EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

July 13, 2014

Your view: Letters to the editor

Dorm site doesn’t work for neighborhood

To the editor:

I’m writing this letter in response to the July 9, “College’s dorm plans draw fire.”

As a member of the Coalition for Merrimack Smart Growth it was frustrating to hear the college’s response to our concerns regarding the new dormitory plans. At the one neighborhood meeting on June 12 (convened due to neighborhood pressure) we had a neighbor repeatedly ask the college when they would meet with us again.

The spokesperson, Felipe Schwarz, would not answer the question. Since then our group asked the President, Dr. Christopher Hopey, to meet with us to hear our concerns before we actively began our campaign. We are still waiting for a response. Twenty of us were at a recent Conservation Committee meeting. Mr. Doggett, Chief Operating Officer, was at that same meeting and he left before any of us could speak to him. I know of neighbors who could not attend or did not receive notice of the June 12 meeting and are still trying to get a direct response from Felipe Schwarz.

At a recent Town of Andover Selectman’s meeting the Selectmen asked the town manager to request that Merrimack meet with the neighborhood, other concerned residents and selectman. This is what it takes for us to have an audience with the college. Yet, Doggett says he “wants to sit in a room with all of us and hear what this means?”

It is disheartening that it has taken the pressure of negative press (July 9 article) and Andover Selectman to force Merrimack to converse with us. It is further discouraging that the meetings have been convened with such short notice. It is concerning that the agenda is Merrimack driven without an opportunity to hear the entire plan proposal in advance of the specific topic meetings Merrimack is proposing. We would like to meet with the college but within a reasonable time to arrange schedules for attendance and after we hear the full presentation on the July 22 Planning Board meeting.

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