Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 9, 2013

Town Yard zoning, Ballardvale pitch fall at Town Meeting

It’s back to the drawing board for Town Yard planning, but onward for so many other town efforts.

Only the first 38 articles had been voted at this year’s annual Town Meeting by Tuesday night. Among them, voters rejected a plan to renovate Ballardvale Fire Station. And though a majority supported it, not enough of a majority voted in favor of rezoning the Town Yard for mixed-use development.

Roughly 400 voters approved the town’s $144.9 million operating budget for the coming fiscal year on night one. Voting that night made it through a youth center land transfer, Ballardvale Fire Station renovation proposal and purchases of new Department of Public Works and fire rescue vehicles before calling it a night at 10:30 p.m.

Night two featured a Special Town Meeting around an hour after continuing the previous night’s session. That meeting voted to break up a $1.4 million trust for senior programming and the construction of a youth center (see related story). With north of 500 voters attending, voting ended just shy of 10:30 p.m.

A third night of voting was scheduled Wednesday night to tackle articles 39 and onward, which was held after Townsman deadline.

Honored at this year’s Annual Town Meeting were Tina Girdwood, recipient of this year’s Virginia Cole Community Service Award, and Dick Collins, honored by the School Committee for his 54 years of service to the Andover Public Schools.


To open the meeting on Monday, Moderator Sheila Doherty took a moment to recognize the town’s 367th birthday.

“The early colonists that were arriving were offered three years immunity from taxes to come here to live, and they were also awarded immunity to different services, with exception to military service,” Doherty said, in recalling the town’s creation on May 6, 1646 as an in-land plantation. “There were no formal town meetings until 10 years later, as the first one was reported in 1656 in the home of John Osgood, in what is now north Andover.”

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