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Andover Special Town meeting rejected zoning changes that would have prevented paving of the Haggetts Pond Trail while also putting new and widespread restrictions on conservation and wetland areas throughout town.

More than 735 people attended Monday’s gathering of Andover’s legislative body. Two of the three articles on the warrant were pulled after article one was rejected and an amendment to article three was not approved.

Town officials warned each of the three articles had implications beyond the months-long dispute over the popular hiking spot. The articles would have imposed new restrictions for paving near waterways and in protected areas throughout Town. While Haggetts Pond Trail is a Town-owned property, the new rules would have also impacted private property owners.

More coverage of the 2024 Special Town Meeting on Andover News.

What started as a seemingly-routine Town project to pave the trail to increase accessibility escalated into Monday’s meeting, which Town officials estimate cost $48,000. A grassroots effort to block the project was initially thwarted as the proposal went before various Town boards, eventually prompting opponents to petition for the special town meeting.

Opponents of the measures pointed to other zoning bylaw changes, which usually come after months or years of study that includes efforts to collect public input.

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