Preservation, Housing Make Cut For Projects Approved For Funding

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By: James Kinsella
Published: 03/30/12

In a rapid-fire meeting Monday, the Barnstable Community Preservation Committee recommended that the town fund five projects and recommending against funding a sixth one.

The committee voted to recommend that the Barnstable Town Council approve historic preservation work at the Hyannis Public Library in Hyannis, the Trayser Museum in Barnstable Village, the Old Selectmen’s Building in West Barnstable and the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis, and a program to help fund affordable accessory apartments throughout the town.

But the committee turned down a request from the Barnstable Housing Authority to fund an architectural and engineering study of the authority’s residential building at 71 Pleasant Street in Hyannis.

The committee’s recommendations now go on to the Barnstable Town Council, which will decide whether to approve the grants.

In other developments, the West Parish Memorial Foundation decided to withdraw its application for $100,000 in funds to help preserve the historic bell, bell tower and roof at the West Parish Meeting House in West Barnstable.

The foundation withdrew its application after assistant T. David Houghton submitted a legal opinion to the committee at its February meeting.

In that opinion, Mr. Houghton said private organizations only would qualify for one historic preservation grant through community preservation funds, prompting community preservation committee Chairman Lindsey B. Counsell to suggest that such organizations consider withdrawing and coming back with larger requests.

But the Hyannis Public Library decided to press on with its request for funds to help repair the foundation and do other work at its historic Ora Hinckley building on Main Street in Hyannis.

The library was seeking between $135,315 and $129,315 in community preservation funds.

The committee voted 8-0 to recommend the funding.

“The building is an anchor on Main Street,” vice chairman Laura Shufelt said. “I think it always will be.”

The committee also voted unanimously to recommend funding $217,000 in building repairs at the Trayser Museum.

The project proponent, the town Department of Public Works, notified the committee that the town has applied for a $100,000 state historic preservation grant toward the work.

Should the grant come in, the community preservation grant would be reduced accordingly.

The committee proceeded to vote 6-1, with member Richard Sawyer casting the dissenting vote, to recommend funding $59,078 for foundation repairs and other work at the Old Selectmen’s Building.

The proponent was the town Department of Public Works, which earlier had been looking for $85,278 in funding toward the work.

But the department applied $26,200 of its own funds toward the part of the project designed to provide access under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mr. Sawyer said the proposed project was the first phase of more extensive work envisioned for the building which over time could end up costing $500,000 and resulting in a cost of $625 per square foot.

Mr. Sawyer questioned the cost-to-benefit basis of the project, which he said was competing with other areas that need committee help, such as affordable housing and the need to preserve open space.

Ms. Shufelt said she probably would vote for this particular grant, designed to ensure that the structure remains standing.

But she said the town and the public need to step forward to start funding the additional work that will be needed in the coming years at the building.

The committee voted 7-1, with Ms. Shufelt dissenting, to recommend $107,800 in repairs at the JFK Museum requested by the town Department of Public Works.

The work at the town-owned building would include the selective replacement of windows, removal of lead paint and roof repairs.

Committee member Marilyn Fifield said the committee once again was confronted with a deteriorating public building that was suffering from deferred maintenance.

Ms. Shufelt declined to vote for the project, noting that the committee had depleted its historic preservation funds on other projects and would need to use undesignated committee funds toward the work.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend funding a program designed to help fund repairs for homeowners who want to rent out accessory apartments for affordable housing.

The town Growth Management Department was seeking $200,000 for the program, which would help provide loans up to $20,000 to individual homeowners in return for meeting program guidelines and accepting a deed restriction on their properties.

The restriction would expire once the community preservation loan is paid back by the homeowner.

The committee then unanimously denied a request from the Barnstable Housing Authority to fund a $50,000 grant for an architectural and engineering assessment of its residential property at 71 Pleasant Street in Hyannis.

Mr. Counsell said the structure was “in tough shape,” and questioned the use of committee funding toward an eventual refurbishing of the property.

He suggested new construction may be the best way for the authority to go.In other action, the committee voted unanimously to move a proposal to repair two town-owned Vernon Coleman paintings from a letter of intent to the application stage.

The proponent, Barnstable Town Clerk Linda E. Hutchenrider, the grand-niece of Mr. Coleman, is seeking $790 for each painting to fund the work.

Mr. Counsell also notified the committee that he had written a letter to the town’s acting manager, Thomas K. Lynch, requesting that the town begin the process of filing an approval-not-required plan separating the former Osterville Bay Elementary School from its recreational field.

Mr. Counsell said Mr. Lynch had replied, saying that the town would begin the process.Mr. Counsell said the move, if completed, would be a key step toward possibly using community preservation funds to make improvements at the field, should it wish to do so.

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