Community Preservation Committee
Monday, October 4, 2010 - 4:00 pm
Community Center Meeting Room
Present: John Kaar, Chair, Victor DiCristina, Jordan Popkin, Ira Seldin, Jane Moffatt, and Joanne Taylor
Absent: Carol Scott, Cynthia Small
Others Present: Debbie Aikman, Richard Gulich, Terry Whalen and Alex Heilala
Item 1: Additions to the Agenda
John Kaar added “Underground Utilities” discussion to the New Business portion of the agenda
Item 2: Minutes of the September 13, 2010 Meeting
Minutes were approved with the following revisions:
Page 1, Rental Voucher Program – change couldn’t to could
Page 2, Change $326,000 to $326,100 (several instances)
Page 2, first full paragraph – Change restoration to preservation
Page 3, second set of bullets – Change of to if
Page 3, add 0 to vote indicating no abstentions
Page 4, 5th paragraph – change seek to seem
Page 4, add 0 to vote indicating no abstentions
Item 3: Reorganization of the Committee
John Kaar stated that reorganization of the committee is overdue and requested that new officers be elected. After brief discussion, the following were nominated:
Chair – John Kaar
Vice Chair – Victor DiCristina
Clerk – Carol Scott
In separate votes, each was elected by unanimous vote of 6 – 0 – 0.
Item 4: Old Business
Victor DiCristina distributed copies of three documents: Home Rule Petition, Article and Revised Motion relative to the Fratus property. He explained the need to re-phrase the article and motion because Chatham is not eligible for a LAND grant (as indicated in the original article) because the property in question is not within the town borders. Thus a new article and motion must be voted at Town Meeting.
There was considerable discussion regarding the revised motion and to clarify the new wording. The motion calls for an appropriation of $1 million rather than $500,000 as in the earlier article/motion. Alex Heilala indicated that this is necessary because the grant-making entities require that the Town appropriate the total amount and borrow that amount to be reimbursed from the grant. She added that reimbursable grants are generally paid quickly. The debt service, if any, will be paid by the CPA.
John Kaar expressed concern about the “guarantee” for the grant and questioned whether the CPC might ultimately be held responsible for borrowing the entire $1 million amount. He stated that the article and motion do not make it clear who is responsible for the loan (Town or CPC).
Victor DiCristina indicated that the loan would not be made until the grant had been approved, therefore, if the loan is quickly reimbursed by grant funds, there will be minimal cost to the CPC. Alex Heilala indicated that it is her interpretation of the motion/article that the CPC is to be the borrower on behalf of the Town.
Victor DiCristina stated that the $7,000 needed for appraisal fees can be paid from the CPC administrative account.
In summarizing the current situation, Victor DiCristina indicated that the town would seek grant funding as a first priority, then seek private funding (from local conservation agencies) if grant funding fails. There was additional discussion that the motion does not state that this is the intention. Alex Heilala reiterated that it is not possible to include that language in the motion. The Town must authorize the full amount of the purchase and have a signed Purchase & Sales Agreement before seeking reimbursement from grant funders.
Jordan Popkin indicated his support of the land purchase to protect the water supply regardless of the funding sources, adding that the proposed price is fair. Victor DiCristina stated that we have already received approval of the project but must now change the motion to allow for pursuit of other funding sources. He expressed concern about failure of the motion. He added that local land trusts have already been consulted about this project and may be a resource if grant funding fails.
Ira Seldin said that the intentions and options should be included in the explanation at Town Meeting. The fact that the project could be abandoned if the additional $500,000 is not raised through grants or private funding is not spelled out in the motion and should be included in the explanation.
MOTION: Victor DiCristina supported the written motion with the addition of the phrase “debt service to be paid from future CPC revenues.” The motion was seconded by Joanne Taylor.
I move that the Town vote to appropriate the sum of $1,000,000.00 for the purpose of purchasing and/or taking by eminent domain the land described in the article, said land to be under the control and management of the Board of Selectmen for conservation, passive recreation and/or drinking water supply protection purposes and to appropriate and transfer the sum of $500,000.00 for the Community Preservation Fund Balance; and to authorize the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen to borrow an additional sum of $500,000.00 in anticipation of grants, with debt service to be paid from future CPC revenues; and that the Board of Selectmen and/or the Conservation Commission and/or any other Town board, commission or agency, be authorized to apply for, accept, and expend any funds from any
sources, as set forth in the article or any other funding sources that may become available for the acquisition of the land; and to enter into any and all agreements, and to execute any and all instruments as may be necessary on behalf of the municipality to effect the purchase of the land.
Ira Seldin expressed discomfort with the CPC taking responsibility for an additional $500,000 in borrowing. Victor DiCristina explained that the CPC would be borrowing in anticipation of grant reimbursement and if reimbursement is not obtained, the project would die. The borrowed money would be returned with minor costs of borrowing being paid by the CPC.
VOTE: The motion passed by a vote of 6 – 0 – 0.
Ira Seldin asked that the committee be able to review the final version of the motion.
Alex Heilala indicated that the Fall Town Meeting will likely be held in late November or early December. There is a November 2 deadline for articles.
Fratus Property Update
- Victor DiCristina reported that the attorneys (Bruce Gilmore and Michael Ford) for Chatham and Harwich are working on the final version of the Purchase & Sale Agreement. It is to be signed by the Board of Selectmen on October 21.
- A site visit for grant funders is planned for Wednesday at 2 p.m.
- A general site visit, to include CPC members, will be planned in the near future.
Item 5: New Business
Underground Utilities in West Chatham
Debbie Aikman and Richard Gulich, co-chairs of the Main Street Underground Utility Advisory Committee, presented information about a project to have wiring placed underground in the West Chatham area. The committee is working to determine costs and timing of possible underground wiring installation in coordination with construction along Route 28, expected to be completed in three years.
It was noted that several other towns in Massachusetts (Hingham and North Andover) have used CPA funds for similar projects, protecting historic views and vistas. The initial focus would be to remove poles between the Dunkin’ Donuts building and the Hess Station – 14 poles. Any request for CPA funds would be for design and engineering costs.
John Kaar indicated that he would want to consult with the Community Preservation Coalition in determining whether this is an appropriate use of CPA funds. There would need to be a determination by the Historic Commission regarding the “historic” nature of the West Chatham corridor.
Jane Moffatt indicated that other projects would have to be weighed against the value of underground wiring. Ira Seldin agreed that this proposal would need to be evaluated in light of other CPC applications.
Cedar Street Site Visit
John Kaar reported that the Conservation Department is planning to do some work (removal of invasive species and trail improvements) on the Cedar Street property. A site visit for CPC members has been scheduled for Monday, October 18 at 4 pm.
Heritage Landscape Inventory
Jane Moffatt reported that a meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Community Center to discuss the Heritage Landscape Inventory project.
Item 6: Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
NEXT MEETING: Monday, November 1 at 4 p.m.
Notes by Marie Williams