Ten Things You Should Know About the Community Preservation Act


  1. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) of Massachusetts allows Norwood to create a fund dedicated to community preservation projects only.
  2. CPA funds can be used to support historic preservation of Norwood’s treasured historic buildings and sites, no matter who owns them. Historic preservation can include the creation of a historic district or maps or books to help people appreciate our history.
  3. CPA funds can be used to add land or features to parks and other open spaces such as the priority plots identified in Norwood’s Open Space Plan. Outdoor recreational facilities are eligible to be considered under open spaces.
  4. CPA funds can be used to support community housing by extending expiring deed restrictions to preserve current affordable housing for veterans and others.
  5. Most CPA funding would come from a 1% local property tax surcharge, exempting the first $100,000 of value – and completely excluding renters, low-income individuals and low- or moderate-income senior homeowners. You might think of this like an automatic savings plan. Over time, with the whole town contributing, we can afford major purchases. The owner of an average home would pay about $33 a year – less than a dime a day.
  6. Some additional CPA funding would come from a state pool of deed filing surcharges, often augmented with additional funds from the legislature. Norwood has been paying into this state pool for a decade and a half. By adopting CPA, now, for the first time, we would get some money back from the state pool.
  7. Proposals can be submitted by any individual, group, or town department for projects in any of the CPA areas cited in points #2 to 4.
  8. Proposals are evaluated by a Community Preservation Committee (CPC), including representatives from the Planning Board, Conservation Committee, Housing Authority, Historical Commission, Board of Selectmen (acting as the town’s parks commission), and up to four at-large members.
  9. Project proposals must provide detailed descriptions of the work to be done, the results to be achieved, any other funding sources in addition to CPA funds, and all costs.
  10. After considering the recommendations from the CPC, Town Meeting will have final approval authority over all proposals. Open space and recreation, historic preservation, and community housing, each are guaranteed 10% of expenditures. The other 70% is available for any of these purposes.