Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

May 2, 2013

Zoning changes needed to keep town attractive

Editor, Townsman:

As a 22-year citizen of Andover and chairman of Philips North America, headquartered in Andover, I encourage you to fully support the proposed Andover Transit Oriented Development District and the 1D2 zoning warrants for the River Road industrial area. This is one of the biggest opportunities the town has ever had to truly distinguish it as an attractive place to live and work, providing enhanced amenities, residential housing in the town center and an enhanced transportation hub that can serve all residents of Andover.

As a community and as a diversified technology company, we should strive to have a diversified tax base that keeps residential tax burdens reasonable. Twenty years ago, companies were attracted to these isolated corporate campuses to provide easy access and convenience for employees. Today, we are competing for talent in a pool of highly educated workers where the unemployment rate is under 4 percent. One-third of our employees are eligible to retire in the next seven years. Today, workers from the millennial generation do not desire the same lifestyles as their parents, choosing to work in collaborative environments and in communities with diversity, transportation and multiple conveniences accessible without having to get into a car. This puts distant suburbs like Andover at a disadvantage, and it’s one of the reasons why we are seeing many companies move back closer to Boston. The vibrant areas for industrial development are now near transportation corridors providing these features.

Philips continues to value Andover as a partner to the business community, but the community now needs to stop delaying the changes necessary to remain competitive. I firmly believe that approval for the ATODD is just the first in a series of steps to make the Town Yard move financially attractive and appealing to residents, while the lD2 zoning approval gives an opportunity to create a true “campus” feeling for these industrial parks, with strict controls over developers as managed by our Planning Board, including improved traffic configurations that reduce bottlenecks during rush hour.

Please step up and take the opportunity to bring Andover to a leading position in the Northeast corridor as a great place to live, work and play.

Gregory M. Sebasky

15 Muirfield Circle

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