CPA | Community Preservation Act
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a new tool to help communities preserve open space and historic sites, and create affordable housing and recreational facilities. Over a decade of work has gone into the CPA, which was signed by Governor Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Swift on September 14, 2000. Robert Durand, Secretary of Environmental Affairs, originally sponsored the legislation when a State Senator and championed the law's enactment.

The Community Preservation Coalition, an alliance of open space, affordable housing, and historic preservation organizations, works with municipalities to help them understand, adopt, and implement the CPA. Members of the Coalition include: the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA); the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA); the Massachusetts Audubon Society; the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Preservation Massachusetts; the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR).

The Community Preservation Act is statewide enabling legislation to allow cities and towns to exercise control over local planning decisions. This legislation strengthens and empowers Massachusetts communities:

All decisions are local.
Local people must vote by ballot to adopt the Act.
Local legislatures must appoint a committee of local people to draw up plans for use of the funds.
These plans are subject to local comment and approval.
If residents don’t feel the CPA is working as they expected, they can repeal it.
The Community Preservation Act provides new funding sources which can be used to address three core community concerns:

Acquisition and preservation of open space
Creation and support of affordable housing
Acquisition and preservation of historic buildings and landscapes
A minimum of 10% of the annual revenues of the fund must be used for each of the three core community concerns, and up to 5% may be used for administrative expenses of the Community Preservation Committee. The remaining funds can be allocated for any combination of the allowed uses, or for land for recreational use. This gives each community the opportunity to determine its priorities, plan for its future, and have the funds to make those plans happen.

Property taxes traditionally fund the day-to-day operating needs of safety, health, schools, roads, maintenance. - and more. But until the CPA, there was no steady funding source for preserving and improving a community's quality of life and character. The Community Preservation Act can give a community the funds needed to control its future.