AYER — The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) has drafted specific actions for preserving historic spaces, using Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds more effectively, addressing Ayer’s affordable-housing issue, acquiring land, creating greenways, protecting the town’s aquifers and creating a community center.
CPC’s goal, said Chairman Richard Gilles, is to deliver a plan that is consistent with Ayer’s comprehensive plan and meets the town. The committee hopes to have this five-year plan ready by the 2008 Annual Town Meeting, he said.
In support of preserving historic spaces, the committee proposes developing an inventory of available resources and accumulating CPA funds to acquire historic preservation restrictions in exchange for renovations of historically significant buildings.
To use CPA funds more effectively, the committee is considering recommending the development of a list of resources available for matching funds.
The committee proposes addressing affordable housing by working with Habitat For Humanity, using the commonwealth’s Local Initiative Project (LIP) program and supporting projects such as the Pleasant Street School apartment development.
LIP is the commonwealth’s program for producing affordable-housing opportunities. It provides assistance to developers and municipalities seeking to create housing that serves households at or below 80 percent of Ayer’s median income. It supports two approaches to providing affordable housing: Local Initiative Units, which would be developed using Ayer’s conventional zoning bylaws, and unit developments through the town’s comprehensive permitting process.
The CPC hopes to meet its land-acquisition goal by helping the town define its land-acquisition criteria, creating an inventory of available properties and a land trust to acquire the properties.
To reach its goal of creating greenways, the committee recommends Ayer obtain funding for them first, add amenities such as benches, create appropriate signage and documentation for all greenway trails and sites, develop those trails and sites according to town guidelines, and encourage open space activities among Ayer’s residents and visitors.
To realize its goal of protecting the town’s aquifers, the committee recommends becoming associated with the Coalition for Aquifer Protection.
Finally, to accomplish its goal of create a community center, the committee recommends the town’s old fire station as a prospective site.