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|Planning across committees|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Thursday, 19 September 2013 11:08|
Members of the Community Preservation Commit- tee welcomed representatives from other town boards and committees last Wednesday evening to their annual public forum with a goal of discussing future planning in Duxbury.
Holly Morris, CPC chair, started off the meeting with a brief history of the CPC. In 2000, the selectmen assembled the Land Acquisition
Task Force to identify and make recommendations for financing land for conservation, open space, recreation and municipal use. The task force recommended the town adopt the Community Preservation Act and aimed to acquire 1,500 acres of undeveloped land to maintain a balance between developed and undeveloped land.
Duxbury voters adopted the CPA in 2002 at 3 percent of the residents’ real estate tax, making it possible to receive funds from the state trust fund, which consists of money derived from fees at the registry of deeds. For five years the town received 100 percent state match in funds but as more communities ad- opted the act the state match was reduced to around 30 percent. In 2011, voters chose to reduce the CPA surcharge by two-thirds, down to 1 percent. In 2012, the fees that went into the state trust fund from Duxbury real estate transactions amounted to $96,000. Due to the recent decrease in the Dux- bury CPA surcharge, the Fiscal Year 2014 match is projected at $104,000.
“We are barely recapturing money that is going from Dux- bury real estate transactions back into the town,” Morris said. “Duxbury’s challenge is to encourage and also balance the economic growth and development without compro- mising the equally important conservation of land.”
After the introduction, Tony Kelso, town historian, covered some of the recent land acquisitions with CPA funds. Included in the acquisitions were Camp Wing, 97.5 acres; Blairhaven, 5 acres; 36.8 acres of cranberry bogs, and areas that protect fields, wetlands and river corridors throughout Duxbury. So far, the CPC has acquired 500 acres to date, one third of the goal. The CPC has spent $11.5 million on these projects since 2002.
Terry Vose, historical commission liaison, covered many of the historical restoration projects that have occurred throughout the town under the CPA. With 2,500 hours of volunteer work, the Tarkiln school was transformed from a “teardown” to a highly functioning facility, he said. Ad- ditional historical projects include restoring the chim- neys on the Nathaniel Winsor House, the windows on the First Parish Church, the World War II monument and the barn at Camp Wing.
As of July 1, 2014, available funds in the CPA are as follows: historic preservation, $175,601; affordable housing, $165,358; open space, $678,335. Total reserved dedicated funds are $1,019,295.
Morris opened the meeting up to representatives from other town committees to start a discussion on what other boards’ goals are for future planning, residents’ priorities, plans for guidelines and benchmarks and funding of anticipated future needs.
Sarah McCormick, chair of the Design Review Board, reviewed the purpose of the Design Review Board for those residents who were not aware of the board’s responsibilties.
“We are the only town board whose sole function is to review and evaluate proposals soley from the standpoint of design,” she said. “We review designs for piers, signs, some 40B proposals and commercial and cluster developments.”
The board has a purely advisory role and often meets with the applicants after site visits. The board submits a written decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals before they meet on each special permit.
Nancy Von Stackelberg, Fiscal Advisory Commit- tee chair, suggested the CPC make a priority list of project proposals.
“When you come before us, it is rather agnostic,” she said. “We don’t know what your priorities are and we really do prefer the land types of projects you’ve brought before us. The historic ones we are confused about. It would be helpful if you could give us a priority list.”
Von Stackleberg also said it appeared to the committee that when the CPC has the funds the committee decides to spend it instead of banking it for later projects.
Kelso said when the committee gets proposals, the committee tries to vet them before approval. This has happened more in the past years, as the committee tries to find grant money or volunteer work to relieve some of the burden from the CPA funds.
Morris said the committee does not feel the need to spend the funds, but when projects come before the committee and meet the requirments of the act they like to move forward.
“Some of these projects are land projects that take years and finally come to the surface,” she said. “That point is well taken, however.”
Other comments throughout the meeting include affordable housing units, open space preservation, using CPC funds for beach purposes and recreational purposes. Going forward, Morris said the committees will work in future planning.