Town of Cohasset, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted as Art. V of the 1988 General Bylaws]
A. 
The Advisory Committee shall consist of nine members, with three members to be appointed each year for three-year terms, the conclusion of each term being the end of the fiscal year.
B. 
Appointments shall be made by the Troika as soon as practical after the final adjournment or dissolution of each Annual Town Meeting.
[Amended 5-21-2014]
C. 
Members shall be registered voters of the Town and shall have no other elective or appointive office with the exception of those serving on the Troika. No member shall serve more than two consecutive full terms.
[Amended 5-21-2014]
D. 
Each December, the Advisory Committee shall meet and elect from their membership a Chairman, a Secretary, and such other officers as the membership deems fit and necessary, who shall hold office until their successors are elected. A true record of the proceedings of this Committee shall be kept, and a copy of this record shall be filed annually in the office of the Town Clerk.
[Amended 4-22-2009]
E. 
Five members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
[Amended 4-22-2009]
F. 
Absence from five consecutive meetings, unless excused by vote of the Advisory Committee, shall be cause for removal.
G. 
When a vacancy occurs among the appointed members of the Advisory Committee, notice shall be given immediately by the Chairman to the Town Clerk. The Town Clerk shall thereupon notify the previously specified appointing committee, which shall promptly fill the vacancy.
H. 
The Advisory Committee shall review all articles in the warrant for any Town Meeting and shall report thereon in writing or otherwise to the Town Meeting such recommendations as it deems to be in the best interest of the Town.
I. 
The Advisory Committee shall require the Selectmen, the School Committee, and other Town officers under whose direction appropriations of money are expended to submit to it an estimate of the appropriations necessary for their various departments and to appear before it for consultation regarding such estimates at such times and places as the Committee shall determine. The Advisory Committee shall state the amounts which, in its opinion, shall be appropriated for the ensuing year, shall add such explanations and suggestions as may be relevant thereto, and shall report thereon as provided above.
J. 
The Advisory Committee may hold hearings and shall, upon written request at a reasonable time in advance, grant a hearing to the petitioners for any articles appearing in a warrant before making recommendations.
K. 
No collective bargaining agreement shall be considered at a Town Meeting or at a Special Town Meeting that will consider appropriating the necessary moneys to fund the cost items contained in said agreement unless that agreement has been presented to the Advisory Committee no later than 30 days prior to the start of said Meeting.
[Amended 1-25-1996]
A. 
The Capital Budget Committee shall consist of five members appointed for three-year terms. Two members shall be appointed each of two successive years and one member shall be appointed the following year. Each member shall be a legal resident of the Town. The Committee may include one associate member in addition to the five regular members. Such associate may vote only when designated by the Chairman of the Capital Budget Committee. The Chairman shall designate the associate member to vote only in the case of absence, inability to act, or conflict of interest on the part of any member of the Capital Budget Committee, or in the event of a vacancy on the Committee.
[Amended 12-15-2010]
B. 
Appointments shall be made by a committee consisting of the Moderator, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and the Chairman of the Advisory Committee.
C. 
The Capital Budget Committee shall be an advisory body to the Town Manager, Board of Selectmen, Advisory Committee, and Town Meeting. The Committee is charged with the review, evaluation, and recommendation of any Town Meeting article intended to materially alter the enduring value of the Town's asset base or capital structure, including any bond or debt offering or refinancing, lease obligation or other liability for any authorized or proposed Town Meeting article. The Committee shall review, evaluate, and make recommendations thereto for any Town Meeting article which meets one or more of the following criteria:
[Amended 6-21-2007; 12-15-2010]
(1) 
Acquisition of land or buildings;
(2) 
New construction, reconstruction, repair, replacement, or improvement of buildings, land, utilities, or other public facilities, waterways, and access thereto, drainage, streets, sidewalks, and parks, with a cost greater than $10,000;
(3) 
The purchase of major equipment, including motor vehicles, office equipment, or other items, that has an intended useful life of greater than 30 months and an acquisition cost of greater than $10,000;
(4) 
Planning services, design services, or feasibility studies for any capital project as defined in this bylaw.
A. 
The School Facilities Committee shall consist of nine members appointed for three-year terms.
B. 
Three members shall be appointed by the Moderator, three by the Selectmen, and three by the School Committee, the initial appointments by each appointing authority to be for one-, two-, and three-year terms. This provision shall take effect as terms of present appointees expire.
C. 
The School Facilities Committee shall, as circumstances require, investigate and study the condition and adequacy of school facilities, and shall report to the Town Meeting its recommendations as to major maintenance and remodeling of present buildings, additions thereto, new buildings, and location and acquisition of sites.
D. 
The School Facilities Committee may proceed on its own initiative in these matters and shall respond promptly to all written requests from the School Committee.
A. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall consist of three members and three associate members, each appointed for a three-year term by the Board of Selectmen; provided, however, that the initial appointment of one member and one associate member shall be for three years, one member and one associate member for two years, and one member and one associate member for one year. Thereafter one regular member and one associate member shall be appointed each year.
B. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hold public hearings as required for the following purposes:
(1) 
To hear and decide appeals from the decision of the Building Inspector concerning issuance or denial of building permits on the basis of conformity with zoning laws;
(2) 
To hear and decide applications for special permits;
(3) 
To authorize or deny variances from the zoning law; and
(4) 
To fulfill such other responsibilities as are required under MGL c. 40A.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 300, Zoning, § 300-12.3.
[Amended 6-2-1998; 1-10-2012]
A. 
The Elder Affairs Board shall consist of nine members, each appointed for a three-year term by the Board of Selectmen with three members appointed each year. There shall also be up to three associate members, each appointed for a three-year term by the Board of Selectmen. The associate members shall be nonvoting.
B. 
The Elder Affairs Board shall coordinate and carry out programs meeting problems of aging, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs.
C. 
The Elder Affairs Board shall submit an annual report to the Town and send a copy thereof to the Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs.
[Amended 4-6-1992]
A. 
The Conservation Commission shall consist of seven members, each appointed for a three-year term by the Board of Selectmen. Two members shall be appointed each of two successive years, with three members appointed the following year. There shall also be two associate members, each appointed for a one-year term by the Board of Selectmen. The associate members shall be nonvoting.
B. 
The Conservation Commission shall hold public hearings and administer the provisions of MGL c. 131, § 40.
C. 
The Conservation Commission shall develop programs to preserve natural resources and protect the wetlands and watershed areas of the Town.
D. 
The Commission shall have authority to appoint a Conservation Commission Agent who shall have such duties and responsibilities as shall be delegated to him by the Commission.
A. 
The Registrars of Voters shall consist of the Town Clerk and three other persons appointed for three-year terms by the Board of Selectmen, with one member appointed each year as prescribed in MGL c. 51, § 15.
B. 
The Registrars of Voters shall be responsible for maintaining accurate lists of qualified voters of the Town and shall provide facilities for new citizens of the Town to register for the purpose of voting.
C. 
The Registrars of Voters shall conduct an annual census to determine the number of persons in the Town 17 years of age or older.
D. 
They shall have such other duties and responsibilities as may be assigned to them under MGL c. 51.
A. 
The Historical Commission shall consist of seven members, each appointed for a three-year term by the Board of Selectmen, with two members appointed for each of two successive years, and three members appointed the following year.
B. 
The Historical Commission shall identify and record the historic landmarks of Cohasset and develop a program for the preservation and maintenance of the archaeological and historical assets of the Town.
C. 
The Commission may acquire in the name of the Town, by gift, purchase, grant, bequest, devise, lease, or otherwise, the fee or lesser interest in any real or personal property of significant historical value and may manage such property.
[Amended 4-6-1991]
A. 
The Cohasset Harbor Committee shall consist of 11 members appointed by the Selectmen as follows: two citizens-at-large for three-year terms, one representative of the Yacht Club, one representative of the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research, one representative of the Cohasset Maritime Institute, one representative of the Sailing Club, two representatives of the commercial fishermen, one independent member, one representative of the Recreation Commission and the Harbor Master shall serve as a permanent ex officio member. Each appointment thereafter shall be for a three-year term. Nothing contained herein shall affect or change the terms of those individuals now in office.
[Amended 4-20-2018 ATM by Art. 24]
B. 
The Harbor Committee shall make recommendations to the Selectmen and the Town Meeting concerning operation of the harbor.
A. 
The Design Review Board shall consist of five members and two associate members appointed for three-year terms, provided that of the first five regular members appointed, one shall serve one year, two shall serve for two years, and two shall serve for three years. Associate members shall serve for three years.
B. 
Appointments shall be made by a committee consisting of the Moderator, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and the Chairman of the Advisory Committee.
C. 
The Building Inspector shall be an ex officio member of the Design Review Board. Other members shall include, where possible, in order of preference, a registered architect, a landscape architect, a designee of the Planning Board, a craftsman, and one or more of the following: a nominee of any of the local historical societies, a building contractor, a lawyer, or a licensed real estate broker.
D. 
The Board shall keep records of its proceedings and exhibits, together with its recommendations and the reasons therefor, in a file open to the public.
E. 
The Design Review Board, when requested, shall assist Town boards, departments and commissions in the review of plans, applications, or other matters relating to structures other than single-family dwellings. It shall submit written advisory reports to the requesting board, department, or commission within 21 days after receipt of the request for review. Review may include, but is not limited to, landscaping, external appearance, and location and scale of structures relative to site.
F. 
All recommendations and reports of the Design Review Board shall have the concurrence of at least three members and shall be advisory only.
[Amended 1-16-2001]
A. 
The Government Island Advisory Committee shall consist of seven members, one of whom shall be the Harbor Master. Each of the other members shall be appointed by the Selectmen for a three-year term, with two members appointed each year.
B. 
The Government Island Advisory Committee shall keep the Selectmen and the Town Manager advised of the condition of Government Island for the recreational use of Cohasset residents.
C. 
The Government Island Advisory Committee shall make suggestions to the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager regarding the maintenance and improvement of Government Island and shall propose any capital expenditures necessary for maintenance and improvement of Government Island.
D. 
The Government Island Advisory Committee shall report annually to the Board of Selectmen, as well as provide the Board with copies of its meeting minutes.
The method of appointment, term of office, and powers and duties of the Historic District Commission are set forth in Chapter 132, Historic District, of these bylaws.
A. 
The Bylaw Committee shall consist of five members of whom two permanent members shall be Town Counsel and Town Clerk and three members shall be appointed for three-year terms, provided that one of the initial appointees shall serve for one year, another for two years, and the third for three years. At least one appointed member shall be a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
B. 
Appointments shall be made by a Committee consisting of the Moderator, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and the Chairman of the Advisory Committee.
C. 
The Bylaw Committee shall review any article proposed in the warrant for any Annual Town Meeting or Special Town Meeting which involves a change in or an addition to the bylaws of the Town of Cohasset. If the wording or indexing of the proposed change or addition does not conform to the pattern or style of the present bylaws, the Committee shall so advise the Selectmen; the Committee shall also recommend appropriate placement of the change or addition within the bylaws.
D. 
When the Town in an Annual Town Meeting or Special Town Meeting has adopted a change in or addition to the bylaws, the Bylaw Committee shall ensure the change or addition be typed and photocopied in sufficient quantity and inserted in its proper place in each copy of the bylaws located in the Town Hall or any other public office in the Town and in those copies in the Paul Pratt Memorial Library. The cost of the typing and copying shall be borne by the Town.
A. 
The Computer Advisory Committee shall consist of six persons, three citizens appointed by the Board of Selectmen for two-year terms and three ex officio members, one person designated by the School Committee from the school administrative staff, and two appointed by the Board of Selectmen from the municipal administrative staff.
[Amended 6-10-1994]
B. 
The purpose of the Committee shall be to maintain a set of hardware and software standards ("Committee Standards") for Town departments in order to provide for cross-utilization of hardware, common training, and file sharing and to achieve other efficiencies that may be gained by sharing compatible hardware and software.
C. 
The Committee shall review proposed departmental purchases of hardware and software to determine if such acquisitions conform to the Committee Standards and are technologically appropriate.
D. 
The Committee shall make recommendations to Town Meeting, the Capital Budget Committee, and the Advisory Committee.
E. 
The Committee shall revise the Committee Standards from time to time to recognize the changing needs of Town departments, and technological advances in the computer field.
[Added 1-15-2002]
A. 
There is hereby established a Community Preservation Committee which shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen and shall consist of nine members to be made up as follows:
(1) 
One member shall be a member of the Conservation Commission.
(2) 
One member shall be a member of the Historical Commission.
(3) 
One member shall be a member of the Planning Board.
(4) 
One member shall be a member of the Board of Selectmen.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
(5) 
One member shall be a member of the Housing Authority.
(6) 
One member shall be a member of the Open Space and Recreation Committee.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
(7) 
Three members shall be citizens of the Town.
B. 
The members shall be appointed to three-year terms, the conclusion of each term being the end of the fiscal year. Initially, three members shall be appointed to three-year terms, three members shall be appointed to two-year terms, and three members shall be appointed to one-year terms, so that three members shall be appointed each fiscal year.
C. 
The Community Preservation Committee shall not meet or conduct business without the presence of a quorum, except to adjourn from time to time. A majority of the members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum. The Committee shall approve its actions by a majority vote of those voting and present. The Community Preservation Committee is responsible for evaluating the community preservation needs of the Town of Cohasset and making recommendations to Town Meeting.
D. 
Subject to any and all responsibilities set forth in MGL c. 44B, § 5(b)(1) through (3) and (c), the Committee shall study the needs, possibilities and resources of the Town regarding community preservation. The Committee shall consult with existing municipal boards, including the Board of Selectmen, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, the Planning Board, the Recreation Commission, the Water Commission, the Open Space and Recreation Committee, and the Housing Authority in conducting such studies. As part of its study, the Committee shall review any current Master Plan or Open Space Plan and hold one or more public informational hearings on the needs, possibilities and resources of the Town regarding community preservation, notice of which shall be posted publicly and published for each of two weeks preceding a hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
E. 
Subject to MGL c. 44B, § 5(b)(2) through (3) and (c), the Committee shall make recommendations to the Town Meeting for the acquisition and preservation of historic resources, for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use, for the creation, preservation and support of community housing and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, historical resources, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in this section. With respect to community housing, the Committee shall recommend, wherever possible, the reuse of existing buildings or construction of new buildings on previously developed sites.
F. 
The Committee may include in its recommendations to Town Meeting a recommendation to set aside, for later spending, funds for specific purposes that are consistent with community preservation, but for which sufficient revenues are not then available in the Community Preservation Fund to accomplish that specific purpose or set aside for later spending funds for general purposes that are consistent with community preservation.
G. 
Subject to the requirement of MGL c. 44B, §§ 5(d) and (e) and 6, the Town Meeting may make appropriations from or reservations of Community Preservation Funds in the amount recommended by the Committee or it may reduce or reject a recommended amount. The Committee shall keep a record of its recommendations to the Town Meeting and the specific action taken on them.
H. 
The Committee shall maintain an inventory of all real property interest acquired, disposed of or improved after the Committee's recommendations are acted on by Town Meeting.
[Added 7-10-2008]
A. 
Trust Fund; Board of Trustees.
(1) 
There shall be in the Town of Cohasset a Cohasset Affordable Housing Trust Fund (hereinafter referred to as "the Trust"). The purpose of the Trust is to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town of Cohasset for low- and moderate-income households and for the funding of community housing, as defined in and in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 44B.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
(2) 
There shall be a Board of Trustees which shall include seven Trustees. The Trustees shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen and shall include one member of the Board of Selectmen and are designated as public agents for purposes of the Constitution of the commonwealth. The initial terms of the Trustees shall be staggered as one- or two-year terms. All terms thereafter shall be for two years.
B. 
The powers of the Board of Trustees shall include the following:
(1) 
To accept and receive real property, personal property or money, by gift, grant, contribution, devise or transfer, from any person, firm, corporation or other public or private entity, including but not limited to money, grants of funds or other property tendered to the Trust in connection with the provisions of the Cohasset Zoning Bylaw or General Bylaws, or any general or special law or any other source, including money from the Community Preservation Act, MGL c. 44B; provided, however, that any such money received from MGL c. 44B shall be used exclusively for community housing and shall remain subject to all the rules, regulations and limitations of that chapter when expended by the Trust, and such funds shall be accounted for separately by the Trust, and provided further that at the end of each fiscal year the Trust shall ensure that all expenditures of funds received from said MGL c. 44B are reported to the Community Preservation Committee of the Town for inclusion in the Community Preservation Initiatives Report, Form CP-3, to the Department of Revenue;
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
(2) 
To accept and receive municipal, school or other public property, subject to a majority vote of Town Meeting to transfer said property to the Trust, for the purposes of the Trust;
(3) 
To purchase and retain real or personal property for the purposes of the Trust, including without restriction investments that yield a high rate of income or no income, and to hold all or part of the Trust property uninvested for such purposes and for such time as the Board may deem appropriate;
(4) 
To manage or improve real property;
(5) 
To sell, lease, exchange, transfer or convey any real property for such consideration and on such terms as to credit or otherwise, and to make such contracts and enter into such undertakings relative to Trust property as the Board deems advisable, notwithstanding the length of any such lease or contract;
(6) 
To execute, acknowledge and deliver deeds, assignments, transfers, pledges, leases, covenants, contracts, promissory notes, releases, grant agreements and other instruments, sealed or unsealed, necessary, proper or incident to any transaction in which the Board engages for the accomplishment of the purposes of the Trust;
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
(7) 
To employ and pay reasonable compensation to advisors and agents, such as accountants, appraisers and lawyers, as the Board deems necessary.
(8) 
To apportion receipts and charges between income and principal as the Board deems advisable, to amortize premiums and establish sinking funds for such purpose, and to create reserves for depreciation, depletion or otherwise;
(9) 
To carry property for accounting purposes at other than acquisition date values;
(10) 
To borrow money on such terms and conditions and from such sources as the Trustees deem advisable, to mortgage and pledge Trust assets as collateral, subject to approval by a majority vote of the Board of Selectmen. (Any debt issued by the Trust shall not be deemed to constitute a debt or liability of the Town of Cohasset or a pledge of the faith and credit of the Town, but shall be payable solely from the revenues, funds and/or assets of the Trust. Any debt instrument executed by the Trust shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that the Town of Cohasset is not obligated to pay the same or the interest thereof except from revenues, funds and/or assets of the Trust and that neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the Town of Cohasset is pledged to the payment of the principal of or the interest on such debt. The issuance of debt by the Trust shall not directly or indirectly or contingently obligate the Town of Cohasset to levy or to pledge any form of taxation whatever therefor or to make any appropriation for their payment);
(11) 
To make distributions or divisions of principal in kind;
(12) 
To defend, enforce, release, settle or otherwise adjust claims in favor or against the Trust, including claims for taxes, and to accept any property, either in total or partial satisfaction of any indebtedness or other obligation, and subject to the provisions of this bylaw, to continue to hold the same for such period of time as the Board may deem appropriate;
(13) 
To extend the time for payment of any obligation to the Trust;
(14) 
To provide grants or loans to assist low- or moderate-income home buyers to purchase or rehabilitate a dwelling unit in the Town of Cohasset; and
(15) 
To convey, through sale, lease or transfer, real property purchased under this bylaw to any for-profit or nonprofit developer or any public agency to provide low- or moderate-income housing, subject to an affordable housing restriction under MGL c. 184, § 26 or §§ 31 to 33.
C. 
Expenditures for the acquisition or disposition of real property shall be subject to approval by a majority vote of the Board of Selectmen. In each fiscal year, expenditures from the fund shall be in accordance with an allocation plan approved by the Town at the Annual Town Meeting and upon the recommendation of the Trustees, for purposes consistent with this bylaw. The allocation plan shall be a general plan for the use of funds during the fiscal year to which the plan applies, and may provide for moneys to be held in reserve for expenditure in later years. The plan may be amended at a Town Meeting upon favorable recommendation of the Board of Trustees.
D. 
Payments to Trust.
(1) 
As a means of providing available assets for the Trust, all moneys received by the Town through the following means shall be paid directly into the Trust and need not be appropriated or accepted and approved into the Trust:
(a) 
Cash payments made by developers to the Town for purposes of creating or preserving affordable housing, under any development agreements or development approvals pursuant to the Cohasset Zoning Bylaw;
(b) 
Gifts, grants, donations, contributions or other cash payments to the Trust for the purpose of providing low- or moderate-income housing;
(2) 
General revenues appropriated into the Trust become Trust property, and to be expended these funds need not be further appropriated;
(3) 
All moneys remaining in the Trust at the end of any fiscal year, whether or not expended by the Board of Trustees within one year of the date they were appropriated into the Trust, shall remain Trust property;
(4) 
The Trust is exempt from Massachusetts General Laws Chapters 59 and 62, and from any other provisions concerning payment of taxes based upon or measured by property or income imposed by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof; and
(5) 
The books and records of the Trust shall be reviewed annually by an independent auditor in accordance with accepted accounting practices.
E. 
As used in this bylaw, the term "low- or moderate-income housing" shall mean "low-income housing" or "moderate-income housing" as defined in MGL c. 44B, § 2.
F. 
The Town Treasurer-Collector shall be the custodian of the Trust's funds. Any income or proceeds received from the investment of funds shall be credited to and become part of the fund.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
G. 
General provisions.
(1) 
The Trust is a governmental body for purposes of MGL c. 30A, §§ 18 to 25.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
(2) 
The Trust is a board of the Town for purposes of MGL c. 30B and MGL c. 40, § 15A, but agreements and conveyances between the Trust and agencies, boards, commissions, authorities, departments and public instrumentalities of the Town shall be exempt from MGL c. 30B.
(3) 
The Trust is a public employer and the members of the Board are public employees for purposes of MGL c. 258.
(4) 
The Trust shall be deemed a public agency and Trustees as special municipal employees for purposes of MGL c. 268A.
(5) 
All projects for new construction of affordable housing or conversion of existing units into affordable housing that are proposed to be funded or subsidized by the Trust shall be so constructed or converted through the Local Initiative or Local Access Programs as governed by the then-applicable regulations of the Department of Housing and Community Development, or its successor.
(6) 
At any time after the expiration of five years after the date on which this Trust is created by the Town, it may be terminated in the same manner as it was created, except that it shall remain in existence to complete any pending undertakings or obligations. During such winding down, the then-membership of the Board of Selectmen shall serve as the Trustees. The balance of any funds held by the Trust after winding down shall pass to the Town's Community Preservation Fund or some other substitute affordable housing fund created by the Town. Non-monetary assets of the Trust shall pass to the Town under the control of the Board of Selectmen under such restrictions as applicable law may require or as may have been prior imposed upon such assets.