ANDOVER — A plan to attract restaurants, retail and other amenities to an active business, professional and industrial sector on the outskirts of Andover has cleared a major hurdle.
Town Meeting wrapped up Wednesday night with a vote to create an "ID2" zoning district along two of the town's Route 93 interchanges on Dascomb and River roads.
By doing so, town officials hope to encourage the growth of businesses to cater to the thousands of employees based in the area, including at major corporations such as HP, Philips Electronics and Schneider Electric as well as Greater Lawrence Technical High School and Massachusetts College of Law.
Many supporting the three ID2 articles on the warrant said adding amenities such as grocery stores and restaurants would gives businesses more opportunity to attract workers — and possibly even draw larger companies to town.
"If we were making a campus decision as a company, Andover would not be on that list (of towns to go to) based upon the skills that we need," said Greg Sebasky, representing Philips Electronics on Minuteman Road. "Andover is becoming uncompetitive in commercial growth."
But others like Dascomb Road resident Dolores Cleland argued against the change, saying there are already plenty of restaurants and service business in the area, as well as a gas station and car wash.
"Are we going to have duplications of these?" she asked.
Catherine Burton of River Road argued that the new district "will absolutely change the character of our town. I don't think anyone wants Andover's gateways to look like Woburn, Tewksbury or even Westford."
"There are houses directly across the street from this property," she said. "Tonight, they look out at a lawn. Tomorrow? They might look at a Dumpster for Cumberland Farms."