ABOUT TOWN: Community Preservation Act Workshop Draws Large Crowd

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e-mail to pmpco@aol.com.

A BUSY WORKSHOP: Santa’s Elves aren’t the only ones busy in a workshop. Monday night, the Community Preservation Act Workshop drew a large gathering in the Great Hall on the third floor of Town Hall. 

For three hours, the crowd ate, talked, and shared their vision of what Stoughton’s CPA dollars should fund. 

The Community Preservation Act levied a small tax on all real estate transactions.  Funds can be used by the town for Historic Preservation & Resources; Affordable Community Housing, Open Space, and Recreation. 

CPA Committee Chairman John Morton said he was looking to accomplish more than the usual public hearings. He told the gathering: “Look around the room, and you see the heart of what makes Stoughton work.”  

Morton also reported the news that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) in their wisdom (?), had rejected the approval of two articles passed at Town Meeting in May, 2011, which approved approximately $25,000 of CPA funds for automated doors at the Capen Street Housing Authority building, as well as the creation of “an emergency shelter” for a family there.  Morton said the CPA Committee “would look into” the DOR decision.

The , which was also , is the subject of an Executive Session Tuesday night at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting. 

According to Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone, rumors that the Board is trying to nix the sale are false. “We still intend to purchase the property,” he said. 

Before a presentation by Jennifer Goldson, owner of JM Goldson Community Preservation and Planning in Roslindale, dinner was served to all participants.  They were treated to salad, pasta, meatballs and chicken parmesan, from the Sons of Italy crew of Mike Sammarco, Dennis Gada, Al Venterosa, and Nancy Patterson; with an assist from Denise Lochiatto of Town Hall.

Demographics of the 70+ individuals in the room last night were interesting.  Goldson asked a series of questions, and participants recorded their votes on a transponder.  Seventy-one percent (71%) of the people there last night served on a town board as a town meeting representative, and 63 percent had attended a meeting at least once a month.  Eighty percent (80%) of participants were 45-74 years old, and 96% lived in single family homes. 

It wasn’t a real picture of the demographics of our town, but Goldson said it is typical of participants in the program elsewhere.

Stoughton has four historic areas (Stoughton Square, Dry Pond, South Stoughton Farm and area) and 109 historic resources on State inventory. And, it’s not just buildings that are included. It is burial grounds, farmland, and even documents.  

As far as affordable housing, Stoughton is above the required 10% (the latest figures showing 13.8%) of inventory. However, Goldson noted that 43% of Stoughton’s households are considered "low income” by State definition. Stoughton has 1,489 affordable units, of which 88 percent are rentals.
Many great ideas were presented by participants.  Suggestions included purchasing the Lipsky property (land by ); the property next to the (), and the old Fleming property on Rt. 138, which is currently owned by a Church in Canton.  

Suggestions for more athletic fields, skating areas, cross-country skiing, and a lot more were presented. Goldson will produce an overview of everything discussed, and we’ll post it for you to read, when available.   

Faces in the Crowd (other than CPA Committee members):  Selectmen John Anderson, Cynthia Walsh and John Stagnone; Town Moderator Howard Hansen; School Committee member George Dolinsky; Town Engineer Ben Fehan; Assessors Leo Fahey and Stan Zoll; Patch columnist Christine Iacobucci; Stoughton Fire Dept. Lt. Jim Curtin; Finance Committee Chairman Holly Boykin; Town Planner Noreen O’Toole, Former Selectmen Tony Sousa and Ed DeFelice; and Stoughton Environmental Affairs Officer James Conlon.  


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To former Stoughton Little League President Dan Skiba and to Amy Griffing, Rehab Director at People First Rehab.


Dwight Mac Kerron November 30, 2011 at 12:19 PM
It really was encouraging to have so many serious people gathered together to share their ideas for community preservation. There was plenty of collective group experience of Town Government and the history of some of these issues being addressed, or not addressed. The next step is to put forth some proposals, and the CPC using guidelines which emerged at the workshop as guided by the criteria set by the CPA, will do its job and approve or disapprove. Improvements and upkeep at Glen Echo, when we get it, will obviously be important.
Forrest Lindwall November 30, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Excellent coverage of the evening Mark. It was definitely an enthusiastic gathering and the process, as organized by the CPC and Jennifer their consultant, was the key to success--and the great food.


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