Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

March 3, 2013

Town Yard forum addresses clean-up issue, purpose of vote

(Continued)

Buckland urged the audience, "don't be afraid of this, because, in fact, it's done all over the place. It's done on a regular basis."

There was also uncertainty surrounding the purpose of the article.

"This is not a Town Yard article," Peter Caruso, president of the Andover Business Community Association, said. "It's truly a zoning article, and it's expanding the downtown business area, and that's a good thing."

But Caruso's concern is that voters will think otherwise when the proposal hits the Town Meeting floor.

"This particular article does not concern the Town Yard being moved, not being moved," he said. "It could stay (on Lewis Street), and I think the public needs to understand that this particular Town Meeting warrant article talks about allowing this area to have a business community, period."

Don Robb, Council on Aging chairman, said that the town's real problem "is the Town Yard."

"For 15 years or more, the Board of Selectmen has been trying to find a solution to the Town Yard," he said. "Now, we're going to ignore the problem, and present this to the town."

By the end of the meeting, Selectmen Chairman Paul Salafia said he wanted to be clear that the article is, ultimately, a referendum on the Town Yard's future.

"If Town Meeting does vote to pass this, we will move it. If they vote to vote it down and it doesn't pass, we will build there at whatever cost," Salafia said. "This will be the solution for the Town Yard, whether it be on that site, or somewhere else."

Coming out of the forum, Planning Director Paul Materazzo said he expects the Planning Board will hold more forums up to Town Meeting to further gauge where the public sits on the proposal.

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