To the editor:
Last Sunday’s editorial on the state housing crisis was a good start at discussing the competing forces shaping the issue, but it missed two key points.
The first is that new housing cannot come without the infrastructure to support it — notably schools and roads. Simply building units may solve the housing crisis, but it will generate new crises if we don’t have the infrastructure to support them.
If the state wants to support housing, even push it upon us, they must also make provisions for infrastructure.
The second is that zoning laws are not just about metrics, they preserve communities. Large proposals that might build a community in one area could destroy a community in another. It depends upon existing characteristics.
This is why the North Andover special permit speaks to “appropriate locations” that don’t “adversely affect the neighborhood” or cause “nuisance” to the inhabitants. Any relaxing of zoning laws must keep one eye on the preservation of neighborhood character.
People don’t just want housing, they want communities. Looking at zoning as a broad brush tends to miss this point and push the focus toward metrics.
These issues are prominent in the North Andover AvalonBay proposal. The Eagle-Tribune is wrong to paint it merely as “politically” unappealing.
The size of the development generates negative ramifications that invade nearly every aspect of our lives — education, finance, environment, transportation and health, to name a few.
The site should be developed, but on a scale that won’t crush us.