EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 5, 2013

Business-friendly zoning pitch returns

2011 plan to come to 2013 Town Meeting with town authorship

ANDOVER — After a developer-driven River Road Overlay District plan was pulled from Town Meeting in 2011, a similar proposal — now with town authorship — is ready for the public spotlight.

Known by officials as “ID2,” the to-be-presented industrial zoning district plan seeks to expand business options in two areas of town: the Interstate 93 interchanges off of River Road and Dascomb Road.

It is being proposed jointly by the Planning Board, Andover Green Advisory Board and the recently created Economic Development Council, according to Planning Director Paul Materazzo. The zoning would be enforced via a special permit requiring Planning Board approval, meaning businesses would be approved on a case-by-case basis.

The two targeted areas have already-established industrial cores buzzing with life on a daily basis. But for now, they’re short on amenities and services like coffee shops, small stores, fitness centers and more, according to Economic Development Council Chairman Tim Vaill.

“When they get out of work, they want to go to the dry cleaners, to Starbucks. They want to go somewhere to take care of their daily needs,” Vaill said. “Right now, because we don’t have the zoning, they get out of work and drive to the next town.”

In many cases, these things are out of reach — they may be built elsewhere in town, but far away, where zoning allows for them.

“If you and I were on our lunch break, for us to jump in our car and drive to these services ... You don’t have the time,” Materazzo said. “Allowing the flexibility in these specific areas in town would allow for some of these complimentary services to move forward.”

There’s a regional market for small businesses and services around the two I-93 interchanges, but “the market knows Andover is starved for these services,” Materazzo said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Merrimack Valley

Eagle-Tribune News Videos
Photos of the Week