Community Development Plan
In January 2000, the Governor issued Executive Order 418 providing cities and towns with $30,000 to create a Community Development Plan (CDP) to address the stateís critical housing need while simultaneously balancing economic progress, transportation issues and open space preservation. The CDPís purpose is to encourage people to think about what is best for the whole community now and in the future. The Department of Housing and Community Development approved Andoverís CDP in December 2004. As a result, Andover continues to be eligible for state funding and competitive grants. The Town will also use the Planís conclusions to update the corresponding four sections in the 1992 Master Plan.
The Town of Andover is faced with several challenges: 1) Housing has become less affordable for those who want to live and work, or simply to remain, in Andover; 2) Andover must remain economically competitive to maintain a stable tax base; 3) Limited funding and the continuous development of substandard parcels impede the preservation of open space; and 4) Residential, commercial, and industrial development at the local and regional levels has dramatically increased traffic. The foundation of the CDP is the Andover Vision Statement. The Vision provides a framework for decision-making by Town officials and citizens. Where elements of this Plan differ from the Vision, implementation must involve balance and compromise, weighing the various inputs according to their proportionate value.
Economic Development Element
Andover has a strong local economy that was created through properly designed land uses, strong planning, and good positioning. In order to be competitive in the changing economy, it is recommended that the Town proceed with the following economic strategies: 1) Create a new management and marketing organization or committee that focuses on local business interests while utilizing the marketing skills of regional organizations; 2) Consider adopting zoning bylaw amendments that encourage a diverse mix of high quality/low impact industries and allow the development and redevelopment of existing parcels; 3) Improve infrastructure and programs that create access to industrial land and reduce congestion on local roads; and 4) Seek partnerships with Andoverís business community.
Over time, the enhanced economy has provided a tax base that created first-rate town services, including a high-quality school system, and funding for open space preservation. The result is increased demand for the remaining land. Housing costs have outpaced the region and the nation over the past ten years. Due to Andover approaching its build out, greater care is needed in planning for future land development. Unless measures are taken to protect and increase Andoverís housing supply, there is a danger that people who were raised here and who work here, will no longer be able to afford Andover. The solution is coordinated expansion of opportunities for different market segments, gradually reducing pressure and opening new options. Suggested recommendations: 1) Keep designated affordable housing units in perpetuity; 2) Provide outreach to seniors and encourage elderly housing developments; 3) Establish a housing trust fund; and 4) Encourage zoning bylaw regulations that reuse old, industrial buildings for residential uses, maintain a mix of housing stock, preserve neighborhoods and promote new development to be moderate in scale.
Open Space Element
The value of land in Andover has become so high; almost every parcel now in private hands is vulnerable to housing or commercial development within the next few decades. The need to protect critical open space areas is necessary to protect Andoverís small town character, provide recreational opportunities, and continue wise management of natural resources. Suggested recommendations: 1) Acquire undeveloped portions of watershed or protect it through regulations; 2) Encourage developers to design subdivisions that protect critical areas and provide open space parcels and connections to conservation land; 3) Establish alternative linkages and trails; 4) Develop a management plan for town-owned conservation properties, and budget annually for maintenance of conservation areas; 5) Encourage volunteer efforts to promote proper use and maintenance whenever possible; and 6) Seek funding mechanisms to assist in continued acquisition of prioritized undeveloped land.
Andoverís transportation system supports businesses and residences and connects Andover to neighboring towns and the regional interstate system. Although Andover has an excellent road system, there are issues that need attention. Over time, commercial, industrial, and residential development has increased the number of vehicles and the frequency of use into unaccustomed neighborhoods. Suggested recommendations: 1) Support high-speed transit systems that will link Andover with other areas of the Commonwealth and New England; 2) Support improvement of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transportation Authority's flexible design service along with expansion of days and hours of service; 3) Repair or replace the inadequate bridges; 4) Increase bicycle use by providing a range of options; 5) Improve access and management of the River Road and Dascomb Road areas to create more efficient traffic flow and allow existing industrial land to be effectively developed; 6) Promote zoning and land use regulations that are consistent with the region's transportation goals; and 7) Build new access from I-93 to Burtt Road and Lowell Junction to allow existing industrial land to be developed and decrease vehicle trips on neighborhood roads.
- CDP Executive Summary
- Action Plan Map
- Economic Development Plan Map
- Open Space Plan Map
- Transportation Plan Map