EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 9, 2013

Industrial zoning, river gauge both gain approval

ANDOVER — A plan to attract restaurants, retail and other amenities to an active business, professional and industrial sector on the outskirts of Andover has cleared a major hurdle.

Town Meeting wrapped up last night with a vote to create an “ID2” zoning district along two of the town’s Route 93 interchanges on Dascomb and River roads.

By doing so, town officials hope to encourage the growth of businesses to cater to the thousands of employees based in the area, including at major corporations such as HP, Philips Electronics and Schneider Electric.

Many supporting the three ID2 articles on the warrant said adding amenities like restaurants would gives businesses more opportunity to attract workers — and possibly even draw larger companies to town.

“If we were making a campus decision as a company, Andover would not be on that list (of towns to go to) based upon the skills that we need,” said Greg Sebasky, representing Philips Electronics on Minuteman Road. “Andover is becoming uncompetitive in commercial growth.”

But others like Dascomb Road resident Dolores Cleland argued against the change, saying there are already plenty of restaurants and service business in the area, as well as a gas station and car wash.

“Are we going to have duplications of these?” she asked.

Catherine Burton of River Road argued that the new district “will absolutely change the character of our town. I don’t think anyone wants Andover’s gateways to look like Woburn, Tewksbury or even Westford.”

Also last night, Town Meeting voted to buy conservation land along Lowell Junction Road for $550,000 and OK’d a private citizens’ request to raise $60,000 for a stream gauging station along Shawsheen River.

The only article that failed to win voters’ favor was an $18,000 request for a downtown parking study. It fell 17 votes shy, with a vote of 109 to 126, after some residents argued against having taxpayers foot the bill.

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