwelling units 

• development of ten or more business, office or 
industrial lots 

• commercial development or change of use for buildings 
greater than 10,000 square feet 

• transportation facilities for passage to or from Barnstable 

• demolition or major changes to some national or state- 
recognized historic structures 

• bridge, ramp or road construction providing access to 
several types of waterbodies and wetlands 

Cape Cod Commission 


new construction or change of use involving outdoor 
commercial space of greater than 40,000 square feet 

b) Discretionary Referral. 

DRI review may also be required for projects which do not 
meet a threshold but which are forwarded to the Commission 
from the town in which they are located. The Commission 
must first vote to accept this type of referral as a development 
which has regional impacts. 

c) Review under MEPA. 

Projects requiring review under the Massachusetts Environ- 
mental Policy Act (MEPA) may also require DRI review. An 
applicant may request a joint review process with the state and 
the Cominission. 

For an informal opinion regarding whether a project qualifies 
as a DRI, an applicant may contact a Commission staff member 
listed at the end of this brochure. In addition, the applicant or 
town may request a Jurisdictional Determination from the 
Commission. This is a 21-day process in which the Commis- 
sion will determine whether or not a project qualifies as a DRI. 

3. Wltat projects are not subject to full 
DRI review? 

Projects that are determined to be DRIs may, under certain 
circumstances, receive an exemption from full DRI review. In 
order to qualify, an applicant must prove a hardship or 
demonstrate that a project does not have regional impacts. 

Projects that obtained certain local permits as specified in the 
Cape Cod Commission Act prior to July 1, 1989 are exempt 
from DRI review. 

3225 Main Street, Barnstable, MA 02630 


4. How is a project referred? 

The formal review process starts by applying for town permits 
to initiate the local permitting process. If a project triggers one 
of the above thresholds, the local permitting authority will 
refer the project to the Commission for DRI review. 

5. Wltere does an applicant start? 

A pre-application conference with Commission staff is 
encouraged while a project is in the early planning stages in 
order for Commission staff to assist with site planning, design 
issues and the application process. 

The applicant should initiate the town permitting process to 
begin the review. If the Commission receives a referral on the 
project, the local permitting time clock is suspended until the 
DRI review is completed. 

The next step is for the applicant to submit a DRI application. 
The application includes questions about property ownership, 
project location and description. Project plans are also 
required to be filed. The Commission staff is available to help 
complete the DRI application form. 

6. How long does the review take? 

A complete application is key to a timely review. Our average 
review time to date has been about five months, although it 

Cape Cod Commission 

can be shorter. State law requires completion of the review 
process within seven months, unless there is mutual consent to 
extend this period of time. The Commission seeks to make a 
decision as expeditiously as possible. 




r ^ 

60 Days 

\ y 

90 Days 

\ ) 

60 Days 

7. W/io conducts a DRI review? 

The Commission is made up of nineteen appointed members. 
Review of a project will be assigned to a subcommittee of five 
Commission members (one of whom may be the local repre- 
sentative) who will hold at least one public hearing on the 
project in the town in which the project is located. Commis- 
sion staff will prepare a report on the project for this subcom- 
mittee. Once their review is complete, the subcommittee will 
make a rq^ort to the nineteen-member Commission, who will 
hold a final public hearing and vote on the project. 

8, Wltat does the Commission look for 
when reviewing a project? 

To be approved, a project must: 

• show that the benefits to Cape Cod outweigh the 

• be consistent with the Cape Cod Commission Act, the 
town's comprehensive plan, and the Barnstable County 
Regional Policy Plan 

• be consistent with local development bylaws 

• be consistent with any designated Districts of Critical 
Planning Concern, areas which have been designated for 
special protection of important resources. 

The DRI review process also incorporates local concerns 
whenever possible. 

In order to be approved, a project may be required to meet 
certain conditions, such as contributing a fair share to traffic 
improvements or providing affordable housing in new 
residential developments. 

3225 Main Street, Barnstable, MA 02630 


9. WItat happens after DRI review is 

After receiving approval from the Cape Cod Commission, the 
applicant will need to complete the town review and permit- 
ting process in order to obtain the necessary local approvals to 
proceed with the project. The time clock of the local board, 
which was suspended during DRI review, will resume after 
the Commission makes its decision. 

10. How can an applicant keep costs down? 

The Commission will coordinate local review and Commission 
review through a joint scoping process, saving time and 
money. Contact Commission staff for further information. 

Commission staff members and resources are available to 
provide assistance and to minimize any duplication of effort. 
Timely submission of requested information will ensure that 
the process will proceed smoothly. 

Site plan submission requirements are similar to those that are 
required by town boards. 

Fees vary according to the type of proposed project and are 
listed in the DRI application. Under some circumstances, a full 
or partial waiver of the filing fee may be granted. 

The following list of available resources and staff is included in 
this brochure to assist with the DRI review process. For 
further information please call a staff member listed below at 
(508) 362-3828. 

Staff List 

• Overall Policy Questions, Community Liaison • 

Executive Director: Armando J. Carbonell 
Deputy Director: Margo Fenn 

• DRI Facilitator • 

Chief Regulatory Officer: Dorr Fox 

• Regulatory Review • 

Staff Counsel: Patty Daley 
Planners: Andrea Adams, Greg Guimond, Sarah Korjeff, 
Sharon Rooney, Kathy Sferra, Tana Watt, Gay Wells 
Commission Clerk: Kathie Peters 

Cape Cod Commission 


• Informal Jurisdictional Determination • 

Chief Regulatory Officer: Dorr Fox 
Staff Counsel: Patty Daley 

• Planning Assistance • 

Wetlands, natural resources, open space: Kathy Sferra 
Land use, zoning: Dorr Fox, Greg Guimond 
Site planning: Greg Guimond, Sharon Rooney 

Historic preservation: Sarah Korjeff 
Landscape design: Sharon Rooney, Tana Watt 

• Geographic Information System • 

Systems Manager: Gary Prahm 
Technical: Ben Smith 

• Publications • 

Communications Coordinator: Dan Hamilton 

• Economic Development • 

Economic Development Officer: Jim O'Connell 
Research Analyst: Marilyn Fifield 

• Affordable Housing • 

Affordable Housing Specialist: Ed AUard 

• Transportation • 

Program Manager: Bob Mumford 
Technical: Lev Malakhoff, Paul Tilton, 
Priscilla Leclerc, Sue Pommrehn 

• Solid Waste • 

Coordinator: Dave Hall 

• Hazardous Waste • 

Planner: Andrea Adams 

• Water Resources • 

Program Manager: Tom Cambareri 
Technical: Ed Eichner, Gabrielle Belfit, 
Donna McCaffery, Ken Livingston 

• Coastal Issues • 

Marine Resources Specialist: Pat Hughes 
CZM Coordinator: Truman Henson 

• Support Staff • 

Special Asst. to Exec. Director: Gail Coyne 
Administrative Assistant: Keri Gaboon 
Clerks: Priscilla Prahm, Gail Hanley, 
Louise Cote 

3225 Main Street, Barnstable, MA 02630 


Resource List 

The Cape Cod Commission has publications that are 
available for public use. Commission staff is also 
available to assist in interpreting them. The general 
categories of information that are available include: 

The Cape Cod Commission Act, the state legislation 
establishing the Cape Cod Commission. 

The Regional Policy Plan and supporting documents, 
which are the regional standards guiding development 
on Cape Cod. 

Regulations supporting the intent of the Cape Cod 
Commission Act, including the Cape Cod Commission 
Regulations of General Application, and the Administra- 
tive Regulations. 

Policies governing specific Commission protocol, 
including Hardship Exemption Requests, Change of 
Use, Affordable Housing, and Revisions to Approved 

Technical Bulletins and Studies on specific topics with 
which your project may be involved, including nitrogen 
loading, open space, habitat assessment, and traffic fair 
share guidelines. 

Project Reports completed by prior applicants and their 
consultants that may contain information applicable to a 

Guidance Documents such as Referral of Historic 
Structures, District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC) 
Guidance Document, and design guidelines for develop- 

Applications that are required to initiate Commission 
review, such as those for DRIs, Exemption Requests, and 
Jurisdictional Determinations. 

(508) 362-3828