Northampton Voters Will Decide Fate of Farmland, Forests

On November 8, the people of Northampton will decide whether farmland and forestland should be turned into parking lots, strip malls, ChemLawns, and other kinds of so-called development. “Northampton residents should save the Community Preservation Act by voting ‘no’ on Question 1," said Kristin DeBoer. She's director of www.KestrelTrust.org

"The Act is one of the best tools towns have for conserving the farms, rivers, and forests of the Valley," DeBoer said.

City council member Eugene Tacy put a question on the ballot asking the people of Northampton if they want to kill the Community Preservation Act. The city adopted the Act in 2005. The state matches whatever money Northampton raises for land conservation, affordable housing, historic preservation, and recreation projects. The city funds the program with 3 percent of property taxes.

The ballot question asks if voters want to repeal the Community Preservation Act. So a “yes” vote would mean more farmland and forestland will be paved.

Money from the Act has been used to build affordable housing near downtown, and to save two farms. It costs the average household $79 a year and has brought $17.5 million in state money to Northampton since 2005.

Voters will also choose two people to be on the city board that decides what to spend money from the Act on. Four candidates are running for the two open spots on the nine person board. The candidates are James Durfer, Mari Gottdiener, Marlene Morin and David Rothstein.

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