Duxbury selectmen have backed all the Community Preservation Act articles that will appear on the March 9 town meeting warrant. Selectmen discussed and voted to support all eight warrant articles brought forward by the Community Preservation Committee. Two articles are related to purchasing additional open space. One article seeks voter approval to spend $200,000 for a buildable lot of 60,000 square feet on Mayflower Street near the town forest. Owned by Earl Ricker, this parcel has 300 feet of roadway frontage and is west of the new police station. The town owns a piece of land abutting the roadway in front of this property, which allows access to it. The purchase price is $190,000. An additional $10,000 is being sought to take care of the related attorney’s fees, surveys and filing costs.

The second open space article is a request for $100,000 to shore up the conservation fund. This fund is used by the town to purchase smaller, less expensive piece of lands that are usually unbuildable but have value to the town because they abut or give access to town properties.

Community preservation act funding was last funneled to the conservation fund four years ago in the amount of $77,000.

Also related to open space is the CPC’s request to fund the accounts that receive money from the three percent surcharge generated by the Community Preservation Act at a different level than in the past.

The CPC must deliver at least 10 percent of the money generated by the surcharge to each of the Act’s three purposes: open space, affordable housing and historical preservation. Usually, the CPC seeks ten percent for each account with the remainder of the funds going into what the committee calls the undesignated funds account.  This year, however, the committee wants to put 60 percent of the CPC surcharge funds into the open space account, while the affordable housing and historical preservation accounts each receive ten percent.

CPC chair John Bear said that there are two reasons behind this move. First, since the town has traditionally spent 60 percent of its CPA funds on open space, he said the committee thought it made sense to fund that account accordingly. Second, he said it was the right time to shift money into the open space account so it would be there after the reduction to the surcharge took effect next year. Duxbury residents recently voted to reduce the CPA tax surcharge from 3 percent to one percent.

Selectmen also voted favorably on an article that funded the CPC’s operating budget at $39,000.

In addition, selectmen supported the CPC article to fund a study to build more athletic fields on the 67 acres adjacent to the Chandler School. This study will cost $40,000 and would pay for a property survey that includes wetlands delineations, soil testing, irrigation well testing, layouts of athletic fields, driveways and parking areas, and submittals of permits to local and state authorities. Submitted by Recreation Director Gordon Cushing, the plan is to build one regulation sized baseball field, one regulation sized softball field, two outdoor basketball courts, and two multipurpose playing fields, as well as irrigate the area and install more parking. Currently on the property there are soccer fields, a baseball field and a concessions stand as well as a parking lot. The town needs new fields to meet the demand, said Cushing. Last year, over 6,000 users played on the town’s fields, he said.

Three other CPC articles that deal with affordable housing issues also received the backing of the Board of Selectmen.

One seeks to use $320,000 in the CPA affordable housing account and transfer $330,000 in the Affordable Housing Trust’s housing assistance program to pay for the construction of affordable and moderate units on Temple and Franklin Streets.

On the town’s Camp Wing property on Temple Street, the town plans to build six housing units: three for those who qualify for affordable income housing and three for moderate-income residents. To date, $282,783 of CPA housing funds has been used for the land, engineering and plans and specs for this site. However more funding is needed. The Camp Wing project’s funding gap is $394,332.

The second affordable housing project is to build two affordable units at the site of the historic Grange hall building and demolished fire house on Franklin Street. This project has been in the works for many years and currently has a funding gap of $382,340. In 2008, Town Meeting voters approved $70,000 in CPA funds to purchase the historic Grange hall building in order to combine it with an adjacent town-owned abandoned fire house to make two new affordable homes with a shared septic system. The price of the Grange hall was $50,000. The firehouse was later demolished because it was condemned by the town.

In 2010, the annual town meeting allocated another $150,000 for the Grange affordable housing project, which changed through the years. Initially, it was thought that Habitat for Humanity would renovate the hall into a three-bedroom home, but that organization backed out of the project. Now it appears that the historic Grange building will be dismantled and sold or torn down and two new buildings will be constructed on that site – one that will resemble the Grange building and another in the space occupied by the firehouse. It is estimated that restoring the Grange, which has sat vacant for many years, would cost an additional $100,000.

Selectmen voted Monday to declare the Grange Hall surplus so the town can proceed with getting rid of the building.

Interim Town Manager Richard MacDonald said he will solicit bids for the removal of the Grange and include the Duxbury Historical Commission on this project. A related CPC article would authorize the selectmen to sell the land the Grange sits on.

Finally, selectmen supported a CPC article that will petition the legislature to release 2.91 acres of the town’s land at Camp Wing/Temple Street to be used for affordable housing. This was the town’s intent when it bought the land but legal mistakes prevented this portion from being withheld from the larger parcel when it was declared by the legislature to be conservation land. Now that action must be reversed for the housing project to go forward.