Established under M.G.L. c. 44B, the Community Preservation Act (CPA) allows Massachusetts cities and towns to raise funds through a surcharge on local real estate taxes.  These funds can be used to:

  •  acquire, create and preserve open space;  
  •  acquire, preserve, rehabilitate or restore historic resources;  
  •  acquire, create, preserve and support community housing;  and 
  •  acquire and preserve land for recreational use. 


The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth's workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources.

CPA allows communities to create a local Community Preservation Fund for open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing and outdoor recreation. Community preservation monies are raised locally through the imposition of a surcharge of not more than 3% (Norwood voted for 1%) of the tax levy against real property, and municipalities must adopt CPA by ballot referendum.

As of May 2023, 195 municipalities in the state have adopted CPA.

The CPA statute also creates a statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Revenue (DOR), which provides distributions each year to communities that have adopted CPA. These annual disbursements serve as an incentive for communities to pass CPA.

In May of 2016, Town Meeting voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act, and Norwood voters approved CPA at the November 2016 General election.  The Community Preservation Committee Bylaw, which established the CPC and defined the membership, duties, and processes was approved at Special Town Meeting in May of 2017.  

For additional information: Community Preservation Coalition