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The original item was published from 8/28/2023 4:26:55 PM to 10/7/2023 12:00:03 AM.

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Andover News

Posted on: August 28, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Andover Comprehensive Plan

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On Tuesday, August 8, the Andover Planning Board voted to adopt the 2023 Andover Comprehensive Plan. The Board’s vote marks the culmination of a multi-year process to develop a comprehensive planning document that establishes a cohesive vision for Andover’s future and provides a coordinated roadmap that will guide decisions through the next decade on land use, housing, economic development, open space, recreation, and a host of other priorities.

 

With the Planning Board’s adoption of the document, the Comprehensive Plan replaces the Town’s 2012 Master Plan, which has functioned as a reference the Board on special permit decisions and recommendations on Town Meeting warrant articles for the past decade. In the years since, Andover has changed significantly, adding 3,720 new residents and experiencing substantial commercial growth. This updated plan aligns with Andover's current identity and future trajectory, ensuring that the town's planning strategies remain relevant and responsive to the ever-changing local context.

Click here to view the full 2023 Andover Comprehensive Plan.

 

The process to craft an updated Comprehensive Plan was initiated a in 2021 and has been guided at every stage by input from members of the community. A Steering Committee was appointed in May 2021, comprised of Andover residents with a diverse range of professional expertise. The Committee has worked diligently to ensure that the updated plan reflects the values and priorities of the community. In the two years since, feedback has been gathered from hundreds of Andover residents through surveys, focus groups, and several well-attended visioning sessions. 

 

With the support of Town staff and Utile Architecture & Planning, the insights derived from the community-focused visioning process were synthesized into the Comprehensive Plan was presented to the Planning Board earlier this month.    

 

The document outlines a series of three priority recommendations: growing industrial and commercial space along I-93, enhancing space around the Shawsheen River by filling in residential areas and improving open space, and connecting the east and west sides of Andover through streetscape improvements.

 

The plan’s recommendation around industrial and commercial growth in the I-93 corridor proposes rethinking existing large-scale facilities in Andover that are commonly one-story high and feature high volumes of underutilized parking. Under the proposed conditions, two to three additional floors could be added above ground-floor industrial space, allowing for commercial or light industrial uses. Allowing multi-story facilities, according to master plan developers, would create an incentive for property owners to redevelop sites in a manner that reflects 21-century needs of their tenants. The proposal further calls for lowering   parking ratios to align with current industry standards.

 

Recommendations related to enhancing the area along the Shawsheen River suggest leveraging ongoing efforts including the Shawsheen River Master Plan and the Historic Mill Overlay District (HMOD) to enhance both recreational and historical aspects of existing town centers and natural resources. Simultaneously, the recommendation seeks to address housing needs by promoting "missing middle" housing – housing that is less dense than multifamily but denser than single-family units. 

 

The final priority recommendation suggests enhancing travel from east to west in Andover by investing in multimodal improvements on the Town’s main thoroughfares. This includes systematic reinvestment in existing roads, implementing strategies to reduce traffic speed, and creating a better experience for non-pedestrian commuters. Strategies for multimodal improvements emphasized in the Comprehensive Plan include traffic calming, improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and beautification. 

 

Beyond these three priorities, the Comprehensive Plan outlines additional recommendations in the areas of urban form and land use, housing, natural environment, mobility and transportation, and the economy and jobs. Measurable goals and action items to achieve them are detailed in each section.

 

The adoption of the Comprehensive Plan does not automatically enact its proposals; rather, it sets the stage for further actions that will bring the outlined visions to life. While the document provides a roadmap for future development in Andover, specific proposals outlined in the plan will require additional steps for implementation. This could include zoning changes or appropriations to fund capital projects.

 

The Planning Board’s approval of the Comprehensive Plan sets a new phase of action in motion. Now, Town staff will thoroughly review the plan’s recommendations and begin to formulate plans for their implementation over the next ten years. 


Click here to view the full 2023 Andover Comprehensive Plan.

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