A group of Mary Lou Lane residents were claiming victory Thursday after the Andover Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously blocked a controversial proposal to build a house on their street.

Andover Community Trust, a nonprofit that aims to create affordable housing in Andover, had proposed building the house on a non-conforming lot at 15 Mary Lou Lane. The project was first proposed in 2010 after Cleary Associates subdivided the lot into a 15,000-square-foot lot where an existing house is located and a 7,500-square-foot lot designated as unbuildable under local regulations. 

The couple who lives at 9 Mary Lou Lane sued Cleary Associates and Andover Community Trust to block the project.

Under Andover zoning laws, the lot is labeled unbuildable if it’s under 15,000 square feet. “The restriction protects the Plaintiffs’ right to privacy and right to enjoyment of their property,” the complaint said.

But state and local laws, including rules prohibiting construction of market rate houses on lots smaller than 15,000 square feet, can be waived for affordable housing. If the state approves the project, it would come back to Andover for a planning department project review and a special permit application to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Andover Community Trust’s proposal had been endorsed 4-1 by the select board last summer, with Alex Vispoli casting the lone vote in opposition when the board approved sending the proposal to the state for review.

“You are all on the board to listen to residents and be responsive to residents — that’s why we’re elected,” Vispoli said at the time. “We can’t say, ‘We know better, and it’s going in your neighborhood regardless of what you say’.”

Share Your Thoughts!

Discover more from Andover News

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading