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Friday, August 30, 2013

Members Sought for Community Preservation Committee

Residents encouraged to apply; Committee to identify funding priorities for ~$1.5 million per year in open space, affordable housing and historic preservation projects

SOMERVILLE – Do you have a passion for parks, affordable housing, and historic preservation? The City of Somerville wants your help and is now accepting applications for four public positions on the newly formed Community Preservation Committee, which will oversee the selection of projects to be recommended for funding by an estimated $1.5 million in annual Community Preservation Act (CPA) revenues. Residents are encouraged to apply and applications must be submitted by Sept. 22, 2013.
Somerville voters overwhelmingly approved adoption of the CPA in November 2012. The act will raise an estimated $1.5 million in funding annually via a tax surcharge and state funds that are designated for major public investments in open space and outdoor recreation, affordable housing, and historic preservation. The Community Preservation Committee, required by the CPA, is tasked with evaluating Somerville’s needs in those three specific areas and making recommendations to the Board of Alderman on how CPA funding should be spent.

The committee consists of nine volunteers, including four members from the general public and a member from each of the following bodies: the Planning Board, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Preservation Commission, the Parks and Open Space Department, and the Housing Authority. The City is currently looking to fill the four general public positions. To ensure the most qualified applicants are selected, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has formed a planning team of City experts and community members to review applications, conduct interviews, and consider public feedback on candidates. From the group of applicants, they will nominate candidates for appointment for the Mayor to review. The Mayor will then submit candidate finalists to the Board of Aldermen for approval.

“The diversity of expertise of Somerville residents is one of the greatest strengths of our city, as is our residents’ passion. The Community Preservation Committee will leverage those strengths to guide CPA funds towards the best possible uses,” Mayor Curtatone said. “Somerville works best when we involve the community in shaping our vision for the future and in our decision making process, from our long-term SomerVision comprehensive plan to our grassroots-oriented Somerville by Design neighborhood planning sessions. The Community Preservation Committee will once again tap the wisdom of our community, match with our City experts’ know-how, and build a better city for all.”

Committee members serve three-year terms, but initial appointments to the committee have been staggered, so therefore the City seeks to fill two one-year term positions, one two-year term position, and one three-year term position. Though it is ultimately the decision of the Community Preservation Committee to decide when and how often to meet, the City expects that it will meet one to two times each month in the evening. The inaugural meeting of the committee will likely take place in December 2013 or January 2014.

Being an effective committee member will require that you:
Familiarize yourself with Somerville’s affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space/outdoor recreation policies and needs
Familiarize yourself with the law (Community Preservation Act, MGL Chapter 44B) that governs the committee
Attend meetings regularly
Foster good relations with other city departments, boards, and commissions
Listen to and be responsive to community feedback
Use fairness and objectivity when making decisions

The planning team is seeking candidates who:
Are supportive of all three programmatic areas of the CPA: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and outdoor recreation AND
Have demonstrated a commitment to at least one of these areas.

In addition, the goal of the planning team is to create a balanced committee that includes members who:
· Come from diverse demographic backgrounds
· Represent all geographic areas of the City
· Have financial expertise
· Have project management experience
· Are actively involved in the community

Interested residents should complete the application available on the City’s website at or outside the SomerStat Office at City Hall, 93 Highland Ave. Completed applications should be sent to Candace Cooper ( or 617.625.6600 ext. 3306) by September 22, 2013. All residents are welcome to apply. No nomination is required to submit an application.

Please note that if you choose to apply for the Community Preservation Committee, your name and a portion of your application (a brief summary describing why you are a qualified candidate) will be posted on the city website for public review between September 23 and October 6. All community members are invited to provide feedback on candidates during this time.

To find out more about serving as a CPC member, please visit the following websites:

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