ANDOVER — A town staff member called police to the Sept. 2 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting because of “residents getting rowdy,” according to the police call log.
More than two dozen Andover residents gathered at the meeting to voice opposition to an outpatient addiction treatment and detox center that would require 24-hour use at Doctors Park on Haverhill Street. Residents at the meeting said they had not been properly notified by town officials about the project.
“The residents were cleared out by the time the officer arrived,” said Lt. Eddie Guy, the spokesperson for Andover Police.
The ZBA had already closed the public hearing for the project’s three variances and had made a decision to grant the developers the variances by the time residents came to the meeting.
“The biggest issue here is no one seems to have been notified,” said Rich Ranzi, who lives directly across the street from Doctors Park. “Going from a day-time operation to 24-hours with trucks coming in and out, it’s different.”
The board still discussed procedural aspects to the approval process and told residents they could appeal the board’s decision or ask the Planning Board to halt the project. Board members reiterated these processes for about 45 minutes before they solidified their pre-written approval for the variances moved on to the next item.
That’s when a town staff member called the police, Guy said. There was no record of who made the call, he clarified.
“Residents cleared out no issue,” the police log noted.
“It’s my expectation that the chairs of the boards and committees manage the public comment portions of their meetings,” said Town Manager Andrew Flanagan. “In rare instances when board members or staff are concerned about their safety or the safety of meeting participants, I trust that they use their best judgment when asking for a police presence.”
Residents have yet to appeal the ZBA’s decision as of press time, as plans for redevelopment moved ahead with the Planning Board Tuesday night.