Dennis Port has been manipulated extensively in recent history.

A cranberry bog became Bradlees and is now Job Lot. A once tree-lined main street is now a compressed, shady passage on either side of state-owned Route 28. New buildings have been built in haste while historic ones have been torn down. Lacking a plan, Dennis Port has fallen prey to the whims of groups or individuals who have not had to consider the impact their projects have on the area as a whole. The results of lack of foresight speak for themselves.

We live in a time where the notion of Smart Growth is undeniably essential in planning for development or redevelopment. Urban planner Donovan Rypkema said the following about Smart Growth in a recent speech he gave to a Washington D.C. audience:

The closest thing we have to a broad-based sustainable development movement is known as Smart Growth. There is no movement in America today that enjoys a more widespread support across political, ideological, and geographical boundaries than does Smart Growth. Democrats support it for environmental reasons, Republicans for fiscal reasons. From big city mayors to rural county commissioner, there are Smart Growth supporters everywhere and support is growing and becoming broader.

The Smart Growth movement also has a clear statement of principles:

  • Create range of housing opportunities and choices
  • Create walk-able neighborhoods
  • Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration
  • Foster distinctive, attractive places with a Sense of Place
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
  • Mix land uses
  • Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas
  • Provide variety of transportation choices -Strengthen and direct development toward existing communities
  • Take advantage of compact built design.

But you know what? If a community did nothing but protect its historic neighborhoods it will have advanced every Smart Growth principle. Historic preservation IS Smart Growth. A Smart Growth approach that does not include historic preservation high on the agenda is missing a valuable strategy and is stupid growth, period.”