The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 20, 2002


CPC favors creation of community development plan

Not all state coffers have been depleted; grant money is still available to towns for the purpose of creating a community development plan. The planning board met with the community preservation committee (CPC) on December 12 to work on Carlisle's application for a $30,000 grant, which must be submitted by the end of December. John Lee, the conservation commission's representative on the CPC, said the community development plan is "a tremendous opportunity to get some planning for the town."

The main work of the community preservation committee is to administer the distribution of funds collected under the community preservation act (CPA) tax surcharge. CPA funds may be used by the town for preservation of open space or historic sites, affordable housing or recreation facilities. Last year the state provided 100% matching funds for the money collected by Carlisle, bringing Carlisle's current CPA fund balance to over $400,000.

Kate Reid, planning board chair and CPC representative, saw the community development plan as an opportunity for the town to draw together the priorities of various boards in town. This would help the CPC develop a rationale for the best distribution of CPA funds. Reid said, "Until and unless we have some sort of yardstick to measure projects," she didn't see how the town can distribute any CPA funds.

The CPC has not yet had any formal applications by town groups interested in using CPA funds. The consensus was that it would be best to save most of the CPA funds for a large multi-use project that includes affordable housing. Reid wanted to avoid dissipating funds on many small projects and said, "I don't want to be pecked to death by ducks."

The committee favored ranking the parcels of open space in town, but they noted that landowners sell their properties for a variety of reasons and land seldom becomes available in the order in which it has been ranked by town planners. Selectman and CPC member Vivian Chaput said that "serendipity" will be involved in finding a parcel that is a good candidate for a multi-use project involving CPA funding. She would like to see CPA funds applied toward small housing developments on about 10 acres of land with a mix of market-rate and affordable housing units, all set back from the road to preserve the rural vista.

The next meeting of the community preservation committee is scheduled for Wednesday, January 8, 2003.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito