Some residents seem excited about rezoning Andover’s Town Yard at May’s Annual Town Meeting, but others are concerned about how it would impact traffic and property values in the area.
The Planning Board and Board of Selectmen held a public forum yesterday at the Public Safety Center. The meeting opened a zoning proposal up to the public after around 10 months of meetings that prohibited public input.
At the meeting, officials presented a plan coming to Annual Town Meeting to rezone the Town Yard on Lewis Street and most of its surrounding property to allow for more development opportunities.
If approved at Town Meeting, officials would take the vote as support for moving the Town Yard away from Lewis Street, where it was built in the ‘60s as a temporary solution for the town’s vehicle and road maintenance needs, according to Paul Salafia, Board of Selectmen chairman.
“What the town is looking to do is create additional value on the town’s holdings,” Planning Director Paul Materazzo said.
The zoning is aimed at taking advantage of a railroad station on neighboring Railroad Street to create transit-oriented development. It would allow for mixed use development incorporating retail stores, restaurants and residential units in some fashion.
The property also sits on the edge of downtown Andover in what, for years, officials have referred to as the “Golden Triangle.”
The Town Yard takes up around three acres of land in the center of the proposed district, but if rezoned, “the town could stand to gain about $3.3 million for selling just the property with the zoning in hand,” Materazzo said.
Some in attendance professed their support for the plan, like Greg Sebasky, chairman of the Andover Green Advisory Board and chairman of Phillips Electronics, which employes around 2,500 people in Andover.
“We have challenges in attracting the kind of talent we need for our company for the future, particularly young people who don’t want to live so far from the city, or if they do, they want options,” he said. “They don’t want to live on River Road, out by the Franciscan Center.”