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Community Preservation Committee Minutes 11/2/2009
Community Preservation Committee
Monday, November 2, 2009 - 4:30 pm
Community Center Club Room
Chatham, Massachusetts

Committee Members Present:  John Kaar, Chair, Bob Denn, Victor DiCristina, Jordan Popkin, Ira Seldin, Carol Scott, and Cynthia Small
Committee Members Absent:  Bob Oliver and Joanne Taylor

Others present:  Terry Whalen, Alan McClennen, Roz Coleman, Chuck Bartlett, Don Aikman, Len Sussman, Dick Kraycir, Paul Widegren and others

John Kaar called the meeting to order at 4:00 pm.  

Item 1.  Marconi Operations Building Site/Building Improvements funding request ($446,645)

John Kaar provided applications regarding a funding request for site improvements and building improvements at the Operations Building at MCI.  Alan McClennen, Project Consultant, provided background information about the project.  Highlights of his report included:
  • Project began in 2004 with objective of finding tenants and securing rental income
  • Concern regarding utilities payments surfaced
  • In 2007 funding was granted for exterior restoration and securing of the buildings (roofs, windows, doors, brick repair, etc.)
  • Original request was for $1.2 million to restore exterior of buildings and update septic and utilities
  • A reduced estimate ($870,000) was negotiated by eliminating septic and utilities work
  • Work is almost completed at a final cost of $750,000.
  • Buildings are now secure but not ready for tenants as utilities are lacking.
  • CMMC will occupy the Operations Building
  • The current grant request will enable the town to complete work needed for CMMC to occupy, i.e., a new driveway/entrance with parking lots by the Operations Building and the Hotel building.  Also included will be a new Title V septic system with leach field located beneath the parking lots.  Improved draining will protect the adjacent wetlands.  
  • The Town will provide all code-related improvements, i.e., heating, AC, utilities installation   
  • Two firms have provided bids for the code-related work with an average estimate of $142,000
  • Because of the requirement to adhere to the prevailing wage law, the Town will bid the job and CMMC will reimburse the town for the work.  ($240,000)
  • CMMC will pay for all interior finish work needed to create a museum.  
  • A new entrance road will be sited in a safer location; the old drive will be abandoned
The question of legality was discussed.  Mr. McClennen stated that we are taking a holistic approach to this project.  It is an historic resource and this work is needed to create a functioning site.  Other restoration projects have involved appurtenant structures and included work needed to provide parking and sanitary disposal facilities.  Mr. McClennen noted that he has spoken to Stuart Saginor of the Community Preservation Coalition, who agrees that this is a legal use of CPA funds.  

The Board of Selectmen has reviewed this project and determined that using CPA funds was the best possible payment option.  

Questions/Discussion

Ira Seldin asked about possibly including the entire site in a septic/local sewer system rather than the proposed Title V septic system for only the Operations Building and the Hotel.  Alan McClellan explained that an IA system would cost approximately $130,000.  He added that the wooden houses are on adequate systems now and that Title V systems can be provided for the two brick buildings when tenants are identified.  

John Kaar asked about funding for potential asbestos abatement.  Alan McClennen said that it is hoped that any vinyl asbestos tile can be covered with carpet paid for by CMMC.  This is an acceptable method of handling this type of asbestos.  He noted that a temporary Certificate of Occupancy can be issued by the Town until interior work is done and any problems are identified.  Then CMMC would be required to handle the abatement work, if any.  

Mr. McClennen added that the Town purchased the MCI site as a “clean site” with certification from MCI that there was no other contamination on the site.  

Driveway paving is to be asphalt.

The parking provided will total 75 spaces (26 in Phase 1).  

John Kaar expressed concern about the indefinite timelines of the project and about continuing funding requests in the future.  Alan McClennen explained that this application addresses the entire projects and represents all the funding needed to make the buildings operational.  This investment will allow CMMC to move into the Operations Building and will make the Hotel available for another tenant.  

Other points noted in discussion:  
  • Improvements made by tenants will be deducted from rent payments.  
  • Leases will likely be for 20 years or less, then leases will be re-negotiated.  
  • The $240,000 to be paid by CMMC is not considered part of improvements to be deducted from rent.
  • Tenants will not be allowed to sublet without permission/approval of the Town
  • If CMMC were to fail, a public disposition process would ensue and a new lease for a new tenant would be sought.
  • Alan McClennen is handling all lease negotiations.
  • Unlike the situation for the Railroad Museum, there is little or no external grant funding available for this project.  
There was brief discussion of where lease money would go within the Town.  Because the project is CPA funded, the revenues should return to the CPC.  This would need to be discussed with the Board of Selectmen and included in any contracts.  

CMMC is hoping for a 2010 opening of the museum, so it will likely be necessary to call a Special Town Meeting to approve the funding.  No ballot vote would be needed if the project is entirely funded with CPC funds.  John Kaar noted that this can be done with existing funds and would not need to wait until next Fiscal Year.  CMMC or the Board of Selectmen will need to call the Special Town Meeting.  

The Chatham Historical Commission will meet tomorrow (11/3/09) to discuss this project.  John Kaar proposed that a special CPC meeting be held in the next two weeks to further discuss this project and to vote on it.  He indicated that the Board of Selectmen is looking for CPC approval and input.  

Alan McClennen noted that this is a good time to put jobs out to bid as there are many “hungry” contractors eager for work.  

John Kaar added that this funding is needed to complete the earlier work done at MCI.  This additional funding will finish the project and result in a viable, usable site.  

Item 2:  Harwich/Chatham Open Space – Paul Widegren

Paul Widegren from Harwich distributed information about a 38-acre parcel which abuts Chatham and is related to the drinking water aquifer in the western part of town.  The parcel is available for $2 million.  Mr. Widegren is proposing a joint acquisition project as follows:
  • $500,000 from Chatham + a $500,000 drinking water resource protection grant
  • $500,000 from Harwich + a $500,000 land grant
A single town cannot receive both of the additional grants.  Each town would benefit by protecting its water supply.  

Victor DiCristina said that the Open space Committee will be meeting next week and Mr. Widegren will be making a similar presentation to them.    

This concept will be discussed at the next CPC meeting.  

Item 3:  Old Business

Historical vetting at the Nathan Harding House:

John Kaar reported on a meeting between the HBDC Chair, Dan Sylver, and representatives of the CHC and CPC, and David Oppenheim.  He noted that David Oppenheim has reviewed the Department of Interior Historical Preservation Guidelines.  

At the meeting it was agreed that the HBDC could provide guidance and make decisions regarding compliance with the DOI guidelines.  Don Aikman reported that the CHC is satisfied that the project is in compliance with the DOI guidelines and noted only one issue which is still undecided, i.e., the height of the porch railing.

John Kaar asked for agreement from the committee that this was an acceptable way to proceed with ensuring compliance to DOI guidelines.  Ira Seldin made the following motion, seconded by Jordan Popkin:

        That the CPC endorse an agreement that CPC will look to Chatham Historical Commission regarding compliance with Department of Interior guidelines for the Nathan Harding House restoration.  

The motion passed by unanimous vote.  

Chase Park Windmill Restoration

Frank Messina provided a brief update on the windmill restoration project, stating that the CHC has endorsed the project.  A cost estimate for the project has been obtained and it is likely that the CHC will seek $140,000 for restoration.  This will include foundation work; siding removal, inspection of interior structure and siding replacement; replacement of the main windmill arm; and replacement of the sails.  

CPC Housekeeping

John Kaar distributed copies of the CPC application form asking for edits and suggestions for any changes from the committee.  

A roster of committee members was distributed.

Proposed Revocation of Land Bank and CPA

John Kaar distributed copies of a letter written by Colie Yeaw outlining CPC history and the method of revoking the CPC and Land Bank.  This will be discussed at the Board of Selectmen meeting on November 10.  It has been suggested that both the Land Bank and CPC be revoked and a new, combined committee be created and funds from both committees combined.  Because of financial liabilities, the Land Bank cannot be dissolved until 2020.  Only Chatham and Provincetown have voted to separate CPA and Land Bank tax surcharges; most towns on the Cape used a special law that allowed them to extend their Land Bank surcharges into the uses allowed by the CPA, and gain CPA matching funds.  The real estate surcharge could be reduced to a minimum of 3% and the existing Land Bank and CPC committees reconstituted as a single entity.  To make these changes will require a Town Meeting vote and a ballot vote.  John Kaar will attend the November 10 meeting of the Board of Selectmen.  

CPC Signage

Ira Seldin asked about the installation of a sign, during construction, at the Nathan Harding House, citing CPA funding for historic preservation.  After brief discussion he agreed to investigate possibilities and made the following motion, seconded by Jordan Popkin:
        That the CPC pursue installation of a temporary sign at the Nathan Harding House citing CPA funding.  

The motion passed by unanimous vote.  

Item 4:  Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:20 pm.  


Marie Williams
Notes by Marie Williams