Andover Voters Consider Railroad Station Overlay District Tonight

“Andover MBTA Station, Andover MA,” by John Phelan. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

An overlay district near Andover’s railroad station, which could bring 100 acres of transit-oriented development, is before Andover’s town meeting tonight.

The third night of the 2015 annual town meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the J. Everett Collins Center Auditorium, Andover High School, Shawsheen Road. Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski discussed the proposed project Friday afternoon at Andover Country Club during the annual meeting of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council (MVEDC).

“I’d say three of the five selectmen have got the hint. They’ve run to the front of the parade and I would expect Monday night for the Andover residents here, you will see at least a majority of the selectmen grabbing the mic and supporting our, what we’re calling, our Historic Mills District Overlay Bylaw,” Stapczynski said.

Stapczynski said Andover took a page from the MVEDC and formed its own economic development council, which prepared the proposal for town meeting. Approval requires a two-thirds vote. If the vision is realized, he explained, the project would bring housing, back office businesses and other commercial development around the Andover train station. He said the project is benefitting from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s double tracking along the Haverhill line.

The town manager also used the occasion to discuss Andover’s success in creating, what he called “third spaces,” downtown.

“So, we’re doing what we can to create that third space because we know people enjoy Main streets. We know people enjoy coming together and having an ice cream or whatever it is, a cup of coffee, and creating a place to gather,” Stapczynski said. The other two spaces in people’s lives, he explained, are work and home.