Present for the Community Preservation Committee and attending the meeting were: Janet Weidner, Andy Goldman, Karin Wetmore, Jane Slater, Tim Carroll and Chuck Hodgkinson. Also attending were Frank Fenner, Lenny Jason, Frank Yeomans, Dick Smith, John Ayer, Melinda Rabbitt DeFeo and Clara Rabbitt. Warren Doty and Allen Healy were absent.
The meeting came to order at 6:00 PM. Ms. Weidner opened the public hearing to review the September 26th Special Town Meeting CPA warrant articles.
Article # 1: To see if the town will vote to appropriate the sum of $550,000.00 to fund a restoration of the Tea Lane Farm House and prepare the farm for a tenant farmer; and to meet this appropriation, transfer $60,000.00 from the CPA Historic Preservation Reserve Fund; $120,000.00 from the CPA Undesignated Reserve Fund; $120,000.00 from the CPA Community Preservation Budgeted Reserve Fund; $100,000.00 from available funds in the Treasury; and $150,000.00 from the general Stabilization Fund.
There were no written comments for the record. Mr. Fenner summarized the plan for renovating the Tea Lane Farmhouse. The plan is to eventually lease the premises to a tenant farmer. He added the architectural plans were reviewed by the MV Preservation Trust as required by town voters.
Mr. Yeomans said the Finance Advisory Committee discussed the tenant farmer plan at length. He was concerned with how a tenant farmer would build equity over the long term. He added the Finance Committee has not seen the Land Bank agreement with the Town that outlines the land use criteria. He agreed the Town may need to retain ownership and lease the land to a tenant (rather than sell the property and structures with use restrictions) because of the Land Bank terms. Mr. Yeomans asked if the buildings could be sold with a land lease from the Town. If so, the Town would not have to pay for the farmhouse renovations. Mr. Fenner pointed out all of this was discussed at the Finance Committee meeting after which the Finance Committee unanimously endorsed the current plan. Mr. Yeomans
agreed he would like to see the project move forward. He just would like to see it financed differently.
Mr. Smith commented that if the Town loses control of the house and a farmer does the renovation work there is a high probability the finished product will not look like the historic house you want to preserve.
With no further public comment Ms. Weidner read the next warrant article.
Article # 6: To see if the town will vote to appropriate from the CPA Housing Reserve the sum of $2,700.00 to pay for our share of an island wide affordable housing needs assessment to be conducted by the MV Commission, this is subject to the participation of all six island towns.
Mr. Carroll mentioned Edgartown may not participate in this project and suggested amending the article on the floor to eliminate the required participation of all six towns.
Mr. Fenner asked if Chilmark will still be eligible for grants if all six towns do not participate in the study. There was no definitive answer.
After further discussion and with no further comment from the public a motion was made to close the hearing at 6:25 PM. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved with five in favor. A subsequent motion was made to reaffirm the Committee’s support for both warrant articles. The motion was seconded. In discussion it was agreed that the Committee cannot act on a possible amendment to a warrant article because the amendment can only be made on the town meeting floor and therefore, does not exist. The motion passed unanimously with five in favor.
On other business Ms. Slater mentioned the Historical Commission will send a letter to the MV Museum outlining Town Counsel’s opinion on the museum’s request for approximately $9,000 of CPA Historic Resources Reserve funds for cataloguing and restoring many historic artifacts.
MEETING MINUTES: The draft August 24, 2011 meeting minutes were approved with a minor correction by consensus.
NEXT MEETING: If necessary, the next meeting is Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 6:00 PM.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 6:45 PM.
Respectfully submitted, Chuck Hodgkinson, CAS.