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Draft design guidelines for the West Harwich Special District available

Inspiration for additions, alterations, and new construction within the district

Cape Cod Commission staff have drafted illustrated design guidelines to support building changes within the West Harwich Special District (created through a District of Critical Planning Concern). The special district runs along Route 28 from the Dennis/Harwich town line to the western shore of the Herring River. It encompasses more than 20 significant historic structures dating back to the mid-1700s and serves as a gateway to Harwich and a local economic hub.

The Cape Cod Commission collaborated with the Harwich Planning Board, town staff, and local historians to develop these illustrated design guidelines.

Cape Cod Commission Historic Preservation Specialist Sarah Korjeff presented the guidelines to the Harwich Planning Board on March 8, 2022.

The document aims to outline and illustrate important design principles that will protect the character of the district. It describes what buildings could and should look like in two distinct sections: historic structures and new construction.

Guidelines for historic structures include ways to preserve and re-use historic structures, place additions to the rear, and make changes reversible. New construction guidelines focus on building orientation, setback, scale, and façade design.

Property owners and regulatory boards can look to these guidelines to make decisions and choices appropriate for the district. Additionally, those wishing to make additions and alterations to existing historic buildings or construct new structures within the Special District can use these guidelines to ensure their projects fit the district's distinctive characteristics.

The Harwich Planning Board has provided comments on the document and will schedule a future public hearing when the revised draft is complete.

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