Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

November 1, 2012

Chandler Road neighbors fight parking for hikers

Armed with a petition with 92 names, a group of Chandler Road area residents has been quietly fighting against plans to build a small parking lot near a town trail in their neighborhood.

A 60-by-30-foot parking lot for six cars is planned for 194 Chandler Road, at an entrance to Fish Brook Conservation. It’s a popular town-owned trail for local hikers, but parking is difficult. Currently, just two parked cars can fit on an existing pull-off on the shoulder of Chandler Road. Many hikers park further away and walk to the trail.

Barry McQuade, whose property abuts the proposed new lot, said neighborhood concerns can be summed up in one word – safety.

“Safety is what we are worried about,” McQuade said. “I could care less about abutting, I’m just worried about what this parking lot will bring at night.”

McQuade said last August’s incident where an out-of-town couple allegedly high on drugs hooked up at another town reservation (Serio’s Grove) in the middle of the night is worrisome to the neighborhood. After an early morning 911 call was made to police by a woman whose boyfriend had bit her, police found the man naked and covered in feces. The couple was arrested at 5:15 a.m. that day and faced numerous charges, including heroin and LSD possession.

Conservation Director Bob Douglas said bringing up the Serio’s Grove incident was “unfair.”

“They lifted the gate, drove a car under,” Douglas said. “We have fixed that gate so you can’t lift it.”

His focus is the parking lot on Chandler Road. A permit to build the parking lot has been approved by the town’s seven-member Conversation Commission. Trees will soon be cleared and fill delivered for the small, new lot. Douglas hopes to have the lot finished in mid-winter, he said.

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