Cape Cod RVers Confirm Economic Impact on Town
There was a reason Denise Lipper brought a plastic bag of store receipts to the July 9 discussion about re-zoning local cottage colonies in Dennisport, Mass.
A seasonal resident of Campers Haven in Dennisport, Lipper said the receipts demonstrate how much she and her husband, Kevin Lipper, are contributing to the local economy, the Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, reported.
In the past two weeks, the couple has spent $920 at locations such as Ring Brothers in South Dennis and Royal Pizza and Aluminum Products of Cape Cod, both in Dennisport.
And the Lippers aren’t alone. Thousands of summer people along Old Wharf Road eat at local restaurants and patronize local stores, offering Dennis voters a compelling reason to support special new zoning that would protect the cottage colonies and recreational vehicle parks in Dennisport, Lipper said.
“We have been part of the economic development of Dennisport,” said Constance Cummings Betters, whose family has owned the Salt Air Village cottage colony for 64 years. She asked how many other businesses have been around that long or have such deep ties to the community.
About 50 seasonal residents of the cottage colonies and RV parks met for two hours at the West Dennis Graded School House to review and comment on new Seasonal Resort Community zoning proposed by Daniel Fortier, the Dennis town planner.
Current zoning regulations have prohibited cottage colonies and RV campgrounds since 1973, making it virtually impossible for the properties that already existed to get future approval for additions or other substantial improvements.
The Seasonal Resort Community zoning would allow owners to apply for a building permit for such improvements as decks and small additions to cottages.
The new zoning would also cover Grindell’s Ocean View Park and Old Chatham Road RV Resort on Old Chatham Road.
Fortier has encouraged seasonal residents of Campers Haven, Salt Air Village, Chase’s Ocean Grove and Curtis Pine Grove, now known as the Village on Nantucket Sound, to keep track of their spending, so they can let town meeting members know how much they’ve pumped into local businesses before a vote on the new zoning bylaw is scheduled for fall town meeting.
“Because you’re here so long, you’re bringing a lot of money into the economy,” Fortier said, adding that “in Dennis, we sell summer.”
Cottage owners and town officials have met several times since the fall, when the future of the seasonal properties became a hot topic after planning authorities envisioned a future that included hotels but not cottages.
Under the current zoning rules, the area is zoned for hotels. The specialized zoning would protect the seasonal use of cottages and RV campgrounds, he said.
The next steps are for the proposed zoning change to go before the Economic Development Committee on Thursday and then to a Zoning By-law Study Committee before being put on the warrant at the fall town meeting, Fortier said.
Lipper says her husband has summered at Campers Haven since 1954 and has stronger ties to Dennisport than his year-round home in Bridgewater.
“It’s a way of life,” she said. “It’s not just where you come to be on vacation.”