Emphasis Has Been Traditionally Placed on Historical Preservation
Housing projects have consistently made up less than 20 percent of all CPA activities, whereas historic preservation accounts for over 40 percent and open space and recreation together comprise nearly the same share.
Frequently asked questions
Passed in 2000, the Community Preservation Act is a lynchpin of community-oriented policy in Massachusetts. At its core, the CPA is a partnership between municipalities and the state. And this partnership has three basic parts:
1) Cities and towns agree to introduce a surtax on local property;
2) The state provides some matching dollars;
3) The money supports a limited range of activities including preserving historic sites, protecting open space, investing in recreation, and bolstering affordable housing.
Note, however, that there is some friction among these priorities. Efforts to protect open space or expand public parks can impede the development of much-needed housing by reducing the amount of land available for new construction.
More than 190 cities and towns have joined the program, including regional hubs like Boston and Worcester, gateway cities like Fall River and Pittsfield, wealthy suburbs like Weston and Hingham, and rural hamlets like Leverett and Goshen.
Collectively, these cities and towns have pursued over 15,000 projects representing a total statewide investment of more than $2.7 billion.