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Provincetown OKs short-term rental fee, four-story buildings, other steps to bolster housing

Ruth H Curtis on Unsplash

Provincetown is taking steps to alleviate the high cost of housing and the scarcity of year-round units.

A slate of 10 housing-related articles passed overwhelmingly at Town Meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

The Select Board feels good about getting so much community support to move forward with the work, chair Dave Abramson said.

“What was so great to see at this Town Meeting was the amount of first-time attendees to Town Meeting,” he said. “There was a lot of younger voters and new voters. … We are really committed to moving this issue forward and working on it.”

The town is trying to create housing people can afford — and that includes middle-income earners, who can’t reach median home prices well over a million dollars.

Abramson said one of the key articles will dedicate 30 percent of room-tax revenue to housing.

Town Meeting also supported articles to create physical space for housing. One was a nonbinding resolution that could allow two lanes to be removed from the last part of Route 6, after Conwell Street; another was a zoning change to allow four-story buildings in certain commercial areas.

“I think this is a turning point for the town,” Abramson said. “We now have a town manager who is focused on housing. The Select Board and the town manager's goals are aligned.”

Other measures passed by Town Meeting will fund feasibility studies for the construction of housing on town-owned land.

The body also voted to place a fee on professionally managed short-term rental units and to purchase property for housing in the East End.