But Peter Caruso, president of the Andover Business Community Association, said his organization supported the effort, even though most of its membership is based miles away in downtown.
"It will keep the people who work in these businesses in Andover," he said. "We have them now. Let's keep them."
Also last night, Town Meeting voted to buy conservation land along Lowell Junction Road for $550,000 and OK'd a private citizens' request to raise $60,000 for a stream gauging station along Shawsheen River.
The only article that failed to win voters' favor was an $18,000 request for a downtown parking study. It fell 17 votes shy, with a vote of 109 to 126, after some residents argued against having taxpayers foot the bill.
Town Meeting floor also got heated over the proposed purchase of what's known as the Reichhold land along Lowell Junction Road. But voters ultimately supported a $550,000 appropriation toward the purchase and a land grant application to fund some of that cost. The decision brings to closure a process started more than two decades ago, Town Manager Reginald "Buzz" Stapczynski said.
Some residents, however, weren't happy with the end result.
Lovejoy Road resident Fred Livingstone asked selectmen, "How do you justify recommending the town spend another half a million dollars to purchase even more land, while only making token gestures to deal with the town's unfunded liabilities that are in the hundreds of millions of dollars?"
Cherrywood Circle resident Bob Pokress of the fiscal watchdog website townofandover.com echoed Livingston's concerns.
"The town manager made a point on a number of occasions, making reference to a previous authorization 12 years ago," Pokress said. "None of us knew we'd be looking down the barrel at millions of dollars of unfunded liabilities" when finishing off the purchases.