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Town of Southborough

Community Preservation Committee Plan

September 2006

Community Preservation Committee

Anne-Marie Angus-Recreation Commission

Tom Carroll-at large

Dana Cunningham-Planning Board

Frederica Gillespie-Open Space Preservation Commission

Tory Gunsolley-Housing Authority

Thomas McCarthy-Historical Commission

Elizabeth Meyer-Housing Opportunity Partnership Committee

Andrew Mills- at large

Richard Upjohn-Conservation Commission

Web site: 

Southborough residents are invited to comment on this document. Please send comments to:

Community Preservation Committee, Southborough Town House, 17 Common Street, Southborough MA 01772 or email to: 


The Community Preservation Act (the ACPA@, MGL Chapter 44B) is statewide enabling legislation allowing cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to adopt a property tax surcharge with revenues from this surcharge (plus state matching funds) to be used for open space preservation, creation of community housing, preservation of historic buildings and landscapes, and creation of recreation opportunities. Southborough adopted the CPA at a Town Election in May 2003. The surcharge went into effect with the start of the fiscal year 2004 on July 1, 2003.

Consistent with the requirements of the CPA and with a bylaw adopted at the 2004 Annual Town Meeting, the Community Preservation Committee (ACPC@) was formed to study the needs, possibilities and resources of the town regarding community preservation. The CPC, appointed by the Selectmen, includes representatives of the town's Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Planning Board, Recreation Commission, Housing Authority, Open Space Commission, Southborough Housing Opportunity Partnership Committee, and two at-large citizen members.

After its formation the CPC met to discuss its role as facilitators for community preservation in Southborough. Chris Saccardi of the CPC Coalition attended the first Southborough CPC meeting as an advisor. The committee reviewed accepted CPC plans from other towns, including Sudbury, Wellesley, Marshfield and Bedford, and incorporated much of the language used in these plans into the Southborough CPC Plan. The Southborough CPC determined that:

  • it will be a catalyst for projects;
  • it will be a funder, not a developer;
  •  it will utilize community goals previously set forth in other public documents that have received wide scrutiny and public input;
  • it will attempt to meet multiple community preservation goals in each project; and
  • it will communicate its mission and goals to the general public.

The Southborough CPC's goals will form the basis for projects recommended by the CPC. While it is assumed that other projects unrelated to these goals will be submitted over time, and, further, that these goals may be amended over time as the needs of the town change, consistency with the main goals as found in this report, and as amended, will receive preference.

Southborough's Vision Statement

The Town of Southborough is a suburban town with a population just under 10,000 in the year 2004. The town has always been known for its natural resources and beauty, its open spaces, wetlands, forests, farmland and wildlife. Over the years the community has seen the departure of some of its industries and farms, but prides itself in knowing that generation after generation, families have been able to continue to call Southborough their home. Southborough's ability to manage its growth while maintaining its character and traditions is a priority the town takes seriously. It continues to place a high value on balancing its commercial and residential growth without compromising historical treasures or natural beauty. Southborough's strategic location between Boston and Worcester has made it an attractive place for locating businesses and homes. Nevertheless, Southborough continues to be a community that, while open to all, maintains its unique personality and charm.

Open Space

Overview Southborough enjoys a variety of open space resources distributed throughout town. These include conservation areas maintained by the Southborough Conservation Commission, Southborough Open Land Foundation, and Sudbury Valley Trustees. Southborough also enjoys many privately owned parcels of land that add significantly to the rural character of the town, but which are not permanently protected from development.

The 1999 Open Space and Recreation Plan includes goals for the protection of the town's water resources, protection of wildlife habitat, trail linkage, recreation facilities for active and passive recreation, and preservation of the town's historic character.

We want to work hard, now, for the future of Southborough. The stakes are high, and time is of the essence. In our view, we see an ideal town where development is phased in over time to keep pace with our ability to maintain services and schools, and with a finite limit on the build-out capacity for Southborough. We see a town that is pedestrian friendly, with sidewalks and greenway recreation trails, linking the north, south, east and west. We envision a town that has a rich abundance of healthy functioning ecosystems, linked together through existing and future conservation land. We see a town that has ample open space for active and passive recreation,, that values and preserves our remaining farmland and forests and provides ample watershed and natural resource protection.

Southborough's Open Space Goals

Goal: Protect and preserve critical natural resources and wildlife habitat.

(1) identify critical parcels of land for municipal purchase or other methods of permanent protection from residential or commercial development

(2) establish and maintain lines of communication with landowners to take advantage of opportunities to acquire and/or preserve property

(3) support town acquisition of open space based on identified priorities, and

(4) explore means and costs of purchasing development rights and other options for funding open space preservation

Goal: Protect and maintain surface and groundwater quality and quantity.

Goal: Preserve, enhance and connect, where feasible, large parcels currently in agriculture, open space and recreational use, and other undisturbed natural areas.

Goal: Develop sustainable land uses on town-owned and private properties, such as eco-tourism.

Goal: Create trail linkages including new trails, bike paths, walkways and greenways.

Specific Criteria for Open Space Projects

Open space proposals which address as many of the following criteria as possible will receive preference:

  • Preserve a priority parcel as identified in the 1999 Open Space and Recreation Plan, or a parcel that is added to that list by the Open Space Preservation Commission as they work to update the Plan.
  • Permanently protect important wildlife habitat, including areas that- are of local significance for biodiversity;- contain a variety of habitats, with a diversity of geologic features and types of vegetation;- contain a habitat type that is in danger of vanishing from Southborough; or- preserve habitat for threatened or endangered species of plants or animals.
  • Preserve Southborough's rural and agricultural character.
  • Provide opportunities for passive recreation and environmental education.
  •  Protect or enhance wildlife corridors, promote connectivity of habitat   or prevent fragmentation of habitats.
  •  Provide connections with existing trails or potential trail linkages.
  •  Preserve scenic views.
  •  Border a scenic road.
  •  Protect drinking water quantity and quality.
  •  Provide flood control/storage. Preserve important surface water  bodies, including wetlands, vernal pools or riparian zones.

Historic Preservation Overview

Reverence for the past is amply demonstrated in Southborough in areas where the look and feel of a small New England town have been preserved. Residents treasure the open space, stonewalls, and beautiful older homes, barns, and buildings that grace the scenic roadways. An active Historical Commission and Historic Society work to enhance preservation efforts. Completion of an inventory of non-designated historic structures, and continued efforts educate the public of our historic heritage.

Southborough also has many historical landmarks, including:

  • Town cemeteries dating back to colonial times.
  • Town House, Fayville Town House, Library, old schoolhouse serving as Historical Society Museum, Arts Center, Saint Marks Golf Course, Churches and Schools.
  •  Monuments commemorating Southborough=s participation in the American Revolution, Civil War, and World Wars I and II.
  • The Community House, which is a popular historic landmark used by residents for meeting and receptions

Southborough's Historic Preservation Goals

                    Goal: Preserve and maintain Southborough's historic landmarks

Goal: Preserve Southborough's historic documents, photographs and artifacts..

Goal: Maintain the community's traditional, historic character.

Goal: Increased public awareness and usage of the historic buildings and properties, including creation of an historic walking trail in the Town Center.

Goal: Evaluate, Nominate and Apply for National Historic Districts to incorporate historically significant buildings and properties within the districts.

Goal: Address circulation patterns around the Town Center (both pedestrian and vehicular).

Goal: Expand the use of the Scenic Roads Bylaw in order to preserve the character of older roads.

Specific Criteria for Historic Projects

    Historical proposals, which address as many of the following criteria as possible will receive preference:

  •  Protect, preserve, enhance, restore and/or rehabilitate historic, cultural, architectural, land or archaeological resources of significance, especially those that are threatened;
  •  Protect, preserve, enhance, restore and/or rehabilitate town-owned properties, features or resources of historical significance;
  •  Protect, preserve, enhance, restore and/or rehabilitate the historical function of a property or site;
  •  Project is within a State or National Historic Register, or eligible for placement on such registers, or on the Southborough Historic Properties Survey;
  •  Project demonstrates a public benefit; or Project demonstrates the ability to provide permanent protection for maintaining the historic resource;
  •  Acquisition of threatened properties of particular historical significance, subject to Town Meeting approval.
  • Community Housing Overview

    Massachusetts State housing policy sets a goal that in each city and town 10% of the total housing stock must be affordable, and have deed restrictions to keep it affordable. For Southborough this means a goal of approximately 300 affordable units. Southborough currently has 108 permanently affordable units, 3.61% of our total housing. This number includes the following units as certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

    8 rental units located at North Street

    56 rental units located at 49 Boston Road

    2 rental units located on Framingham Road

    4 ownership units located on Stockwell Lane and Fitzgerald Lane

    Credit for 30 rental units as part of the Fairfield Green at Marlborough 40B

    project located off Northborough Road. (Certification of these units was

    requested from DHCD by the Town on July 2, 2004. (To date the Town has

    received verbal confirmation of certification of these units, but has not been

    notified in writing.)

    8 ownership units in the approved Meeting House Farm 40B development

    on Middle Road.

    To achieve the goal of 10% affordable housing mandated by the State, Southborough must create an additional 200 units of affordable housing. We will meet that goal through creative planning and development of housing that adequately addresses the town's needs, while at the same time respecting Southborough's historic and rural character.

    Affordable housing in Southborough, both for renters and those seeking home ownership, is far out of reach for many. There is a critical need for affordable housing of both categories. Very little affordable housing is currently available in Southborough, and those units that are affordable rarely become vacant. A range of affordable housing options that accommodates many kinds of populations and their housing desires and that preserves our historically rural small town character is our goal. The strength of a community is apparent when people of all ages and income ranges can live and work there. Providing housing that is affordable for subsequent generations of Southborough families as well as a diverse range of households is a unique challenge, a responsibility that cannot rest solely on the open real estate market and private development. CPA funds can be an effective tool to help Southborough create affordable housing. The funds could be used independently or in partnership with non-profit affordable housing organizations and government agencies.

    Southborough's Community Housing Goals

              Goal: Use Restrictions

    Affordable housing projects in Southborough require that affordability be maintained through deed restrictions. Deed restrictions for rental projects require long-term affordability, usually in perpetuity. The deed restriction for homeownership projects also require long-term affordability, usually in perpetuity, and also include resale provisions, which ensure that units will remain affordable to the targeted income group and be resold to households within the eligible income limits.

    Goal: Maximize local control over the development of affordable housing. This will be accomplished by taking a proactive approach, by establishing locally directed initiatives, by clearly articulating a strong vision of what we want, and by our willingness to take the necessary steps to achieve that vision.

    Goal: Provide affordable housing for several key population segments. The target segments include; Town employees, retired seniors and 55+ active adults, families, young people, and people with special needs.

    Housing should include a mixture of single-family homes, condominiums and apartments with both ownership and rental units at affordable rates. The percent allocation between senior vs. family units and between ownership vs. rental units will change over the years in keeping with needs assessments. Preference for affordable housing will be given, to the extent allowed by law, to current Town employees with at least 5 years of service, to current residents who have resided in the Town for at least 5 years, and to former residents who have resided in the Town for at least 5 of the last 15 years.

    Goal: Affordable housing projects will be designed and built in accordance with the standards typical in Southborough and that are fitting with our culture and character.

    Height limitations and construction style of all buildings must be in accordance with the standards set by other buildings in developments: Southborough

    No clear-cut properties

    No cookie cutter developments.

    Housing that is harmonious in design with its neighborhood.

    Goal: Density guidelines for affordable housing Current single-family house lot size requirements are either one-acre or 25,000 square feet. It will not usually be economically feasible to build affordable housing conforming with these requirements. The following density guidelines are for the maximum number of units in an affordable housing project per buildable lot of land on a given site.

    Single Family Homes: 3 dwelling units/acre

    Town House/Condominiums: 6 dwelling units/acre

    Apartments (garden-style/multi-level structures): 8 dwelling units/acre

    Goal: Affordable Housing will be inclusive, diverse and evenly distributed throughout all of Southborough.

    Affordable housing in Southborough will not be located in one part of Town, nor in one project, nor in any way excluded from the mainstream of our community. Southborough will promote mixed-use developments and will site affordable housing developments throughout the geography of the Town.

    Goal: Southborough affordable housing stock will provide for middle, moderate, and low-income households.

    The Community Preservation Act defines community housing to include housing for persons or families earning up to 100% of the median area income as determined by HUD, * (at present, $82,688 for a family of four). However, for affordable housing created with CPA funds to be counted toward Southborough=s Chapter 40B affordable housing inventory the units must serve those who earn at or below 80% of the median area income (at present, $66,150 for a family of four). Low income is defined as serving those who earn at or below 50% of the area median income (at present, $41,344 for a family of four)

    * 760 CMR 45.01 defines low and moderate income. Southborough's median area income is that of the Boston Metropolitan statistical area.

    Specific Criteria for Community Housing projects

    Community Housing proposals which address as many of the following criteria as possible will receive preference:

    • Contribute to the goal of 10% affordability;
    •  Ensure long-term affordability, usually in perpetuity;
    •  Promote a socioeconomic environment that encourages diversity;
    •  Provide housing that is harmonious in design with its neighborhood;
    •  Intermingle affordable and market rate housing;
    •  Promote use of existing buildings or Town owned sites;
    • Convert market rate to affordable units;
    •  Give priority, to the extent allowed by law, to current Town employees with at least 5 years of service, to current residents who have resided in the Town for at least 5 years, and to former residents who have resided in the Town for at least 5 of the last 15 years.

    Recreation Overview

    The mission of the Southborough Recreation Commission is to offer programs for all ages and interests, giving each individual the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities. Through these activities, participants will be able to make constructive use of leisure time and contribute to positive physical and mental health, and good sportsmanship.

    The Southborough Recreation Commission runs over 140 programs a year, with program offerings for pre-school through senior citizens. Recreation also runs after school programs in all four public schools in Town. We also work together with other Town departments to provide Town hikes, activities for at risk youth at the Regional High School, and special events as called for by different community groups. The Recreation Commission also schedules and provides monitors for Open Gym time, and Open/Free Skate at St. Mark's School.

    Recreation also schedules field and gym use for youth sports and other organizations on town owned and school owned facilities (after school hours), the regional facility of 9-11 Memorial Field, privately owned facilities such as Verizon field, and coordinates reciprocal use with Fay School and St. Mark's School. We also maintain records of the organizations's application, insurance to operate within Southborough facilities, and organizational structure.

    The Recreation Commission works closely with the Facility Department and the Southborough Recreation Facility Committee, whose jobs include the daily maintenance of the Town's facilities, and the development and expansion of the current list of facilities.

    The Recreation Commission is committed to working together with other departments and residents to insure that Southborough maintains the quality of life that Residents should be afforded.

    Southborough's Recreation Goals:

    Goal: Create additional recreational facilities, area and programs to serve the needs of Southborough residents while protecting our limited natural resources

    Goal: Expand trail systems on conservation and Town owned land

    Goal: Create partnerships and agreements with private landowners to promote hiking/walking, biking, cross country skiing, bird watching, and other nature activitiesGoal: Optimize the use of land already owned by SouthboroughGoal: Promote the creation of opportunities for safe and healthful non-motorized transportation;Goal: Maintain existing facilities to provide for the safety of those using facilities Goal: Preserve Town assets.

    Specific Criteria for Recreation projects

    •  Recreation proposals which address as many of the following criteria as possible will receive preference;
    •  Support multiple recreation uses
    • Serve a significant number of residents;
    •  Expand the range of recreational opportunities available to Southborough residents of all ages;
    •  Jointly benefit the Open Space Preservation Commission, Conservation Commission and Recreation Commission initiatives;
    • Maximize the utility of land already owned by Southborough;
    • Promote the creative use of corridors to create safe and healthful non-motorized transportation opportunities.

    General Criteria

    The Southborough Community Preservation Committee will give preference to proposals that meet the following general criteria:

    • Are eligible for CPA funding according to the requirements described in the CPA legislation;
    •  Preserve the essential character of the town as described in the Vision Statement in this document;
    •  Save resources that would otherwise be threatened and/or serve a currently under-served population;
    • Either serve more than one CPA purpose (especially in linking open space, recreation and community housing) or demonstrate why serving multiple needs is not feasible;
    •  Demonstrate practicality and feasibility, and demonstrate that they can be implemented expeditiously and within budget;
    •  Produce an advantageous cost/benefit value;
    •  Leverage additional public and/or private funds;
    •  Preserve or utilize currently owned town assets; and
    •  Receive endorsement by other municipal boards or departments.

    Each community preservation project will also be judged based on the category specific Criteria listed in each area.

    Guidelines for Submission

    1. Submit 10 hard copies and one digital copy of application form provided by the Southborough Community Preservation Committee.

    2. Requests must include a statement of need, and be documented with appropriate support information. The use of maps, visual aids and other supplemental information is encouraged. Endorsement letters from Town Boards and Commissions are beneficial.

    3. Obtain quotes for project costs whenever possible. If not, cost estimates may be used provided the basis for the estimate is fully explained.

    4. If request is part of a longer-term project, include the total project cost.

    5. If applicant has multiple project requests, prioritize projects.

    6. Applicant must be present at a CPC meeting to answer questions.

    7. Requests received in the fall by the due date on the application will be considered for the following April Town Meeting.

    8. Submissions for Special Town Meetings will be considered on a case-to-case basis. To get approval of placing an article for funding on the warrant of a Special Town Meeting the burden of proof of hardship and time-sensitivity of the project is on the applicant.

    Submit 10 hard copies to: Submit digital copy to:

    Community Preservation Committee

    Southborough Town House

    17 Common Street

    Southborough MA 01772