Town of Easton Community Preservation Act Committee Meeting Minutes Date: Location: March 12, 2009 Mary Connolly Meeting Room
Members in Attendance: Patricia Hunt, Ed Hands, Doug Mullen, John Grant, Christine Santoro, Len Cidado, Lee Williams, Colleen Less, Dennis Sheedy Members not in Attendance: Others in Attendance: Tony Pires, Harold Gershman, Fred Ames, Dick Dailey, Carol DeLorey, Alice Savage, Elaine Dahlgren, Mary Donovan Call to Order: Meeting called to order by Hunt at 7:08 PM. Approval of Minutes: Motion by Hunt to amend minutes of 2/12/09 to state permanent rather than lifetime restriction on Brockton Housing & add Mullen to members not in attendance, 2nd Williams, approved unanimously, with Santoro and Mullen abstaining. Community Preservation Issues: Housing: Sheedy – Easton Housing Authority submitted proposal regarding stimulus package, disappointing outcome, no money to be had by housing authority. Williams – extensive info received from Stuart Saginor at the coalition on buying housing restrictions on existing homes to create affordable housing. Savage said Easton’s Housing Trust has been formed and will meet with CPA in near future. Hunt asked if specific towns have done this before and how many units of affordable housing are needed in Easton. Savage stated 500 units are needed. Williams stated as soon as a restriction is placed on a home, it counts as an affordable housing unit. Alice stated a buy-down program counts, however there’s an application process to be adhered to. Hunt stated further research is needed and that the CPA Committee needs to establish a group to research affordable housing buy-down programs. Santoro stated Alice Savage, the town planner, is a great resource for this information. Savage stated other communities have a housing staff person in-house, and funds are designated per year for an affordable housing program. Criteria have to be set up regarding eligibility requirements, local preference, etc. An Affordable Housing Trust is being set-up in town and plans to set up an action plan for the 1st year of the trust. Grant suggested paying elderly people to stay in their own homes, offer $25,000, owner signs restriction, and home would then count as affordable housing. This would help elderly with the ability to stay in their own homes. Savage stated an RFQ is to be submitted Monday to hire a consultant at a cost of $10,000. The Trust was formed after the CPA deadline, and therefore did not request funds from CPA to help defray costs, but has its own funding to pay for it. Taunton Home Consortium has a program available for
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elderly funding with no interest loans. Typically Easton residents do not qualify or get approval as they have Condos which do not apply stated Savage. CPA needs a consultant to get the committee’s questions answered regarding which programs are working, what’s legal, etc. Hunt suggested possibly working in conjunction with same consultant hired for the Trust. Savage stated the next Affordable Housing Trust meeting is 4/29 and consultant applications will be reviewed at that time. Cidado and Williams will attend the meeting on 4/29. Conservation: Grant - no update.
Historic: Hands – most of meeting spent going over warrant article to revise the demolition review bylaw. Recreation: Cidado - reviewed 2008 open space and recreation plan, and looking at the 5 year action plan. Recreation Dept. is excited to be involved in the action plan. Planning & Zoning: Santoro – amending zoning laws and bylaws, and amending regulations. Maps are being updated. Skate Park - Tony Pires: Hunt stated the opinion was received back from the Community Preservation Coalition on this project’s eligibility and a copy was provided to Mr. Pires and the committee. It stated that the skate park project is not fundable per the Dept. of Revenue. After some discussion, Motion Williams, 2nd Sheedy, agreed that project is not eligible under existing law, unanimous, with Santoro abstaining.
Hunt thanked applicant for his interest in helping the youth of the Town. Historic Survey - Ed Hands: Historical Commission supports the application for funding. This application will research and support the expansion of the North Easton Historic District. Hunt stated the town accountant recommended a separate warrant article as this is a 3-year project. EHC will request Mass Historic funds and it is his intention to use those funds towards the cost of the survey. The application is for CPA funds over 3 years for a total of $88,000. If the Mass Historic grant is received, the costs will be reduced to approximately $28,000. Hands stated funding the whole amount secures that the entire survey will be done. Hands stated the Commission’s budget is too small to handle cost and would only fund surveying a few houses at a time. Santoro asked what the likelihood is of getting the historic grant. Hands stated Mr. Galer is in contact with Mass Historical, and will not know until April if funds are available. Motion Williams, 2nd Santoro, to support 3 year funding at $88,000, unanimous.
Pine Grove Cemetery - Hal Gershman: Melanie DeWare not present. Hunt presented a letter from the Cemetery Commission, dated 1/30/09 but received 3/12/09, supporting
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the grant and requesting additional funding for related projects. Hunt stated the list of funding items was received from DeWare as to what is to be restored and they included physical restoration to walls, gates, and fences. The list also included performing a headstone inventory. Hunt asked the Coalition whether a headstone inventory would be considered eligible and the answer was only if it is part of a project to restore historic headstones. Melanie will need to research how project could be done. Hunt asked if it makes a difference who owns the headstones – can town fix headstones it does not own without owner’s permission. The Cemetery Commission’s letter referred to CPA funding for cutting down trees and creating more grave sites. Hunt stated the funding for tree cutting is not listed on the application before the committee. Hunt stated the items that we know are eligible in the application could be approved with conditions – (1) historical commission determination that this is a historically significant cemetery and that it supports funding for this project; (2) acceptance of gift of cemetery by Town, (3) receipt of cost estimates for work, (4) work to be overseen by historic commission. Cidado suggested tabling a decision and resubmit application with added issues. Hunt stated warrant articles are due by 3/27 and there is a time issue with reapplying. Hands stated the Historical Commission is meeting Monday night and could discuss these issues with the Cemetery Commission. Santoro asked if $30,000 is a good estimate of cost. Less stated we could fund up to $30,000. Santoro asked if project is not funded this time around, does that pose a problem. Gershman stated he’s heard nothing regarding cutting of trees - it is not a part of their application. Hunt asked if it is legal to restore headstones and stated she’s not comfortable with gravestone inventory being approved for funding. Santoro stated project is worthy; however application information is not adequate enough to approve funding. Less suggested enough information has been provided for work that could be done in stages. Gershman stated gravestone inventory is not part of the application and is a separate project. He stated after town meeting, when gift of cemetery is accepted by the Town, the Town would own gravestones. Motion Less, 2nd Grant, to approve project funding up to $30,000, unanimous, with the following conditions: support the restoration of iron gates, picket fence, rear boundary of stonewall (stone and mortar), top wall, iron gates entrance, stone work, iron arch, 2nd iron arch and posts, subject to finding by Historic Commission that the project is historically significant, support by Easton Historic Commission for project, acceptance by Town of gift of cemetery, cost estimates, and work to be overseen by Historic Commission in consultation with Easton Cemetery Commission.
Fred Ames – Oakes Ames Memorial Hall: Mr. Ames was asked to provide a copy of the deed, copy of historic preservation restriction, and photos of damage. He presented the restriction and photos, but not the deed. He said he would obtain that right away and get that to the committee. Hands stated the Historic Commission supports the project. Ames stated damage is at the southeast corner area where water is collecting and runs along edges and provided photos demonstrating damage. Hunt asked Hands if
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preservation restriction on property has been discussed. Hands said there is one on the property held by Mass Historic and yes the Commission would like one to run to the town as they could provide more oversight. Motion Grant, 2nd Hands, with recommendation of Historic Commission to support application in the amount of $15,700, plus the costs of recording of the restriction and other administrative costs, subject to receipt of a historic preservation restriction satisfactory to the Easton Historic Commission.
Carol DeLorey- Brockton Interfaith: Alice Savage had identified 3 possible townowned building sites, but 705 Foundry Street not a viable option due to wetland issues. 12A Highland Street and 249 Prospect Street are suitable building sites. Hunt asked about conservation lands abutting properties. Grant stated sites are not conservation properties of interest. Committee is requesting permanent restriction on affordable use. Dick Dailey of Brockton Interfaith stated the standard is a 40 year restriction. Savage stated the language used is 99 years or as reasonably possible. Dick asked about guidelines and how it’s controlled. Deed restriction is tied to HUD guidelines per Savage, and the deed is structured to include a monitoring agent. Hunt asked about Habitat for Humanity’s restrictions. DeLorey stated Habitat has restrictions and must be sold back to Habitat. The Committee is requesting financing information to ensure project is fully funded. DeLorey stated financing is not being provided as work is to be done next year. DeLorey has re-written the request and is asking for predevelopment funding from CPA in the amount of $13,600 instead of $75,000 as previously asked for. Savage stated the BOS is to hear predevelopment issue on Monday, 3/23, at their meeting. Hunt questioned if administrative funds would have to be used for predevelopment. Savage stated CPA funds could be used for predevelopment in support of housing. Santoro stated predevelopment is part of a building project. Savage read a letter written by DeLorey to the CPA for the new request, but still to include 2 lots consisting of 2 two-bedroom units and 2 three-bedroom units, for a total of 4 homes. Hunt asked what if funds were approved and land transferred to new owner but then found not to be buildable. Savage stated land would not be transferred unless permittable. A comprehensive permit needs to be issued after work is done. Hunt stated work would be subject to bidding laws on town property no matter who does the work. Savage agreed. Hunt asked why the CPA would provide funds to Brockton Interfaith/Nemehiah where they don’t own the land yet, instead of to the Town for investigative work. Dick stated the issue goes before Town meeting to receive a comprehensive permit, and then deed is transferred over after building is completed. Hunt requested new application to be submitted to the CPA Committee. Motion Williams, 2nd Santoro, to grant $13,600 to Brockton Interfaith/Nemehiah for feasibility studies for construction of affordable housing consisting of 4 units
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on 2 properties located at 12A Highland Street and 249 Prospect Street, subject to the following conditions: filing of an updated CPA application, approval of Board of Selectmen for the project, unanimous. DeLorey to submit the amended CPA application by Tuesday, 3/17. Elaine Dahlgren had questions regarding nonprofit groups. She asked who Brockton Interfaith is accountable to. They are accountable to zoning board. If project approved using taxpayer money, will only Easton residents be homeowners? DeLorey stated no, based on state law, 3 will be dedicated for Easton residents with 1 lottery applicant. Next meeting: 4/16 Motion Grant, 2nd Less, to submit budget articles to town accountant, unanimous.
Other Business: Grant reported on meeting with seller of Williams Street property. Haederle, Colton, Savage, and Grant met with the property owner, Robert Carroll a month ago to discuss options that the Town is willing to consider in lieu of Mr. Carroll attempting to build 28 affordable housing units on Williams Street: historical preservation restriction; back land sale; partnering with him as a LIP with comprehensive permit for a total of 4 units of affordable housing. Savage requesting an appraisal of Williams Street property. Motion Grant, 2nd Mullen, to approve funding for appraisal of Williams Street property, unanimous. Motion Less, 2nd Mullen, to reserve 2 warrant articles regarding 2 possible land acquisition for Town Meeting – Henderson property and Mirrione property, unanimous. Motion Grant, 2nd Mullen, to adjourn to executive session for the purpose of discussing land acquisition as such discussion may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the Town, not to return to open session, with permission granted to allow Alice Savage to attend. Roll Call vote in favor: Hunt, Grant, Hands, Mullen, Cidado, Less, Santoro, Williams, Sheedy.
____________________________________ Karen Gilbride-Raynard, Secretary Date
______________________________ Avery Lee Williams, Clerk Date
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