Selectman Mary Lyman, nearly from the beginning, has opposed rezoning the area. While she recognizes the Town Yard is decades overdue for a replacement, she says this isn’t what she envisioned.
Underneath the Town Yard, years of toxic conditions await a cleanup opportunity, she said. Recently, a review of the site determined that cost would more than likely be less than $100,000, but worst-case scenarios could go higher.
If the zoning passes and the Town Yard moves so the area can be redeveloped, those underground conditions all come to the surface — literally, she said.
“The taxpayer has to pay to have that cleaned up to the owner’s satisfaction,” Lyman said. “We can sell it, but we own it in perpetuity.”
Rezoning for mixed use also has an added effect of “adding more housing demand, which can create more school demands,” she said. “We’re already bulging at the seams in many of our schools.”
With recent proposals for rebuilding the Town Yard off-site ranging between $18 million and $21 million, Lyman also characterized the vision of Andover’s next Town Yard as a lavish one with more than the community needs.
“We don’t need to have a Taj Mahal of Town Yards. We need simple building structures that can house the equipment we have,” she said. “The biggest question is, is this the best thing for the taxpayer? I say, `absolutely not.’”