Smart Growth and Open Space Protection: The Community Preservation Act in Massachusetts Robert S. Bristow Geography and Regional Planning Matthew T. Van Heynigen Public Administration Westfield State College, Massachusetts, USA ABSTRACT: Threatening urban sprawl creates OBJECTIVES: In 2002, Southwick’s citizens DATA: Fifty communities out of the 351 The Community Preservation Act is state- a need for protecting open space. This poster il- voted to accept the Massachusetts Commu- found in Massachusetts were selected for our wide enabling legislation to allow cities and lustrates the findings of a survey administered in nity Preservation Act. This act helps commu- study. Twenty five communities have adopted towns to exercise control over local planning Southwick Massachusetts for the preparation of nities plan for smart growth by providing the CPA and twenty five have yet to do so. decisions. This legislation strengthens and em- a Community Open Space and Recreation Plan. funds for the preservation of open space, Standard socio-economic data were collected powers Massachusetts communities: These data are then compared to other commu- affordable housing and historic land- from US Census and the Commonwealth of nities in the state in order to anticipate addi- marks. To date, 104 of the 351 communities Massachusetts and includes total population All decisions are local. tional acceptance of a statewide initiative to pro- in Massachusetts have adopted the CPA. (2000), age, household income, educational Local people must vote by ballot to adopt the Act. tect open space. attainment and home ownership. Our hy- Local legislatures must appoint a committee of lo- pothesis is that communities with higher val- cal people to draw up plans for use of the funds. These plans are subject to local comment and ap- ues of population, education, income and proval. If residents don’t feel the CPA is working home ownership will be more likely to support as they expected, they can repeal it. the CPA. Descriptive Statistics The Community Preservation Act provides new N Minimum Maximum Mean St d. Dev iation Med_Househ_Income 50 33750 107934 54638.90 13150.863 funding sources which can be used to address Bachelors_or_Higher Age_35_44 y rs 50 50 98 85 9085 6301 1836.34 1407.54 2039.591 1439.642 three core community concerns: Race_White 50 415 37881 7846.98 8494.741 Total_Pop 50 426 40072 8371.96 9309.965 Tenure (Owner-Occ 50 146 10030 2221.84 2250.557 Acquisition and preservation of open space Housing Units) Valid N (listwise) 50 Creation and support of affordable housing Acquisition and preservation of historic buildings An independent samples t-test was employed and landscapes Southwick has an average household income to see if there is a significant difference be- of $52,296 (US), fourteen percent of the citi- tween communities adopting the CPA based on (Source: Massachusetts Community Preservation Act) zens have a bachelors degree or higher, demographic characteristics. All variables were twenty one percent are between 35-44 years significant at the 0.01 level. The demographic of age, seventy six percent own their homes characteristics of Southwick are found to be and it is ninety seven percent white. South- consistent with this analysis. Similar towns will wick citizens favor open space procurement . likely adopt the CPA. Crosstab Variable F value Significance t-test Count Household 7.398 0.009 3.061 Recoded Residence 21 or more Income 0-5 Years 5- 10 Years 11-20 Years Years Total BS or higher 13.882 0.001 4.659 Resident ial Yes 27 19 20 31 97 Growth No 31 21 32 68 152 Age 35-44 11.524 0.001 4.356 Total 58 40 52 99 249 Population 12.067 0.001 3.930 A significant relationship is found between Own Home 9.730 0.003 4.008 Southwick is a “bedroom” community of nine length of residence and a preference for resi- Group Statistics thousand on the fringe between large metro- dential growth. Longer time residents appear Std. Error politan areas (Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT) to be against this. Gamma = 0.213 (p=0.05) Med_Househ_Income CPA_noCPA 1 N 25 Mean 59899.96 Std. Dev iat ion 15460.030 Mean 3092.006 and expansive public lands. With a current 2 25 49377.84 7511.313 1502.263 Symmetric Measures Bachelors_or_Higher 1 25 2963.08 2294.788 458.958 Massachusetts Open Space Protection: population of 9,000, should the community be 2 25 709.60 763.060 152.612 Massachusetts Community Preservation, Asy mp. a b Age_35_44 y rs 1 25 2166.08 1607.466 321.493 http://commpres.env.state.ma.us “built-out” to current zoning, we might find the Ordinal by Ordinal Gamma Value .213 Std. Error .095 Approx. T 2.195 Approx. Sig. .028 2 25 649.00 669.951 133.990 Community Preservation Act, Total_Pop 1 25 12919.64 10768.966 2153.793 population peaking at 29,000! Given this poten- N of Valid Cases a. Not assuming the null hy pothesis. 249 2 25 3824.28 4231.491 846.298 http://www.communitypreservation.org Preservation Massachusetts, tial, we selected this town as a case study. b. Using the asy mptotic standard error assuming the null hy pothesis. Tenure (Owner-Occ Housing Units) 1 2 25 25 3354.00 1089.68 2522.515 1143.496 504.503 228.699 http://www.preservationmass.org Trust for Public Lands, http://www.tpl.org Author Contact Information: DISCUSSION: This research has identified some of the characteristics that may define those Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, communities more likely to support the CPA. Communities with higher household income, http://www.chapa.org/ Robert S. Bristow, Ph.D., Professor of Geography & Regional Plan- Center for Rural Massachusetts, ning and Interim Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, higher education, middle age, larger population and more likely to own homes were more likely http://www.umass.edu/ruralmass/ Westfield State College, 577 Western Avenue, Westfield, MA 01086 to adopt the CPA. The data can be used to target the next communities that may have a fa- Southwick Open Space and Recreation Demand Survey firstname.lastname@example.org http://river.wsc.ma.edu/southwick vorable acceptance of the Community Preservation Act.