NORTH ANDOVER — Residents of Berry Street and the surrounding area continued to press their opposition to a plan to build 240 apartments in their neighborhood last night.
After listening to the developer’s plans for landscaping and lighting, the Zoning Board of Appeals continued the hearing until Sept. 17. North Andover Holdings LLC, headed by local resident Eric Loth, proposes building the apartments on a 27-acre site on Berry Street that’s close to Route 114.
Because 25 percent of the apartments would be set aside for tenants earning below-average incomes, the developer is entitled to request approval under Chapter 40B, the state’s “anti-snob” zoning law. Chapter 40B exempts such projects from most local zoning regulations.
Judith Ferres, of 31 Oxbow Circle, summed up the views of the project’s opponents when she said it’s “too large for that area.”
Will Edwards, of 90 Windsor Lane, pointed out the neighborhood is now made up of single-family homes. He recommended that some of the buildings proposed in the project be eliminated and that parking areas be located under those buildings.
The developer plans to construct five 4-story buildings of 48 units each. What North Andover Holdings LLC proposes is “not appropriate for the surrounding area,” Edwards said.
Deborah Labrie, of 25 Windsor Lane, urged members of the Zoning Board of Appeals to drive on Berry Street and other nearby roads, noting that they are all narrow.
Loth said he has met with neighbors and listened to their concerns about the project. He noted that he changed the design of the project so that the parking areas are behind the apartment buildings. That will make the development more attractive, he said.
Loth also said his project will not be any denser than other housing developments in the town. What he proposes on Berry Street will have nine units per acre, Loth said. Heritage Green Condominiums has 12 units per acre while Sutton Pond has 28 units per acre, he said.
If it’s approved, the project will provide an opportunity for young people and retired folks to have a place to live, Loth said.
Curt Bellavance, North Andover’s community development director, said the town has hired the engineering firm Weston & Sampson to analyze the volume of sewage expected from the apartments. The firm will give an opinion on whether the town’s sewerage system and the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District plant can handle the increase in waste water, he said.
Attorney Theodore Regnante, who represents the developer, said he would be willing to let the hearing process extend until Sept. 19. Zoning Board of Appeals Chairwoman Ellen McIntyre said the panel will need to have until October anyway.
“October is a stretch for us,” Regnante said.
McIntyre said the board will not be ready to make a decision by Sept. 19. Not all information, including the sewage analysis, will be submitted by then, she said.
“You know that,” she told Regnante.