The Proposal Pause on permitting new mega complexes - e.g. Avalon on High Street and Princeton Properties at the former Forgetta Farm on Osgood Street - until the Town conducts a study to assess the impact on our community. The Royal Crest proposal would almost triple their housing! Specifically: Vote for a moratorium on the construction of multi-family dwellings consisting of three or more dwelling units in any zoning district in the town for a period of two years; Commission a study to assess the impact on our:
Public safety (e.g. police and fire),
Sewerage treatment and overflows
Other town services, and
Quality of life.
Why ask to slow down the construction of new mega complexes? North Andover’s population percentage is growing at almost double the Commonwealth’s rate and 60% faster than Essex County.
Many residents have suggested the "housing crisis" in North Andover is we have built too much, too fast. Traffic throughout North Andover is terrible. In certain parts of town, during commuting hours cars line up in an unhealthy idling jam. It’s bad for our quality of life; it's bad for the environment. North Andover has permitted the construction over 700 new units in large-scale complexes e.g. Berry Pond on Route 114 (196 units), Avalon Bay (170), Knights of Columbus (136), East Mill (51 additional) and Princeton Properties (192) and now there is a proposal for Royal Crest for (1,641) units to replace the existing 588 units.
What’s at Stake? One of the things that contribute to our quality of life in North Andover is our historic rural character. We still have unprotected working farms, open meadows, and woodlands. Many are at risk. Do we want to see a mega complex at Barker Farm?
Other towns have done this… In 2019, Saugus voted for a two year building moratorium. The reason? The Town was experiencing an unanticipated increase in the construction of multi-family dwellings and wanted to conduct an analysis and/or comprehensive study to determine the impact of that construction on police, fire, and emergency public safety, the school district, the water, sewer, and roadway infrastructures and the safety of the general public.
In 2017, Marlborough approved a moratorium in order to allow city officials to catalog the existing stock, gauge demand, and determine how more housing will effect city services, such as public safety, education and the water and sewer departments.
In 2020 Framingham, the City Council voted 10-1 Tuesday to enact a nine-month moratorium on the construction of new apartment buildings, with the option to extend the ban for three additional months.
This from an August 2, 2019 Boston Globe headlined “Too Much, Too Fast? Towns hit ‘pause’ on big projects”: “Like many cities and towns, there is a concern about growth and the ability to absorb that growth, whether it’s traffic, schools, or the infrastructure,’’ said Dedham Town Planner Jeremy Rosenberger.
Why we need to act at Town Meeting. Town Meeting is a forum where townspeople can help direct, or redirect, the priorities of the Town. Our priorities may not include mega apartment complexes and the associated pressures on our schools, Town services, and traffic. Our priorities may include preserving why so many chose to live in North Andover.
Not long ago, the Town was considering, and may still be considering, a by-law to encourage more construction. The preamble to the by-law included the following goal: “…to encourage utilization [development] of the Town’s developable land”
Perhaps pausing to assess what all this construction means is a worthy pursuit.