As our planning team at JM Goldson completes housing plans for the Mid-Cape Town of Barnstable and the Island of Nantucket (teamed with RKG Associates), we are excited to announce new projects in the Cape and Islands region. Teaming with Judi Barrett and the planners at RKG Associates Inc., JM Goldson began work on new projects this summer to prepare Housing Production Plans for the Lower Cape Town of Brewster and the six Martha's Vineyard towns: Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury.
Though we are in the early stages of these new projects, some similarities are obvious - namely their success as desirable summer destinations leads to a scarcity of year-round housing that is affordable to families and local workers.
As one business owner in Barnstable recently told us during a community workshop for the Housing Production Plan, employees of her business will often live off the Cape due to lack of homes in their price range and commute long distances for her jobs - people often get tired of this lifestyle, which leads to low worker retention, difficulty attracting skilled workers, and directly hurts the business. Other community members in the region tell us that their adult children are moving out of the region to find homes they can afford in areas with better job opportunities. These testimonies are supported by the data - millennials are moving out of the region and the population is aging - leading to a declining labor market.
As we help these communities plan for future community development and preservation, two common themes continue to emerge: 1) more housing choice is called for to support the needs of residents and foster a stronger local economy and 2) the location and design of new development must respect and protect the region's fragile ecosystem and natural beauty.