Preservation Act Moves Forward

Rochester is already making plans for its next Town Meeting, likely taking place in the fall, as the Conservation Commission voted on Tuesday to put forth an article asking residents to pass the Community Preservation Act.

The CPA is a state law passed in 2000 that allows communities to establish a local fund to support affordable housing, parks and recreation (including athletic fields), open spaces and historic resources. Those municipalities that do adopt the act – currently 155 across Massachusetts – also receive matching funds from the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund each year.

Rochester defeated the measure in 2006, but Conservation Commission Chairman Rosemary Smith is hopeful in 2013.

“I’m excited about this,” said Smith. “There are a lot of projects in town that could use the funds. This is money that we’re missing out on.”

Participating towns and cities raise CPA funds through a surcharge on property taxes. Smith said that the Rochester article would ask voters for a 1.5 percent increase (3 percent is the maximum), an average of $47 per homeowner annually.

Elsewhere on the agenda, Commissioners authorized Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon to apply for a $20,000 mini-grant to initiate protection of the McCarty Property on Buzzards Bay.

The Commission also briefly discussed the flood plain bylaw revision, which will come before Rochester at its next Town Meeting.

The previously scheduled meeting for July 2 has been canceled.

By Shawn Badgley

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