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Cape Cod Commission develops flood area design guidelines

Strategies to protect and preserve our region’s distinctive character and historic resources

The Cape Cod Commission has developed flood area design guidelines for Cape Cod that outline strategies for reducing or eliminating hazards from sea level rise and storm surge while protecting the region’s distinct character and historic resources.

Rising flood waters and sea level rise are impacting increasing numbers of properties on Cape Cod. The region has a history of moving or modifying buildings to adapt to its changing coastline, especially those designed to be close to the water’s edge, but as the pace of change increases and affects more buildings, the need for guidance specific to the character of Cape Cod’s communities has grown.

Supported by funding from the US Economic Development Administration, the guidelines outline solutions appropriate for various cases, such as building retrofit, building relocation, landscape solutions, and building elevation - depending on the specific building involved and its surrounding neighborhood context.

“These guidelines help our community meet goals set forth in the Regional Policy Plan and Climate Action Plan,” said Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori. “The carefully considered strategies provide a pathway forward that balances protection from the threats of sea level rise and flooding with preservation of the region’s character and built environment.”

The guidelines are intended to help homeowners better understand and visualize design options and to guide town staff and board members as they review proposed projects in flood hazard areas.

The document includes photographs, detailed illustrations, and text that highlight special considerations for historic structures. The guide also includes context case studies that recommend appropriate designs for unique neighborhood types and specific building types, considering sustainability and possible sea level rise projections.

The guidelines are published on the Cape Cod Commission’s website:

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