Council To Take Up CPC Recommendations

The City Council will consider approving funding for four proposals through the Community Preservation Act at its next meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.

At Monday night’s meeting, the council moved four recommendations from the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to a second reading for a vote at its next meeting.

At its Dec. 15 meeting, the CPC recommended approval of three applications and partial approval for a fourth application, according to CPC Chair Juan Vega.

Those recommendations include $100,000 for the Chelsea Restoration Corporation, $30,000 for Communidades Enraizades/Community Land Trust, $100,000 for Housing Families, and $246,000 for Temple Emmanuel.

“Again, by statute, the Council may affirm, reject, or lower the amounts of the Committee’s recommendations,” stated Vega.

The Chelsea Restoration Corporation proposal is for a first-time homebuyers program. According to the organization’s project summary, the program will prepare participants to become homeowners and potential landlords. The grant will prepare 60 low-income Chelsea families to purchase their first home through workshop coordination and pre- and post-purchase counseling in English and Spanish.

The Communidades Enraizades/Community Land Trust funding would be used for predevelopment costs that help assess the viability of acquiring new properties in the land trust’s portfolio to be used for permanently affordable housing.

Housing Families is looking to use their funds for direct financial assistance for Chelsea residents in need of rental assistance, security deposits, and first and last month’s rent in order to retain or obtain housing.

The CPC voted to recognize the Temple Emmanuel applications as two separate requests. The $246,000 is to preserve the Temple to ensure residents’ safety when accessing the historic resource. The applicant also requested $92,100 to begin designing a 10,000-square-foot neighborhood park in Cary Square.

In the 2016 general election, Chelsea voters voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act and impose a 1.5 percent surcharge on residential and commercial properties with exemptions for low- and moderate-income homeowners. Per the Preservation Plan, 25 percent of the fiscal year funds are allocated to both open space/recreation and historic preservation, while 40 percent is allocated to affordable housing. The remaining 10 percent is utilized as administrative and undesignated funds.

While not directly related to the CPC requests, Councilor-at-Large Brian Hatleberg said he would like to see the council have a larger conversation at some point about money the city has in the Community Preservation, Affordable Housing, and other funds.

“There is a lot of work that has been done into what is to be done with that money, but much of that money is still sitting in the buckets that it was originally put in,” said Hatleberg. “It hasn’t been spent, and I know many of us feel that the best time to spend money on affordable housing or open space or any kind of community project is yesterday, and the next best time is today. I would love to find the money for the next great project when it comes, but I want to spend the money that we are allocating now so we can do some good in the community.”

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