Lenox Community Preservation Committee
Members in Attendance: Frederick Keator (Chair), Gene Chague (At Large), Tom Delasco (Planning), Channing Gibson (Selectmen), Catherine May (Housing Authority), Tony Patella (Community Center), Joe Strauch (Conservation), Olga Weiss (Historical Society)
Members Absent: Al Harper (At Large)
Staff in Attendance: Christopher Ketchen (Town Manager), Gwen Miller (Town Planner)
FK called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM.
The Board approved minutes of both August 31st and November 2nd with no discussion, with CM and TP abstaining.
FK stated that he, CG and GM had met with AH the week before to brief him on the evening’s agenda. FK went on to say he wanted everybody to be present and included in the conversation because the meeting with Stuart Saginor on Nov. 2 had provided ample information about the CPC process, and it was a good opening to talk about where the Lenox CPC has been, where it is, and where it is headed.
FK asked the Committee members what key points they had taken away from the meeting w/ Stuart Saginor.
JS noted that an earlier deadline would be beneficial. TD noted he liked the two-step application process Stuart described. CG stated the two-step application process would be helpful to the town to see if it needs to appropriate additional funds from town meeting.
The Committee discussed potential earlier timelines. September 15th as the deadline for a project summary was discussed, with October 31st discussed as a deadline for a full application.
The benefits of an early first stage application was discussed: TD said it would allow the Committee to be very clear early on what they need to see in the final application.
FK asked what would be of most use to the Board of Selectmen in terms of making a recommendation to them. CK said late January or early February would be most helpful. FK suggested February 1st.
The Committee discussed the mix of public and private projects. FK stated he found the balance between public and private projects to be good, and did not want to veer away from it. CM said it would be good to update the plan, which had not been updated since 2008.
CG suggested a spring open house to get feed back from the broader community on priority projects and areas of funding.
FK noted that GM had offered to help the Committee update the CPC Plan. CM hoped that the Committee could draft a mission statement that the plan’s content would support.
The Committee discussed what to do about applications that may come in for December 31, 2015. GM stated she had heard from only a few people interested in applying, but noted there is no application currently on the webpage. She had heard from The Mount, Ventfort Hall, and the Kennedy Park Committee.
The Committee decided to not re-post a current application, and not actively solicit applications for FY17. They will see how many applications are submitted for December 31st and go from there.
The Committee decided on the following timeline for the next round of funding:
- May: Town Meeting
- Mid-Late May: Public Hearing to hear community priorities
- Thursday, September 1: Executive project summary due to the CPC
- Monday, September 12: First CPC meeting to review summaries
- Monday, October 31: Final Applications Due
- November-January: CPC reviews applications
- February 1: Recommendations to Board of Selectmen
Meanwhile, the Committee will work to update the plan and look at some housekeeping items. FK mentioned that the library, for example, has no historic preservation restriction on it.
The Committee agreed to meet again on Monday, January 4, 2016. CM requested the Committee hold elections to pick a new Chair and to vote for a Vice Chair to act when the Chair is unable to attend a meeting or running late.
CG noted AH had suggested that the Board of Selectmen receive updates from town committees and boards such as Historic or Land Management to hear about funding priorities or goals for projects. He has spoken to Ed Lane about working that into the Board’s schedule.
FK noted AH had provided a concept for a historic preservation plan, to identify important landmarks in town and their future repair or capital needs in the long term. He also noted that Gig had created a list of priority conservation areas, and that GM would provide a list of open space in Lenox.
CG noted another interesting point Stuart highlighted at the meeting: representatives on CPC do not have to vote like their sending board or committee.
OW said that the Historic Commission does have a list of priority buildings to preserve.
CM described some of the needs for housing in Lenox from the Housing Authority’s perspective: there is a need for family units. And that the Cameron House permit from the summer had resulted in a decrease in affordable units.
FK noted there was an update on Sawmill Brook. GM stated she and CK had met with Tim Gellar, who informed them that the ownership model for Sawmill Brook was no longer viable given the new Baker administration’s priorities in terms of housing development. CK said the agreement with CDC of South Berkshire was good through September 2016.
GM provided a brief update on previously funded projects. Steve Oakes had submitted an e-mail stating that he would need at least $100,000 to replace supports for the cupola and would not be able to replace the cupola.
Ventfort Hall had provided evidence of their raised match and are ready to start their planning effort.
The meeting adjourned at 8:52 PM.