Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

March 7, 2013

Rezoning Town Yard is good planning

Editor, Townsman:

Over the last couple of years there has been a lot of public discussions on both the relocation of the existing Town Yard facilities and on the value of redeveloping the downtown area surrounding the town yard. For a number of reasons, I feel that it is in the town’s long term interest to find solutions to both of these issues.

Anyone who has looked closely at the issues surrounding the existing Town Yard can easily tell that the buildings are in significant disrepair. The size of this town property can only serve a portion of the town-maintenance needs, forcing the town to inefficiently spread equipment and personnel to various other sites. If you talk with the actual crews, they lament that a lot of their time is devoted to moving equipment from site to site as they struggle to maintain their vehicles and other equipment due to lack of space and proper facilities. The bottom line is that inadequate facilities that are decentralized cost us money as our crews could never operate anywhere close to optimal efficiency under the present situation.

But perhaps more significantly, the existing Town Yard is simply located on land that has much more value than its present use can ever provide. With the property being adjacent to our existing downtown, in close proximity to the public library and commuter rail, this area could provide a vibrant expansion of mixed use development that I would strongly argue is good for our community. It could expand and complement our existing downtown area, offering a variety of residential and commercial options to our residents and businesses. In addition, the town could certainly benefit from the estimated $3.3 million sale of the Town Yard property, but I would note the town would benefit even more from added tax revenue generated over time by improvements to this area.

Whether trying to achieve personal goals or community goals, proper planning demands one recognize the long term benefits from their actions. Rezoning the area around the existing Town Yard is in our long term interest and is an excellent example of good planning.

Mark Yanowitz

20 Wild Rose Drive

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