Though 2007 is mostly an off year, several states and localities have ballot initiatives that may be of interest to preservationists:
In the Pine Tree State, voters will decided whether to approve a $35.5 million bond question that includes $7.5 million for capitol improvements for parks and historic sites.
Several Massachusetts municipalities have ballot measures that would approve the adoption of the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act, a state program which protects open space, supports affordable housing, and promotes historic preservation. Municipalities can opt into the program, with voter approval. The localities would use a small property tax surcharge to provide the matching funds required by the state program. The measure is on the ballot in the following communities: Andover, Becket, Brimfield, Chesterfield, Franklin, Gloucester, Salem, South Hadley, West Bridgewater, and Worthington.
In the New Jersey, voters will have a chance to approve a $200 million bond that would replenish the Garden State Preservation Trust Fund, which is nearly empty. If the ballot question is approved, the $109 million will be used to preserve open space and park land, $73 million will go towards saving farmland, $12 million will go towards anti-flooding initiatives, and $6 million will be allocated towards maintenance on historic sites.
Oregon will hold a special election on November 6, 2007 to consider Measure 49, which is designed to amend Ballot Measure 37 which passed in 2004 and essentially gutted Oregon’s well-known land-use protections. According to the www.measure49.com website, this initiative would:
- Protect Oregon's farmland, forests and places where water supplies are limited. It also protects rights of families to build homes on their own property;
- Fix the flaws in Measure 37 that allow large housing subdivisions, bigbox stores and strip malls where they don't belong; and
- Restore balance by helping small property owners and preserving Oregon's special quality of life for future generations.
Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust