It was interesting to learn that Sandwich and Cape Cod Commission officials are looking at “new” ideas for providing a more diverse array of more affordable housing options here in town.

Regional and town planning officials held a workshop at Sandwich Town Hall this week to discuss ways to shape the future of housing along the Route 130 corridor in south Sandwich.

During the discussion, we found the use of the term “new” a bit odd; they discussed integrating multi-family buildings, including townhouses, manor houses, duplexes and walk-ups in the planning. We found it odd because a perfect example of this type of mixed housing can be found right smack dab in the middle of the oldest part of Sandwich—in the historic village and the old Jarvesville section of town.

In Jarvesville, there are two apartment blocks (one on Church Street and the other on State Street) along with a handful of duplexes. In Sandwich Village, there are at least two more apartment blocks (one on Jarves Street and the other on Pleasant Street), a manor-style house at the corner of Main and River streets, and a bunch more duplexes.

These multi-family housing units are scattered among the old stately homes and modest single-family dwellings. They don’t stand out, really. They are just part of the character of their neighborhoods.

And that’s the real trick when developing these affordable housing and multi-family units. It works best when they are blended into a community—not clustered together within their own little neighborhood.

There are stigmas associated with that kind of clustering. And we don’t have to look beyond our own town to find a few of those examples, either.

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