CPA Update
February 15, 2007
In This Issue  

Dear Paul,

It’s shaping up to be a busy winter here at the Coalition. This month we’re launching our new membership program for CPA communities, and you can read all about it in this issue of CPA Update. We’ve also begun working with the state legislature on a way to direct more revenue to the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund. The next issue of CPA Update will contain a complete overview of our legislative plan, and we’ll be looking for your feedback and participation. Lastly, our technical assistance hotline has been buzzing with activity, as many communities prepare their project recommendations for Spring Town Meetings. We’re here if you need assistance – 617-367-8998.

Securing our future

We're looking for feedback from each of the 119 CPCs on the Community Preservation Coalition's new membership program.

Early last year, we convened an advisory group of about a dozen CPC chairs and our steering committee to review future sources of funding for the Coalition. The result was a decision to move toward self-sufficiency by becoming a membership-based organization in 2007.

Why the change? For the past five years the Coalition has been funded primarily by a single grant from a major foundation. Unfortunately, five years is about the limit for funding to a single non-profit such as the Coalition, and that funding source is now ending. We have developed a sliding scale of membership dues based on the local CPA tax surcharge collected in each community. We are hopeful that each CPC will vote to join the Coalition and then approve the payment of dues from the CPC administrative account.

We'll be sending more information on this program to each CPC Chair in the next 10 days. If you are in the final stages of budgeting for FY08, you can see an advance copy of our membership brochure, including the schedule of dues, by viewing the .pdf below.

CPA 101: Historic Preservation Restrictions

Have you or members of your Community Preservation Committee often been confused about the CPA’s requirements for historic preservation restrictions and/or easements when granting CPA funds for historic preservation projects? Well, help is finally here, thanks to Sarah Korjeff of the Cape Cod Commission!

Sarah recently put together a very clear, concise, and informative fact sheet on CPA and historic preservation restrictions for the benefit of the Cape Cod Commission’s monthly CPA Round Table series. We are grateful to Sarah for pulling this article together, and have included it here for your information

A truly brilliant CPA idea!

Here’s a situation faced by many CPA communities, and a unique solution developed by the town of Rowley.

CPA cities and towns are often presented with opportunities to purchase critical pieces of land that come on the market, and there is usually tremendous pressure to act quickly before the opportunity is gone. That leaves very little time to figure out which of the potential CPA uses would be appropriate for the land. Can the land be used for affordable housing? How about soccer fields, or open space? Better yet, how about a combination of all three? The problem is that it can take a year or more of engineering work, environmental and other studies, land use planning, public hearings, and political negotiations to answer these questions. By then, the land will be gone.

Rowley faced exactly this situation when presented with an application for $2.75 million of CPA funding to purchase a critical parcel, the 102 acre Bradstreet Farm.(shown in photo above) There was even a historic farmhouse on the parcel that would qualify for CPA historic funds. Their solution was to craft a warrant article which would allow the town to buy the parcel now for any of the four allowable CPA purposes (open space, recreation, community housing or historic). The warrant article further required that once the town closed on the property and a land use plan had been completed, the project would have to come before town meeting a second time to approve the plan.

Is our project eligible for CPA funding?

This is probably the most frequent question that is asked of local CPCs, and of us here at the Coalition too: “Is our project eligible for CPA funding?” As you undoubtedly know, this isn’t always the easiest question to answer!

The answer can be found buried in Section 5(b)(2) of the CPA legislation, the paragraph that describes the types of projects that qualify for CPA funding. But if you’ve ever read that paragraph, you know that it is difficult to follow. The Department of Revenue (DOR) turned that paragraph into a simple chart that we keep up on our bulletin board, and it’s the first place we start when examining a project’s eligibility.

CPA in the news

Jennifer Goldson is a professional planning consultant who specializes in the Community Preservation Act. Jennifer’s article “How to Create Affordable Housing with CPA Funds” appeared in the American Planning Association’s November 2006 edition of New England Planning.

Click here to read Jennifer’s article

Click here to learn about the services Jennifer provides to Community Preservation Committees

CPA Community loses a good friend

The Community Preservation Coalition was deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of Mary Ellen Herd, Chair of the Needham Community Preservation Committee.

Mary Ellen was a committed, community volunteer in Needham, and was instrumental in helping Needham adopt the Community Preservation Act. We will miss Mary Ellen, and extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, and Needham colleagues.

Details on this issue’s CPA project photo

The CPA project featured in this edition is an affordable housing project in the town of Stow . In May of 2004, Stow Town Meeting voters approved the appropriation of $350,000 of CPA funds for the purchase of thirty-seven permanent affordability restrictions on dwelling units at the Pilot Grove Apartments on Warren Road .

read on...

Another innovative housing program from Stow

The Stow Community Preservation Committee is establishing an innovative program to convert existing residences into permanently affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families via acquisition of permanent Affordability Restrictions. It is a creative approach to advancing affordable housing, and may be of interest in your community.

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Stuart Saginor
Community Preservation Coalition

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