EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 22, 2013

Town Yard meeting talks contamination, purpose

ANDOVER — Last night was the town’s last chance to talk about rezoning the Town Yard in a “community conversation” format.

The discussion focused on two things: How contamination at the site affects its future development and what the true purpose of the upcoming Town Meeting article is.

Last night, officials held the second of two nights of hearings over a zoning proposal targeting several acres around North Main, Pearson and Railroad streets. With the Town Yard at the site’s core, rezoning the land to add more development options could extend downtown Andover northward and give officials the signal they need to relocate the Town Yard from its current, aged facility on Lewis Street, officials have said.

But for many in the audience, that wasn’t clear last night.

“The real problem we have facing us is the Town Yard,” York Street resident Don Robb said. “For 15 years or more, the Board of Selectmen has been trying to find a solution to the Town Yard. Now, we’re going to ignore that problem and present this to the town.”

Selectwoman Mary Lyman, a vocal opponent to relocating the Town Yard off of Lewis Street, said Andover’s goal “was to get a Town Yard. That was our goal. We can do that with this site (by rebuilding it instead). We can manage it, but we’re losing sight of it trying to expand it to something else.”

Cyr Circle resident Mary Carbone said the article is “all about a zoning change,” and added that “it should not happen.”

“We should relate to the people that are working at the Town Yard, who have been hanging out to dry for years there,” she said. “It’s in deplorable condition. They deserve better than that.”

Tim Vale, chairman of the Economic Development Council, likened the article to “creating an opportunity.”

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