EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 27, 2013

North Andover Commission reviews plan to build 240 homes off Route 114

By Paul Tennant
ptennant@eagletribune.com

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — The Conservation Commission began its review of a plan to build 240 apartments off Route 114 Wednesday night.

Because 60 of the homes would be set aside for lower-income tenants, the state’s anti-snob zoning law, Chapter 40B, exempts the project from most local zoning rules. The developer, North Andover Holdings LLC, was scheduled to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals last night, but requested a continuance.

Ellen McIntyre, vice chairwoman of the ZBA, said her board will probably make a decision on the plan in July. McIntyre has been presiding over the hearings on the project because the chairman of the board, Albert Manzi III, has recused himself from the process.

Ann Marton, director of ecological services for LEC Environmental Consultants, a firm that is advising the developer, told the commission Wednesday night that the property, near Berry Street and Route 114, has “a long history of use.” The Berry Street Riding Academy was located there for many years.

Current plans call for five four-story buildings, each with 48 apartments. A community building and outdoor pool would be built at the west end of the property, Marton said. There will be 409 parking spaces, she said.

Matthew Bombaci, an engineer with GPR, also retained by the developer, said the stormwater management system he designed will direct runoff into bioretention areas.

Patrick Lavery, of 259 Campbell Road, who resides near the site, said the soil there “is very complex.” He also noted that another project, Merrimac Condominiums, is under construction just down the road on Route 114.

Lavery said he is not convinced that the proposed stormwater management system will be adequate.

Lavery and others who live near the former Berry Street Riding Academy have warned that the project will have a large impact on their neighborhood. Conservation Commission Chairman Louis Napoli pointed out that the panel only has jurisdiction over wetlands issues.

Concerns about traffic are not within his board’s purview, he explained. Commissioner Joseph Lynch Jr. said the Zoning Board of Appeals will be seeking the Conservation Commission’s assessment of the project.

The commission voted to continue its review of the plan until May 29.