Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 14, 2013

No consensus on rezoning Town Yard land


“When we first moved in 20 years ago, lots of homes were mixed use but mostly residential,” Kim said. “Now there’s the youth center, a parking lot. The historical homes were removed. It’s kind of a mix of random different buildings, and with the Town Yard right in the middle, so close downtown, I just really feel like it’s a really odd looking area.”

Where she works at Lawrence General Hospital, “I hear conversations among the hospital staff. ‘Andover is dead. There [are not] many fun things to do around here,’” she said. “So I feel like what you’re presenting, the potential of that area, it seems like it’s going to bring a lot to the community.”

Bateson Drive resident Steve Fink said a vibrant downtown “is such an exciting thing,” and the zoning would help enhance the downtown business community in that way.

“The potential is so enormous for Andover. I just hold up Concord, Newburyport and Lexington as great examples where work like this has happened,” he said. “If you really want to do something substantial about property values, do the kind of project you’re talking about.”

Others were less optimistic about the zoning proposal. Magnolia Avenue resident Ann Cobleigh, responding to questions from a North Main Street resident, said “it’s not just your property, but perhaps a neighbor’s property” that could be developed using the proposal.

“If they put a coffee shop next door, it could perhaps affect the value of your property, plus or minus.”

Selectman Mary Lyman, the lone voice against the proposal among members of the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen, said her concern “is the toxic waste that’s there, that the town will be responsible in perpetuity.”

It is expected that oil and other chemicals are in the ground, because the Town Yard has gas pumps and is where the town repairs vehicles

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