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Community Preservation Committee


The primary mission of the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is to protect and enhance Nahant’s unique character as a coastal residential community by facilitating efforts to preserve historic places and structures, to retain and protect open spaces, to increase and/or develop lands available for recreational use and to seek creative solutions to the problem of affordable housing in Nahant.

The CPC’s process is consistent with the terms of the CPA. The Committee was formed to study and recommend to Town Meeting plans and proposals regarding the expenditure of Nahant’s CPA revenues. The committee serves as a reliable, predictable, and flexible clearing house for community preservation ideas, plans, and activities recognizing its responsibility to represent the common interests and greater good of the Town.

In line with this, the CPC views itself as a facilitator, advisor and agent for funding recommendations. Town departments, civic organizations, and property owners will be solicited for funding proposals. The committee, in turn, will provide plans and recommendations to the Town Meeting incorporating ideas and proposals that appear to best serve Nahant’s community preservation needs.

An Introduction to the Community Preservation Act

An Introduction to the Community Preservation Act in Nahant

The Community Preservation Act (the “CPA” or the “Act,” M.G.L. 44B) allows any city or Town in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts to adopt a property tax surcharge with revenues from this surcharge (and state matching funds) devoted to open space, historic preservation, affordable housing, and recreation. The first three of these areas must receive an allocation of at least 10% of each year’s revenues. Open Space includes land for recreation, and as of July 2012 revenues may be appropriated for rehabilitation and capital improvements on land designation for recreational use.

Nahant was the sixty-second (62nd) community to accept the CPA at a Special Town Election in April 2004. The Act passed by a vote of 374-270. This action added a 3% surcharge to Town property taxes, with an exemption for the first $100,000 of moderate-income senior housing. The surcharge went into effect at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2005 (i.e. July 1, 2004-June 30, 2005). 175 communities have adopted CPA, 50% of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.

Consistent with the terms of the CPA and with a bylaw adopted at Nahant’s 2004 Annual Town Meeting, a Community Preservation Committee (the “CPC”) was formed to study and recommend how Nahant’s CPA revenues should be spent. One of the CPC’s first acts was to develop a mission statement.

This Year’s Committee

This Year’s Committee

This report represents two years of activity for FY2021 and FY2022 as the 2021 Town Meeting did not consider the FY21 CPC recommendations in consideration of COVID and the goal of only dealing with critical municipal issues at the September 2021 Town Meeting. Therefore the upcoming Town Meeting scheduled for May 15, 2021, will address FY21 and FY22 CPC grant recommendations.

The CPC for 2020, appointed by the Selectmen, currently consisted of three at-large members (Paul Spirn, Ellen Goldberg, Austin Antrim) and representatives of the Town’s Conservation Commission (Ellen Steeves), Historical Commission (Lynne Spencer), Housing Authority (Mickey Long), Planning Board (Mirjana Maksimoic), Open Space Committee (Dana Sheehan).

For 2021, Nancy Cantelmo joined the Committee as a representative of Open Space as Dana has been appointed to the Advisory & Finance Committee. There is one vacancy, which in the past has been represented by a member of the Recreation Committee. Lynne Spencer was elected Chair in 2018, succeeding Carl Easton who served as chair with dedication through December 31, 2017. Paul Spirn serves as Vice Chair/Clerk while Ellen Goldberg serves as financial administrator for the Committee.

In preparation for the 2020 Annual Town Meeting, the CPC held numerous meetings, first to review and analyze the Town’s resources as well as to identify the needs and possibilities for community preservation activities to enhance open space, affordable housing, historic preservation, and recreation in the Town.