PROVINCETOWN — The community preservation committee (CPC) voted down the Schooner Hindu’s application for $100,000 in Community Preservation Act funds at its meeting on Feb. 22. Had it been approved, the request would have gone to a vote at town meeting this spring.
Members of the CPC pointed out that the Hindu is owned by a for-profit company, has not been deemed historic by any agency, and is movable, so could theoretically decamp to Madagascar or Newport, R.I. at any time.
Josh Rowan, who owns the boat with his father, William Rowan of Key West, Fla., countered that the Hindu has immense historic value to Provincetown, is widely beloved, and is undergoing a costly high-quality rebuild for which the funds would be used. Rowan’s fiancée, Erin Desmond, added that she has repeatedly sought meetings with the Provincetown Historical Commission to gain a designation of local historic significance, but the commission has not met in many months. The most recent posted agenda for the historical commission on the town website is from February 2020.
Polly Burnell, the historical commission’s representative on the community preservation committee, confirmed that the commission was unable to meet with Desmond, and suggested the CPC delay its vote until after the historical commission could consider the Hindu’s request. Several motions were advanced and withdrawn, but ultimately the committee decided they had other grounds on which to reject the application.
CPC chair Kristin Hatch pointed out that the CPA money dedicated to historic preservation is currently exhausted because of debt service on improvements to town hall, so the money would need to come from the unallocated portion of CPA funds.
Alfred Famiglietti pointed out the boat could sail off to Madagascar, and that the applicant had to be on either a local or state historic registry prior to approaching the CPC, so the application was improperly before the board.
The committee considered seeking town counsel’s advice, but then took the vote, with one person voting for the application, four against, and one abstention.
Pennrose and Home Improvements
The CPC also debated allocating $100,000 of Community Preservation Act funds to the affordable housing complex being developed at the old Cape Cod Five headquarters in Orleans. That project is being done by Pennrose Development of Philadelphia, which is asking for contributions from eight Lower and Outer Cape towns.
After some debate about the proximity of Orleans to Provincetown, and the likelihood or unlikelihood of Provincetown residents choosing to live there, the committee voted to reduce the grant request to $20,000 and forward the proposal to town meeting floor. Pennrose said a $100,000 contribution would secure Provincetown a place in a small local-preference lottery that would include residents of every town that contributes in this way. With 62 total units in the planned development, that lottery would be for six units total, divided among all the towns that contribute. This seemed of uncertain value to the committee members.
A proposal to authorize up to $100,000 for micro-grants to lower-income home owners was approved unanimously. The grants of up to $5,000 each would be for necessary physical maintenance projects on single-family homes or condos, for people making 100 percent or less of area median income, which in Barnstable County is $67,620 for a household of one, or $96,600 for a household of four.
Provincetown Housing Specialist Michelle Jarusiewicz pointed out that any unused money would be returned to the CPA account at the end of the year — or rather, never withdrawn in the first place.
The board also approved up to $100,000 for a community process and preliminary design program for a renovation of Motta Field.
All of the approved measures will go to town meeting floor for a vote.