UPDATED: Framingham Community Preservation Committee To Meet For First Time

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FRAMINGHAM – The newly-created Community Preservation Committee will meet for the first time on Wednesday, July 28.

The 9-member Committee was created by the City Council in 2021, after November 2020 Framingham voters adopted the Community Preservation Act via a ballot question ballot question 19,078 to 11,414.

Framingham became the 178th community in the Commonwealth to adopt the Community Preservation Act. the adoption allowed the City to charge a 1% tax on property owners to pay for open space, historic preservation, recreation and community housing development projects.

The 9-member Committee will be responsible for approving projects.

Under the City Council ordinance the Community Preservation Committee will “study and maintain a listing of the needs, possibilities and resources of the City regarding community preservation. The Committee shall consult with existing municipal boards, including the conservation commission, the historical commission, the planning board, the parks commissioners and the housing authority, or persons acting in those capacities or performing like duties, in conducting such studies.”

The Committee also will “review relevant master plans and studies prepared by municipal officers to better understand land use needs” and “develop along-term and short-term community preservation program and financial plan for Framingham that identifies goals and needs, establishes priorities, and sets criteria for evaluating proposed projects. The financial plan shall include a multi-year revenue and expenditure forecast, including identifying other available public or private financing sources. The program and financial plan shall be reviewed and updated annually to reflect changes in the community’s needs, priorities and resources.

The City Council also determined the makeup of the 9-member Committee, which includes four appointments by the City Council., which were made in June.

The City Council appointed  former District Councilor Judith Grove, former Planning Board chair Thomas Mahoney, Eastleigh Farm owner Doug Stephan, and District 6 resident Liz Kaprielian, who has been active with the Rotary Club and Access Framingham.

Mayor Yvonne Spicer vetoed the make-up of the Committee, arguing that the Mayor and not the City’s legislative branch of government, the Council should make the citizen appointments.

The Mayor appoints multiple-member boards and commissions, and the other 5 members of the Community Preservations Committee come from those appointed boards, committees, and commissions.

Those 5 members are:

The City Council overrode the veto in a 10-1 vote.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the executive conference room at the Memorial Building. The public may attend in person or via Zoom.

The meeting will begin with City Clerk Lisa Ferguson swearing in the Committee members. The Committee will also vote on a chair and vice chair, and other officers. The Committee is also expected to select a meeting schedule at its first meeting.

The Committee eventually will “solicit applications throughout all neighborhoods within Framingham, providing application information and assistance with such application to residents in every neighborhood without exception. The Committee shall provide technical assistance on the application process and keep and maintain public records of all project applications proposed, rejected and approved posted on the Municipal
Bulletin Board. The Committee is not obligated to recommend that the Council approve funding for a project simply because the project is eligible for CPA funding.”

On or before February 1, 2022 the Community Preservation Committee shall bring forward those recommended projects for fund appropriations to the Council as follows:
a. acquisition, creation and preservation of open space;
b. acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic properties/resources ;
c. acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of land for recreational use;
d. acquisition, creation, preservation and support of affordable community housing; and,
e. rehabilitation or restoration of open space and affordable community housing that is acquired or created with the Fund.

Project recommendations shall include the timeline for implementation, anticipated project cost, appropriation requested, and all other funding sources. With respect to affordable community housing, the Committee shall recommend, wherever possible, the redevelopment of existing buildings or construction of new buildings on existing sites. Notwithstanding, the Committee may, upon a two-thirds vote of the Committee,
bring additional recommendations for projects for appropriations to the Council during any given fiscal year. These recommendations shall require a two-thirds vote of the full Council for approval.

“The Committee may include set aside funds for future use where sufficient funds are not available at the time. Such recommendation to the Council for deferred spending of monies shall be earmarked for specific purposes consistent with community preservation. Alternatively, the Committee may recommend action to set aside monies for later spending for general purposes that are consistent with the Act,” according to the City ordinance.

By April 1, 2022, the Community Preservation Committee shall “submit to the Mayor and the Council, an annual administrative and operating budget for the Committee for the next fiscal year, which shall not exceed five percent (5%) of that year’s estimated annual Fund revenues. The Council shall vote on said request by June 30.”

To join the meeting remotely:

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