“The mission we have is to make this town the best place to live and work,” Vaill said. “It’s a whole list of things — the best schools, parks and recreation, roads and facilities.”
With other communities pursuing the same mission, Andover can’t risk losing the foundation it has already established, he added.
“We have a wonderful economic base and strong employers, but if we don’t stay competitive, we won’t have that going forward,” he said.
In Andover, one way to secure a strong future has been to create zoning districts that allow for nontraditional uses of former manufacturing sites.
The so-called ID-2 zoning, or Industrial District-2, rezoned commercial property on River and Dascomb roads earlier this year so that in addition to traditional uses such as offices and light manufacturing, the area could attract grocery stores, restaurants, health clubs, medical facilities and other amenities that could be used by workers in the West Andover section of town.
“The reason we did that is that other towns are offering that,” Vaill said. “That was a very important vote. We are looking forward, over the next 10 or 15 years — we want to keep companies like Phillips Medical and Raytheon here.”
Already, that rezoning has borne some fruit as Restaurant Depot, which sells supplies to small- and medium-sized restaurants, has proposed opening up in a portion of the old Brockway-Smith building at 146 Dascomb Road.
“That sets the table for other opportunities down there to move forward on that site,” Town Planner Paul Materazzo said. “That’s an old warehousing facility that has new life on that site.”
He said there have been a “number of development teams looking closely at that property” as well as others in the new ID-2 zone. So far, however, only Restaurant Depot has filed plans.