Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

January 10, 2013

Rezoning proposal returns with town ownership

Town Meeting voters could rezone River and Dascomb roads near highway ramps

The town will ask voters to open up land near two highway interchanges for more than just industrial development.

After a developer-driven effort to rezone the River Road area for additional uses was pulled from the 2011 Annual Town Meeting warrant, three town committees have been working to provide a solution for expanding the use of land around the River Road and Dascomb Road Interstate 93 interchanges.

Known by officials as “ID2,” the to-be-presented industrial zoning district aims to expand the existing industrial zoning climate by allowing developers to build small businesses, services and amenities in the area.

For the time being, people who work in the area do not have convenient access to services, which Economic Development Council Chairman Timothy Vaill said makes the area less desirable for businesses looking to expand or move.

“When they get out of work, they want to go to the dry cleaners, to Starbucks. They want to go somewhere to take care of their daily needs,” Vaill said. “Right now, because we don’t have the zoning, they get out of work and drive to the next town.”

Many of these services are located elsewhere in Andover, but still considered out of convenient reach.

“If you and I were on our lunch break, for us to jump in our car and drive to these services... You don’t have the time,” Andover Planning Director Paul Materazzo said. “Allowing the flexibility in these specific areas in town would allow for some of these complimentary services to move forward.”

The new zoning is being proposed jointly by the Planning Board, Andover Green Advisory Board and recently created Economic Development Council, according to Materazzo. The zoning would be enforced via a special permit requiring Planning Board approval, meaning businesses would be approved on a case-by-case basis.

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