ALT Annual Meeting
The Community Preservation Act:
Should Arlington Adopt It?
Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 7 to 9 p.m.
Senior Center, 27 Maple St.
Please join us for Arlington Land Trust's Annual Meeting which will be devoted to a discussion of the CPA. This forum will provide information that has significance for Arlington's future. A warrant article will be presented to this year's Town Meeting asking to put the Act on the ballot so the citizens of Arlington can decide whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act.
Stuart Saginor, Executive Director of the statewide Community Preservation Coalition, will make a short presentation to explain the basic tenets of the law and highlight a path to adoption. Then three people familiar with the Act will participate in a panel discussion and answer audience questions:
- Jen Ryan, ALT Board member, former Legislative Director for Mass Audubon, Board member of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters, and Arlington resident. Jen has worked on new legislative changes for the CPA.
- Sean Caron, Chief of Staff for The Community Builders, a nonprofit organization with over 500 employees in 14 states and District of Columbia. In his former job as Director of Public Policy at Citizen's Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), he worked with Jen Ryan and the Coalition on getting new CPA legislation through the Massachusetts House and Senate.
- Sarah Burks, Board member of the Cyrus E. Dallin Art Museum and a Preservation Planner at the Cambridge Historical Commission. She lives in Arlington. The City of Cambridge has made good use of the $50 million it has received in CPA funds for a variety of projects.
About the Community Preservation Act
In September 2000, Governor Paul Cellucci signed the Community Preservation Act (CPA) into law. The Act is "a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth's workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth's historic and natural resources." This summary comes from the Community Preservation Coalition's website at www.communitypreservation.org.
To date, 155 of the 351 Massachusetts towns and cities have adopted the Act, which is a local option tax on property taxes. Arlington's restaurant and hotel taxes could also be used to match the state funding. This year the state match is 52.23 percent. This means that for every $1 raised locally, the state will contribute more than 52 cents toward the community's designated projects.
Over the past 13 years, close to $1.2 billion has been raised for community preservation projects, and over 6,600 initiatives have been approved. Among the results: over 7,300 affordable housing units have been created or aided; more than 19,000 acres of open space have been preserved; and over 3,200 historic preservation projects have been started.
How could the CPA help Arlington? It could provide an incentive to negotiate a sale of the Mugar land as a park or as open space to provide flood storage. It could be used to renovate the historic Jefferson Cutter House, which is the home of the Cyrus E. Dallin Museum. It could provide funds for improvements at the Old Schwamb Mill. It could assist the Housing Corporation of Arlington in their work to provide more affordable housing for Arlington residents.