By Dustin Luca
---- — ANDOVER — The Zoning Board unanimously supported a 224-apartment affordable housing development on Lowell Street yesterday.
The project, Andover Apartments @ Rolling Green, seeks to build two, four-story buildings on the corner of Routes 133 and 93, behind an existing Windsor Green apartment community. With Zoning Board support vetting the project, it now moves on to securing a variety of other local and state permits before developers break ground.
The board’s decision to approve Rolling Green comes with a heavy list of conditions regulating the project. That decision can be appealed within the next 20 days, according to Stephen Anderson, Zoning Board chairman.
The public hearing process for the project started last October. With approval in hand after 13 months of hearings, those behind the project are pleased to move forward.
“It has been a thorough process from the Zoning Board, and we look forward to moving forward,” applicant attorney Mark Johnson said.
The project is broken down into 134 one-bedroom units, 70 two-bedroom units and 20 three-bedroom units. It will also have 182 parking spaces in garages underneath the two buildings and 195 outdoor parking spaces. It will be built on 20.1 acres of land.
A total of 56 apartments will be “affordable units” restricted to household incomes that are at least 20 percent lower than the area median income.
Under Massachusetts General Law 40B, which establishes the rules governing affordable housing projects, towns need to have at least 10 percent of their homes classified as affordable. This project, once it receives additional, obligatory town and state permits, will move Andover above the 10 percent threshold, Anderson said.
Getting Zoning Board approval for the project has not been easy. Since it was first proposed, meetings have addressed a variety of concerns, including traffic impacts, water and sewer needs, how the project would affect area schools and more.
Traffic getting to Rolling Green will use the existing entrance for Windsor Green, located across the street from the town’s IRS facility on Lowell Street. A new intersection with traffic lights will be built at that entrance to help mitigate traffic impacts.
As part of the approval, nearly 27 acres of open land along Fish Brook will also be given to the town.
When Rolling Green was first presented in 2011, another large affordable housing project on Shattuck Road came before the same board. That project was denied by the board in September, and the decision is being appealed.
The approval of Rolling Green comes a month ahead of yet another affordable housing development coming before the Zoning Board. That project, which seeks to build 20 detached single family homes off of South Main Street, is slated to come before the board in January, according to Anderson.