"My concern is with the committee and selection process… Any project the CPA panel selects should make sure the people and neighborhoods (affected) know about and approve of it. And do it before bringing it to the Town Council. Do mailings, social media, print news. Residents are getting tired of being blind sided. Otherwise, it seems OK. Anything to slow down development and preserve the character of the town. Good luck."
One of the criteria typically required of an applicant for CPA funding is to demonstrate community support for the project. Typically, this consists of letters and committee votes in the relevant areas: i.e., if it’s a playground, a letter of recommendation from Recreation; if it’s a project to restore a Town-owned historic site, a vote of the Historical Commission along with a letter; if it’s a proposal to purchase property for open space, then a recommendation from the Open Space Committee and the Conservation Commission.
But letters of support from abutters are also important to the success of the application on projects which are going to directly impact a particular neighborhood, for example, the preservation of an open space parcel.
Each town's Community Preservation Committee is required to hold an annual town-wide forum to get feedback from the public, to hear what projects are being considered and to find out what residents would like to see accomplished. Often, the timeline for accepting applications is coordinated with the date of the annual forum, in order to facilitate an efficient approval process. Because Franklin has a Town Council, it has a lot more flexibility on the timing than a Town Meeting town does. This is particularly helpful when the Town needs to react quickly, as it would if a parcel of open space came up for sale.
The bottom line is that it is called the Community Preservation Act for a reason: because it involves the community, rather than excluding it.
If you have a question about how the Community Preservation Act (CPA) works, please email CPA4Franklin@gmail.com.