Community Preservation Committee Votes Recommendations for Special Town Meeting

By Elizabeth Hacala

Two articles that specifically relate to Community Preservation will appear on the Warrant for Special Town Meeting on Monday, November 6:

  • Article 15 is the yearly article requesting the town reaffirm the Community Preservation surcharge, and
  • Article 16 requesting Town Meeting approval for the expenditure of Community Preservation funds for specific projects.

The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) voted to recommend the following projects for approval at the Special Town Meeting:

Housing Strategic Study
Selectman Margot Fleishman presented the Housing Strategic Study project.  She explained that many communities conduct such a study to figure out how to reach the 10 percent threshold of affordable housing that allows towns more control under the regional planning law known as Chapter 40B.  Bedford is in the unusual position that we are above the 10 percent threshold, and have been for a number of years. This study would focus on the broader questions of the types of housing Bedford currently has, our needs, and how we might be able to preserve housing diversity in town. The Committee voted to recommend that Town Meeting approve $20,000 to fund the study.

Bedford Dog Park
The Committee voted to recommend to Town Meeting approval of $25,000 for the Bedford Dog Park from FY18 Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. This figure represents 10 percent of the construction costs for a dog park and would allow the Dog Park Ad Hoc Committee to apply for the balance of the construction funds through a grant from the Stanton Foundation.

Concord Road National Register Historic District Application
The Committee requested $10,000 to complete an Historic District application for a historic portion of Concord Road. The area covered by the application would include applicable property in the vicinity of the Hartwell Road intersection and It would include the 18th Century homes of two Revolutionary War soldiers. The CPC voted to recommend to Town Meeting approval of $10,000 to fund an application for a Concord Road National Register Historic District.

Historic House Appraisal
Owners of historic homes can apply for historic preservation restrictions (HPR) on a qualifying home. The town would then hold that preservation restriction in perpetuity and the current owner would receive a break on their state and federal income tax.  In order for the town to receive an HPR the property needs to be appraised according to IRS regulations This project would fund such an appraisal of one of Bedford’s few remaining homes over 200 years old. The committee voted to recommend to Town Meeting approval of $4,000 to fund a Historic House Appraisal for a possible preservation restriction.

Bedford Village Expiring Use
The Committee revisited the Bedford Village Expiring Use project that was approved by Annual Town Meeting (ATM) under Article 21. This funding is designed to help the Town work with the owners of Bedford Village to maintain the current 96 affordable units which would otherwise expire. During ATM the funding was 100 percent bonded. The Committee indicated they might come back to Special Town Meeting to reduce some of the bonded authorization with CPA funds.  The Committee voted to recommend Special Town Meeting rescind $1,500,000 of the bonding authorized in article 21 and replace those funds with $942,148 from the Community Preservation Committee’s Affordable Housing Reserves and $557,852 from FY2018 Community Preservation Available, thus maintaining full funding of the project while decreasing future bond payments.

Community Preservation Land Acquisition Fund
Town Manager Rick Reed presented a request from the Selectmen that the Committee consider a supplement to the current Land Acquisition Fund and an update of the list of eligible properties.  The committee voted to recommend Town Meeting approval of $350,000 for the Land Acquisition Fund from FY18 Funds. The last appropriation to the fund was made in 2010.

Resources for further reading:

Earlier articles about the Community Preservation program posted in The Bedford Citizen


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