The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 9, 2008

Town approves all CPA funding requests

Speaking for Motion 7, Selectman John Williams made the point that 600 houses would be built if the town relies on private 40B developments to create the 150 units of affordable housing mandated by the state, since 40Bs typically include three market-rate homes for each affordable unit. (Photo by Rik Pierce).

Town Meeting on May 5 made fairly quick work of all seven motions put forth by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) appropriating $569,500 in Community Preservation Funds to five projects. Each motion required a majority vote and each passed by a wide margin.

Motion 1 Housekeeping

The town voted to appropriate funds from the FY09 Community Preservation Fund estimated revenues to the various Community Preservation Fund accounts. Community Preservation Funds, which are collected via a 2% real estate tax surcharge through the Community Preservation Act (CPA), were matched dollar for dollar by the state last year. Town Meeting voted to appropriate $53,652 to the Community Housing Reserve Fund, $53,652 to the Historic Reserve Fund, $147,000 to the debt service principle payment for the Benfield Land purchase (of which $53,652 is from Open Space Fund and $93,348 from the undesignated fund), $37,770 to debt service interest payment, $5,000 for administrative expenses and $239,446 to the Community Preservation Budgeted Reserve.

CPC Chair Kelly Guarino presented the motions under Article 21. (Photo by Rik Pierce)

Motion 2 Coventry Woods

The town voted to rescind the 2006 Town Meeting vote which had authorized spending $200,000 for building two additional units of affordable housing in the now discontinued Coventry Woods development. The Board of Selectmen and the FinCom heartily supported this request which, as CPC Chair Kelly Guarino stated, “may be the only motion this evening where we’re not spending money.”

Motion 3 Liberty Statue Restoration

The town voted to appropriate $4,000 from the Community Preservation Historical Fund (CPHF) for the cleaning and conservation of the 1883 Italian marble Liberty Statue in the town center rotary which honors the 13 Carlisle soldiers who died in the Civil War. The funds will cover the cost of a monument conservation specialist and a police detail during the work. Funds unspent by the end of 2009 will be returned to the CPHF.

Motion 4 Protection / display of historical artifacts

The town voted to appropriate $2,500 from the CPHF for tools and storage materials of archival quality to store and display historic maps and textiles (including historic banners, flags and clothing) relating to the history of Carlisle. Funds unspent by the end of 2009 will be returned to the CPHF.

Motion 5 Gleason Library façade

The town voted to appropriate $40,000 from the CPHF to assess the level of rain water damage and to plan for preservation reconstruction of the brick façade of the 110-year-old section of the library building. Funds will be used to hire a preservation specialist to assess the repair situation, to design the plan for the preservation reconstruction and to issue and review a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the work. Funds unspent by the end of 2009 will be returned to the CPHF.

Motion 6 Upgrade Veterans Honor Roll

The town voted to appropriate $98,000 from the undesignated fund to refurbish the war memorial area and to replace the war memorials located on the Town Green. Doug Stevenson, representing the Town Honor Roll Committee (HRC), stated that the HRC’s “mission can be summed up with these few words, ‘honoring all who serve.’” Noting that the twentieth-century war memorials “do not yet include the names of veterans who have fought in the Gulf War, Iraq or Afghanistan, and that no space remains for additional names,” Stevenson added, “38 veterans have requested to have their names added to the new honor roll.” Despite questions about the cost, when it came time for a vote Town Meeting passed the motion handily. The HRC plans to dedicate the new honor roll on Memorial Day, 2009. Funds unspent by the end of 2010 will be returned to the undesignated fund.

Motion 7 Benfield Infrastructure

The town voted to appropriate $425,000 from the undesignated fund to develop the infrastructure on Benfield Parcel A on South Street. This land is slated for 26 units of affordable senior housing. John Williams, Selectman and chair of the Carlisle Housing Trust, spoke of the need for the town to be proactive in developing affordable housing, “Fighting developers is not the way to accomplish what we need to accomplish.” By addressing affordable housing needs rather than waiting for another 40B developer, the town will be better able to protect its open space and water supply.

Williams added that changing the planned development to senior housing, rather than family housing, addressed neighborhood concerns by reducing the footprint by 40%. “There is clearly a need for senior housing in Carlisle. The demand is high. We have 11 Carlisle residents who are on a waiting list for a development that hasn’t even been started yet.”

Housing Authority Chair Alan Lehotsky said the town is nearly ready to issue a request for developer proposals for the housing project. He expects all units will be affordable at the Area Median Income (AMI) and at least a quarter will be affordable at 80% of the AMI. He said that all the housing units will count toward the town’s affordable housing quota.

Lehotsky explained that exact costs would not be known until a developer’s proposal was in hand, but that A.M. Fogarty and Associates had been hired to prepare a schematic site analysis. The firm estimated that site work, septic system and well construction will cost about $1.2 million, while building construction was estimated at $3 million. Once additional fees, testing and contingency funds are added, the estimated total project cost is about $4.9 million. Lehotsky said that even with Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) funding and a private mortgage, a funding gap is likely, unless the town can contribute toward the infrastructure costs.

Selectman Tim Hult said that after discussion, the Selectmen had decided to support the motion, with one abstention from an abutter. The FinCom supported the motion unanimously.

Funds unspent by the end of 2011 will be returned to the undesignated fund. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito