EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 13, 2013

Neighbors fight apartment plan

NORTH ANDOVER — The Berry Street Neighborhood Association means business in its fight to stop the construction of 240 apartments.

The group has hired an attorney and if the Zoning Board of Appeals approves the plan to build 240 apartments on Berry Street, the association “will consider legal action,” according to its president, Jeffrey Moon.

“It’s just inappropriate for the location,” Moon told The Eagle-Tribune on Thursday afternoon.

North Andover Holdings LLC, headed by Eric Loth and Louis Minicucci, intends to build the apartments on the site of the former Berry Street Riding Academy. The developer has applied for permission to construct the homes under Chapter 40B, a state law that exempts builders from local zoning regulations if at least 25 percent of the residences they seek to erect are set aside for people with below-average incomes.

The Zoning Board of Appeals has held several hearings on the project and another one is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall.

Moon said he and other members of the Berry Street Neighborhood Association do not object to building affordable housing. They just don’t think a neighborhood of single-family homes with 1-acre lots is the right place, he said.

Moon said he and others in the group fear the apartments will bring 400 or more additional cars to their neighborhood. While Loth recently estimated the apartments would add 20 children to the local schools, Moon said the number could be much higher.

An apartment complex in Andover, he said, was expected to add 20 children to the school system. The number turned out to be 88, he said.

If the North Andover Holdings project is approved, the complex will pay close to a half million dollars in real estate taxes, Loth has said. Moon, however, said that amount will be more than offset by additional students attending North Andover schools.

Moon and 15 to 20 other members of the association recently met with Loth and Minicucci. They have changed the plan for the apartment complex so that it would have four buildings instead of the five originally proposed.

“But it still totals 240 apartments,” Moon said.

Loth could not be reached for comment.

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