Draft of Shrewsbury CPA bylaw presented to selectmen

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury – Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las presented a draft of the new Community Preservation Act (CPA) bylaw at the Feb. 23 Board of Selectmen meeting.   

Voters approved the acceptance of the CPA passage in last November’s election. The CPA will enable the town to establish, via a surcharge on the real estate tax bill, a dedicated funding source for preserving open space, historic preservation and create low and moderate income housing for individuals and families, including low or moderate income senior housing.

“We subsequently have looked at a number of other draft bylaws and bylaws that are in place in other communities that have the Community Preservation Act…” Las said. “The bylaw is actually quite a straightforward document…but there are some items that we wanted the Board to discuss…”

Discussion points include the number of committee members – five, seven or nine; whether to include the Shrewsbury Open Space Committee; and the appointing authorities of the at-large members based upon the number of committee members the Board would recommend.

Selectman John Samia reflected that last year he looked at other communities who have nine member boards which he felt have worked well and would give many members in the community an opportunity to get involved.

He recommended the inclusion of four at-large members to serve on the board.

Selectman James Kane agreed.

The board’s chair, Beth Casavant, recommended that committee members be appointed as opposed to elected because an election may put up barriers for some people.

The five designated members will include one representative from the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, the Planning Board, the Parks Recreation and Cemetery Commission, and the Housing Authority. The four at-large members will be appointed by the Board for staggered terms. 

Once the language is finalized the bylaw will be brought back to the Board for a vote. It will then be placed on the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting to be held Saturday, May 22.