Brewster Landing is an award-winning housing development in Brewster that put a priority on integrated master planning and best practice design. This residential cottage community is sited on 9.4 acres just off Route 6a in Brewster – a well-developed area of Brewster which previously had minimal affordable housing options, but desperately needed to increase such inventory. Coastal Engineering Co. worked with Cape View Development and Union Studio Architects to fill this community need by developing an alternative housing product to the traditional stand-alone house. 24 stand-alone cottages and two multifamily duplexes offer a small footprint, ideal for families looking to downsize and enjoy the maintenance conveniences associated with condominium-style living. The development was permitted and constructed under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 40B, with eight units awarded through a housing lottery to qualified buyers. Because these units enhance the town’s affordable housing inventory, this entire mixed-income neighborhood is a big asset to the surrounding community. Civil engineering design won 2018 BRICC award by Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod.
With this “affordable community living” concept in mind, the design team decided to go with “Nantucket-style” site layout: neighborhood clustered around a common green which serves as an outdoor gathering space for the residents and creates a cozy village feel. It is designed to be an attractive, useful space. A network of sidewalks is integrated into the green to promote residents getting out for a walk and interacting with their neighbors. Central orientation of the site also provides a sense of address and oversight onto the roadway – an important contributor to the security of this space. An internal loop road links the neighborhood together, provides visitor parking, and cleverly manages vehicles so that they are integrated into the development without dominating the outdoor amenity of the wider surrounds. The garages at the side of each condo ensure that the site has an uncluttered look and feel.
The community is designed to fit well into the neighborhood, both architecturally and environmentally. Traditional roof lines, building geometries, and design styles fit in with the surrounding neighborhood while creating a strong, well defined edge to the curve of the road. The buildings are scaled to fit well on the site. Enhanced buffer zones including mix herbaceous, woody shrub, and trees together with implementation of low impact development (LID) techniques provide the high level of stormwater protection necessary for the nearby wetland areas. Of the 9.5 acre site, two-thirds are preserved as open space creating a natural backdrop for the homes.
The design and detailing of the houses create a clear identity and sense of place. All the buildings use a similar overall mass, form, and palette of materials and colors to give a sense of continuity. Differentiation between the units is provided by having variations in the treatment of the front facades, using a variety of porch styles as a “kit of parts”. The houses have been designed to consider privacy of adjacent households by placing windows in locations that minimize overlooking. Additional screening is provided through planting. By the virtue of central location, the community is only a mile away from the bayside beaches and also within walking distance to various recreation, retail, and service establishments.
Coastal Engineering provided a full suite of civil engineering services necessary to develop the originally vacant site:
The vision behind the design of Brewster Landing was to create a mixed-income cottage neighborhood that emphasizes efficiency and sustainability while fulfilling several community needs, including:
This development provides affordable housing that Brewster desperately needs. Eight affordable units not only made the Town of Brewster closer to their goal, but also made the entire development existence possible.
Walkable Access to Downtown Brewster
The central location in a walkable neighborhood off Route 6A provides the residents with a community connection feel. They enjoy easy access to recreation (Cape Cod Rail Trail, beaches, library, museums, yoga studio, and mini golf), errands (Town Hall, several banks, and USPS office), and local businesses (multiple convenience stores, restaurants, hair salons, and a veterinary hospital).
Worry-Free Downsizing Options
Condominium form of ownership opens up great options for Cape Cod residents looking to downsize from single-family houses without having to worry about septic system maintenance, landscaping, or garbage and snow removal. The development features seven designs of carriage and town houses in two- and three-bedroom configurations that range from 1,300 to 1,650 square feet.
High Quality Finishes
This condominium community boasts exceptional landscaping, well-appointed interior layouts including first floor master suites, high-end materials throughout, central A/C and propane gas heat, direct entry garages, and generous front porches to provide weather protection.
The final design met all of the vision objectives and was constructed on budget.
As with many projects on Cape Cod, site development was a challenge with this project. Owing to the fact that the upland portion of the project site is surrounded by wetland resource areas, the task of designing within the constraints of the applicable regulations and site conditions proved to be challenging.
Specifically, we were challenged to design a stormwater management system that would capture, treat, and recharge stormwater runoff generated from the site while also maintaining the pre-development flow patterns of the land and the volume of clean runoff directed toward the wetlands. To achieve this balance, bioretention basins were strategically placed on the site to naturally filter stormwater runoff through mulch and soil layers, while the native plants uptake runoff and utilize pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus for growth. Extra runoff that was captured, treated, and attenuated in the bioretention basins but did not have a chance to recharge into the ground or get taken up by the garden’s plants naturally flows toward the existing nearby wetland, thus maintaining the volume of runoff contributed to the wetland at the pre-construction level.
In an effort to provide further protection of the nearby wetland resource areas, an Innovative/Alternative sewage disposal system was installed to provide enhanced removal of nutrients from the wastewater. Since the land beneath the common green space is located furthest upland from the surrounding wetlands, this was the ideal location for the sewage disposal system. The result is that the green common space serves two important functions for the community: providing an area for the sewage disposal system below grade and a neighborhood gathering space above grade.
Low Impact Development (Lid) Techniques
We were able to provide the necessary level of protection for the nearby wetland areas by managing stormwater runoff utilizing the following LID techniques:
Improved Site Accessibility
Curb cut improvements at both Route 6A and Underpass Road included removal of overgrown vegetation and installation of new signage. These updates resulted in improved sight lines for visitor arriving and departing from the neighborhood. The internal loop road within the development provides good circulation and accessibility throughout the site.
Durable and Energy-Efficient Buildings and Systems
The buildings are insulated well above the minimum standards required in the building code, and energy-efficient mechanical systems are installed in each building. The materials are durable and fire resistant, making the buildings easy to maintain and ensuring they will continue to look attractive over time.
Quaint Coastal Village Charm
White-cedar shake with PVC trim matches the traditional clapboard materials in keeping with the Brewster vernacular architecture.
Brewster Landing is an important demonstration of how a well-designed 40B housing development can create a successful asset to a community, while also creating beautiful private and open spaces for the residents. With market prices ranged from $469,000 to $529,000, the project has been a huge success and the condos sold out almost immediately after going on the market. Achieving higher average value and high client and buyer satisfaction showed that pushing the boundaries with good design was well worth it. The project was awarded a Silver 2018 BRICC award for the Best Engineering Project (Project Manager Tarja McGrail, PE).