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Berry Street Neighbors Prepare For Final Battle

A vote by the Zoning Board of Appeals could come in less than two weeks.

Jeff Moon, Berry Street Neighborhood Association President. Photo Credit: Bryan McGonigle
Jeff Moon, Berry Street Neighborhood Association President. Photo Credit: Bryan McGonigle
At their Jan. 28 meeting, the Zoning Board of Appeals may hold its final public meeting regarding a proposed 40B development on Berry Street, and the board may even vote on the proposal.

The Berry Street Neighborhood Association -- a grassroots group of neighbors opposed to the development -- is gearing up for that final battle.

"The residents of the neighborhood recognize that this is a piece of property that can be developed -- we have supported past applicants in recent years -- and we do not object to the construction of affordable housing," BSNA President Jeff Moon wrote in a letter recently to Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Ellen McIntyre.

North Andover Holdings LLC filed the proposal under Chapter 40B, a state law that requires a certain percentage of a town's new units be affordable and also allows developers to work around local zoning bylaws.

Since then, there have been discussions between that company, the board and the neighborhood association. The project has been reduced from 240 units to 196. Buildings have been moved to leave more open space.

But for opponents, the project is still too big for the rural road off Route 114. The latest concern involves height. The modified 196-unit plan would create two four-story buildings and two three-story buildings. The taller buildings would reach more that 60 feet when finished.

"If we look at current North Andover regulations, which are quoted in the waiver list, the maximum allowed building height is 35 feet, which few, if any, of the single family homes in this residential neighborhood exceed," Moon wrote.

Moon added that such large buildings would change the character of the neighborhood and that changes made to the proposal have not gone far enough to ease neighbors' concerns.

"It should be clear to people familiar with our town that we are not Boston; we are a typical small-town New England community," Moon wrote. "On a clear day, if you go back to the top of Weir Hill, you can see tree tops and the peaks of Mount Wachusett and Mount Monadnock; we should not be seeing the roof peaks of oversized developments."

Moon's letter goes on to note issues with traffic, which has been a main focus of the opposition since the proposal's inception. Having so many units along a narrow street near the intersection of Route 114 would create a bottleneck of traffic and potentially road hazards, he said.
Cool Fusion January 16, 2014 at 08:33 PM
If the system is corrupt, you must erupt. Like everything else in Vichy North Andover, this too has been sold to the connected insiders. Warning: Incoming unintended consequences.
patrick lavery January 19, 2014 at 06:47 PM
And as complained at many of the meetings, the Berry Street/Campbell Road corridor cannot handle the huge increase in traffic. This winter alone, 4 cars off the road that required police and tow truck assistance and that is the norm. Wait tip we have 1500 additional cars a day
Cool Fusion January 19, 2014 at 08:54 PM
While you were watching Honey Boo Boo commercials instead of attending the Zoning Board meeting .. the Finance Board and Selectmen were preparing for approval as proposed. Own/city: North Andover Date of rate approval by state: NA RESIDENTIAL RATES Residential rate - FY 2014 $14.41 Residential rate - FY2013 $13.72 Residential rate, 1-year change (%) 5.0% COMMERCIAL RATES Commercial rate - FY2014 $19.45 Commercial rate - FY2013 $18.85 Commercial rate, 1-year change (%) 3.2% INDUSTRIAL RATES Industrial rate - FY2014 $19.45 Industrial rate - FY2013 $18.85 Industrial rate, 1-year change (%) 3.2%
Carl Reppucci January 19, 2014 at 11:27 PM
And North Andover Patch does not think it is news worthy.

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