Andover submitted its six-page form outlining “action plans” to the state Department of Housing and Community Development by the Jan. 31 deadline as the initial step in complying with regulations aimed at increasing affordable housing near MBTA stations.

Andover Director of Planning and Land Use Paul Materazzo gave the select board an update at its meeting Monday. Andover’s submission can be found beginning on page 18 of this document.

“We have to create a district to comply with the law that would create just over 2,000 units,” Materazzo said. “Those are new units that could be built but don’t necessarily have to be built.”

If built, the 2,301 units in Andover would have to be located within a half mile of the Ballardvale or Andover commuter rail stations and not have age restrictions.

More coverage of Monday’s select board meeting:

The plans were required of all 175 Massachusetts cities and towns with MBTA stations in an ambitious effort to meet former Gov. Charlie Baker’s goal of building 135,000 affordable housing units in Massachusetts by 2025 while increasing access to public transportation. DHCD will cut state funding for housing authorities in towns that fail to submit plans, which are the first step in the initiative.

Andover has received $6.3 million in state housing grants since Fiscal Year 2015. Only seven towns — Berkley, Carver, Holden, Marshfield, Middleborough, Raynham, and Seekonk — failed to submit the plans and are now considered noncompliant. Many towns have pushed back on the regulations.

“Communities can choose to comply with the law, or not,” Materazzo said. “One of the ways the state is encouraging communities to comply is the carrot.”

While the first step was relatively simple, subsequent steps required by the legislation could force towns to dramatically overhaul local zoning laws and “spark complex conversations that could ensnare towns and cities for years,” the Boston Globe reported. The Massachusetts Housing Partnership has been offering technical assistance to communities affected by the legislation.

Andover needs to submit a more thorough action plan to DCHD by July 31 and is currently aiming for the May 2024 Annual Town Meeting to seek approval for the new district. Districts could be divided between the two stations in Andover. Town Counsel Tom Urbelis stressed there was a short window to collect public input before the July 31 deadline.

Materazzo said the district could complement the existing Historic Mill District created in 2015 that allows for up to 40 units per acre by special permit.

“In Andover, I think we’re fortunate because some of the work has already been done with investment around the downtown station and Ballardvale,” Materazzo said. “We’re in the infant stages of choosing district if the town continues to move in this direction.”

Previously on Andover News: Deadline Looms For Andover To Submit Affordable Housing Plan To State

Select Board Begins Town Meeting Prep

The select board approved the warrant for Annual Town Meeting beginning May 1 and voted to recommend Town Meeting pass seven of the 47 articles that will appear on the warrant. The articles approved Monday:

  • Four articles (P 24, P25, P27 and P28 on warrant beginning on page 20 of the meeting packet) which would lead to installation of solar panels at Bancroft Elementary School and at the new West Elementary School / Shawsheen Preschool. Director of Sustainability Joyce Losick-Yang said the solar panels could save the town $1.2 million and reduce carbon pollution by 6,900 tons over 20 years.
  • An article that would remove the residency requirement for the Town Manager (P43 on page 60 of the meeting packet).
  • Articles that would allow electronic voting at Town Meeting and allot money to rent electronic voting equipment (P41 and P42 on page 60 of the meeting packet).

The select board also delayed taking action on Articles P26 and P29 , which would grant payments in lieu of taxes at Bancroft and West Elementary Schools.

The deadline to register to vote if you want to participate in Town Meeting is April 21.

In Other Business

The Andover Select Board opened Monday’s meeting with a moment of silence to honor the Robinson family, who were killed in a double-murder suicide Thursday, and the first responders who responded to the 3:21 a.m. 911 call from the Porter Road home.

Monday’s meeting was held at the Ballardvale Fire Station. In other business Monday, the select board:

Video Of Feb. 13 Select Board Meeting From Andover TV:

0:00:00 – Call to Order
0:01:45 – Town Manager’s report
0:02:50 – Other liaison reports and updates
0:05:00 – Updates from select board member
0:06:15 – Public Comment:

Regular Business
0:28:10 – Change to 99 Liquor License
0:31:40 – Shoyu Liquor License Extension
0:38:15 – AHS Building Committee
1:34:25 – MBTA Communities Zoning Update and Timeline
1:56:14 – 2023 Annual Town Election Warrant
2:01:00 – Annual Town Meeting Articles
2:22:45 – Consent Agenda & Approval of Minutes
2:23:58 – Adjourn

Meeting Packet for Feb. 13 Andover Select Board Meeting:

File photo.

One thought on “MBTA Rules Could Create 2,301 Affordable Units In Andover: Select Board Notebook”
  1. Glad to see the presentation about the Andover Pollinator Pathway;;;signs will start to be seen around town this spring.

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