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Community Preservation Committee
Minutes of Public Meeting
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Hingham Town Hall
Members Present: Chairman Dan Coughlin, Bob Curley, Sally Weston,
Gary Tondorf-Dick, Jim Watson, Kathleen Peters
Absent: Bill Reardon, Bruce Rabuffo
Vacant Position: 1
Chairman Dan Coughlin called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
He welcomed new CPC member Kathleen Peters, who was appointed by the Selectmen for a three year term. Mr. Coughlin then introduced Carol Costello, who will provide additional administrative support. Ms. Costello assists Project Engineer Roger Fernandes.
The minutes from 12/14/11 were approved as amended.
Dan Coughlin reported that Andrea Young has been given two additional hours to accomplish her administrative responsibilities for CPC, increasing her hours from seven to nine hours per week. Carol Costello will provide five hours of administrative assistance weekly in addition to her correct role in Project Engineering. The additional hours for both Ms. Young and Ms. Costello will be paid from the CPC Administrative account.
Summary of Applications for 2012 Funding
Chairman Coughlin reviewed CPC finances. More funds are being requested than are currently available. CPC may not be able to fund requests in full. He again asked project proponents to review estimates carefully and to identify any opportunities to reduce the amount of their requests.
Review of Current (2012) Project Applications
John Thomas from the Harbor Development Committee provided additional information on the history of the harbor. He noted that CPC classified the current application to construct a bridge in the Recreation category and asked that the CPC recognizes the history of the harbor as it considers the project. Ms. Peters asked whether objections voiced at previous Town Meetings regarding this project had been addressed. Mr. Coughlin responded that Mr. Reardon is working with Harbor Development to address potential issues.
¬Bel Air Road Acquisition
Mr. Coughlin reported that he contacted the project proponents to determine the status of the half acre parcel. The property is on MLS and there has been one offer one offer on the property thus far. Mr. Coughlin asked the proponents to consider donating the property to the Town and taking a tax deduction. The proponents were not willing to consider that option.
Scotland Street Meadow and Accord Brook Property Acquisitions
Conservation Officer Cliff Prentiss and Conservation Committee Member Charlie Berry presented information on the two parcels being considered as Open Space acquisitions. Scotland Street Meadow is 9.75 acres, abuts current conservation land, and contains many species of wildlife. The meadow has been proposed as a location for housing under Chapter 40B. Mr. Prentiss stated that is a concern because so much of South Hingham is already impermeable. The Accord Brook Property is 34.1 acres in size and is mostly wetlands. Mr. Prentiss explained the importance of the property to the Town's water supply. Mr. Berry stated that the owner of the property may be open to payment over several years. The owner also wishes to retain a one acre buildable lot fronting on Main Street. The committee also discussed the possibility of configuring a lot for affordable housing. Susan Berry, Chairman of the Open Space Acquisition Committee reinforced the importance of open space to the Town, and the importance of both properties to the Town's water supply.
Ames Chapel Restoration
The project proponents emphasized that the restored chapel will be available for use by the public. One of the current constraints affecting the project is the septic system. The Hingham Cemetery Corporation has an endowment that seems somewhat unrestricted; the corporation obtained mitigation money from the MBTA for effects relating to construction of the Greenbush rail line.
¬Heritage Museum and Visitor Center
Project Manager Bob Curley said that the project offers the Town a history of unparalled value; and that there is a pressing need to preserve the 200 year old Old Derby Academy. Mark Cullings representing the Historical Society's project commented that Old Derby is a resource that is hiding in plain sight. Building plans for the proposed addition are currently being revised, and a philanthropic marketing study is being conducted. The Society maintains 10,000 items with no place to exhibit them. The proposal is to restore the existing building, construct an addition and make Old Derby accessible.
Mark Thorell reminded the committee that the project has been reduced in scope and will be broken into phases. The initial phase, for which funding is being sought, will be to make the building structurally sound. The idea is to preserve the asset for the Town. Questions to be answered include: How pressing is the need for restoration? What will happen to the building if the Rec Department moves?
Liberty Plain Cemetery
Bob Curley said that the project to preserve grave markers of Revolutionary War, Civil War, and other veterans is needed. Many of the markers are in very poor shape and will continue to deteriorate unless they are treated and conserved. The Liberty Plain Cemetery Corp. has minimal funds. The question was raised, why are only veterans' markers being conserved?
Preservation Projects Fund
The history of the fund was discussed. Andrea Young met with Bill Reardon to prepare a document showing how the previous CPC appropriation has been spent. Chairman Coughlin mentioned that Fr. Bill's was the first project to enter into a grant agreement with the Town; and that it would be a good idea for all projects to enter into the same type of agreement going forward.
Town Historical Collections
This is a multiple year project. An archivist will be hired to catalog the Town's documents. The biggest challenge is how to record the documents in a way that will anticipate future technology.
Hingham Centre Cemetery Fence
The request is for funds to add 100 ft. of fence to the recently installed wrought iron fence. The proposed additional fence will run along the boundary between the cemetery and the former Tree and Park barn.
Tree and Park Barn
The proposal is to restore sections of the exterior in need of repair and to preserve the building by painting the exterior.
Chairman Coughlin asked the committee to approve paying annual dues to the Community Preservation Coalition. The dues increased from $2,500 last year to $3,000 this year. Mr. Coughlin commented that the coalition has been extremely helpful and responsive over the years, and is an exceptional resource for the CPC. The committee voted unanimously to pay the annual dues.
Mr. Coughlin said that it will be necessary to hold two public hearings to give the proponents an opportunity for a full presentation. The hearings will be on February 1 and February 15.
Mr. Coughlin stated the committee go into executive session to discuss the open space acquisitions and will not return to open session.
Chairman Coughlin adjourned the meeting at 8:50 P.M.
The CPC will meet next on Wednesday, February 1, 2012.