Andover is Talking Again about The Dascomb Road Project!
Special Town Meeting Set to Vote Monday
UPDATE - The warrants related to the Dascomb Road Project were voted down at Special Town Meeting.
The Dascomb Road Project goes before voters for a second time at Andover's January 29th Special Town Meeting. Pizza-and-real-estate entrepreneur Sal Lupoli, CEO and founder of The Lupoli Companies, will again ask Andover residents to rezone his 15-acre industrial property at 146 Dascomb Road to include residential.
A previous version was withdrawn at last May's Annual Town Meeting. Voters had too many questions about how both the rezoning and proposed mixed-use development would impact Andover long-term. Below is a 3-minute clip from that meeting.
Subsequently, Mr. Lupoli met with the community, made changes, and is now seeking approval for 2 privately sponsored articles so that the revised project can go forward. However, questions remain and another lively debate is expected at the Special Town Meeting.
The Revised Dascomb Road Project in Andover
The Lupoli Companies has a Facebook page (The Dascomb Road Project) and website (DascombRdProject.com) describing the revised Dascomb Road Project. Visit the sites to see what's changed in the project since last Town Meeting, the proposed benefits to the town, videos of community forums and the developer's consultant answering common questions. Below are some promotional images from the developer for the project.
Basically, Mr. Lupoli is proposing a Commercial/Retail/Residential mixed-used development with "office space for cutting-edge industries, sophisticated 55+ residential living, the most coveted names in retail and restaurants with plenty of space that promotes and celebrates the history and community of Andover."
NOTE: The town's website also has a Dascomb Road Project page.
What Andover Voters Are Being Asked to Approve
The Lupoli Companies submitted two privately sponsored articles (Articles 11 and 12) that propose zoning changes in Andover's Industrial Development 2 district (ID2).
The town created ID2 in 2013 to bring amenities (such as a grocery store, dry-cleaner, fast-casual restaurant, retail — excluding big-box stores) to the commerical areas of River Road and Dascomb Road to make those areas more attractive to businesses and their employees.
Basically, Article 11 seeks to amend ID2 to incude Planned Development projects with 55-plus residential housing as part of a mixed-used development, and defines the process for doing so. Article 12 seeks town approval for Lupoli Companies to incorporate such residential housing for seniors into the Dascomb Road development.
Questions Remain Before Special Town Meeting
Andover's historic downtown is the envy of surrounding communities with its storybook New England charm, and unique independent businesses like La Mia Moda Boutique, LaRosa's Cafe & Bar, Les Fleurs, Savoir Faire Home, Andover Massage Therapy, Izzy's Emporium, and more. Additionally, Andover has big in-town plans for the emerging Historic Mill District and the former sight of the Old Town Yard.
Will a boutique hotel, high-end retail and restaurants on the periphery of town, right off Interstate '93, suck the life out of Andover's downtown?
Another question is will high-end retailers even be attracted to a development right off '93 when tax-free New Hampshire is just 10 minutes away? Will shoppers flock to this project to buy big-ticket items? If not, what kind of retail options and restaurants is Andover guaranteed to see at the site? I was looking forward to a restaurant like The Capital Grille right in town; however, the developer appears to have great flexibility on what is actually built and questions remain on whether the warrant articles allow the developer to bypass the zoning board.
Will injecting residential into an industrial-zoned district make the area less attractive to businesses and negatively impact Andover's commercial tax base? At least one long-term business opposes the rezoning.
What expenses will Andover incur by adding residential to ID2 sites? Will taxpayers be required to fund additional fire and safety resources? What is the impact on the public school system if the age-restriction on the apartments is not enforced?
How much of the $6 Million Mass Grant to improve the safety of Exit 42 is dependent on the residential zoning?
Will the town experience more traffic with the residential and why was the traffic study done on a holiday weekend?
Is it best for Andover to let a private developer drive this type of zoning change or should it start and be evaluated through a coordinated town planning process?
How can Andover residents cast an informed vote without hearing from the Dascomb Road Zoning Task force?
What Mr. Lupoli Says about The Dascomb Road Project
Mr. Lupoli says he is only seeking the residential component to make the development more attractive to high-end retailers and restaurants, and that he will go forward with a by-right development (all commercial development that he says is allowed by the current ID2 zoning) if his privately sponsored articles fail at Special Town Meeting.
As of the December 4, 2017 Board of Selectmen's Meeting, Mr. Lupoli had not submitted plans to the town for either the by-right or residential project (requiring approval of Articles 11 and 12). Watch the 20-minute video below.
What Andover Town Leaders Say about The Dascomb Road Project
Finance Committe Took No Position on Articles 11 and 12
The Finance Committee took no position on Articles 11 and 12, stating there is "insufficient financial data to support or oppose these articles based on
the potential future financial impact on the Town."
Planning Board Recommends Disapproval of Article 11
Although, the Finance Committee report states that the Planning Board is waiting until Special Town Meeting to present its recommendations on Article 11 (the rezoning); the Planning Board recently met and recommended disapproval of Article 11.
Board of Selectmen, in Split Decisions, Approved Both Articles 11 and 12
The Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 in favor or Article 11:
YES — Selectmen Salafia, Kowalski & Gregory
NO — Selectmen Landry & Vispoli
The Board of Selectmen voted 3-1-1 in favor of Article 12:
YES — Selectmen Salafia, Kowalski & Gregory
NO — Selectman Landry
ABSTAINED — Selectman Vispoli (because the board had not heard the findings of The Dascomb Road Zoning Task Force, see below)
What The Dascomb Road Zoning Task Force Says
The Dascomb Road Zoning Task Forced was created by the Board of Selectmen to evaluate the long-term impact to the town of both the by-right and residential Dascomb Road Projects.
On January 25th, the Dascomb Road Zoning Task Force voted to advise the Special Town Meeting that they have no findings to share with the Board of Selectmen or the Town, as their work is in complete. Watch the 5 minute discussion below.
What The Andover Townsman Says
The Andover Townsman voiced support for the Dascomb Road Project in its editorial "Lupoli must be prepared for skeptics at Special Town Meeting."
The last paragraph states...There are many more questions that keep cropping up about Lupoli and his project. He would be wise to consider all the of those questions, and more, before he goes to Special Town Meeting in less than two weeks to make his case to the voters.
What Mr. Landry Says on His Personal Website, TownOfAndover.com
Mr. Landry is an Andover Selectman, who is ending his first term and announced he will not run again.
DISCLOSURE: I worked for Mr. Landry's campaign 3 years ago.
Mr. Landry runs a personal website TownofAndover.com and YouTube channel, to promote transparency and fiscal responsiblity in Andover. He also provides opt-in email updates. Below are some of his emails related to the Dascomb Road Project.
• DASCOMB ROAD PROJECT: Why you need to Vote No on Articles 11 & 12 More...
• Lupoli's "All Commercial" project may not comply with current zoning More...
• California Paint "strongly opposes" Lupoli rezoning as "threat" to their operations More..
• DASCOMB ROAD PROJECT: Financial Impact Peer Review and "Informal" business survey don't paint the full picture More..
• NEW AUDIO: Are Lupoli supporters using unethical "push polling" to influence Town Meeting? More..
• NEW WEBSITE: "25 Reasons to Oppose Dascomb Road Project" More..
• Traffic study peer review questions Lupoli's methodologies and assumptions More..
• MASSWORKS GRANT: 10 things you need to know More..
• DASCOMB ROAD PROJECT: 3 Andover Selectmen put Lupoli's demands ahead of residents' concerns More..
• DASCOMB ROAD PROJECT: Selectmen and residents express serious concerns More..
• "Irrelevant" question for Sal Lupoli? More...
• DASCOMB ROAD PROJECT: "Too big, too small, too short" More..
• Sal Lupoli transfers ownership of Andover Medical Center for $49 Million More..
• Insufficient time to vet proposed zoning change prior to January's town meeting More..
What The Andover Community Says
There's been lots of talk about The Dascomb Road Project on social media. I've learned a lot from listening to discussions in the Facebook Group, Andover Cares about Our Schools and Towns. Additionally, members of the community have writtent Letters to the Editor of the Andover Townsman supporting and opposing the project (below are links to some).
Some Letters Supporting The Dascomb Road Project
• Andover needs 55-plus housing More...
• Dascomb Road residences will create less traffic More..
• Dascomb Road project good for the whole town More...
• Questions raised over page 1 political ad More..
• Dascomb Road project will help alleviate housing crisis More..
• Dascomb Road project adds tax revenue for schools More..
• Resident supports Dascomb Road project More..
• Housing at Dascomb Road project will reduce impact of traffic More..
Some Letters Opposing The Dascomb Road Project
• Voters should be careful about Dascomb Road re-zoning More..
• Lupoli's Dascomb Road project has too many unanswered questions More..
• Dascomb Road project will be costly to residents More..
• Note to three members of the Board of Selectmen: Who do you really represent? More..
• Eight reasons to vote against Dascomb Road project More..
• Vote 'no' on Dascomb Road project More..
• Town doesn't need Lupoli Companies project More..
• Not enough information to vote on Dascomb Road project More..
• Andover doesn't need 'frantic, over-the-top' development More..
• Osgood Street neighborhood will be affected by Dascomb Road project More..
Andover Special Town Meeting Details
Attend Special Town Meeting to get answers to your questions on The Dascomb Road Project and cast your vote. I hope to see you there!
Special Town Meeting
Monday, January 29, 2018 | 7pm
Andover High School Collins Center Auditorium
Watch on your computer
(Click Government LiveStream here)
Watch on Your TV
Verizon | Channel 45
Comcast | Channel 22
Visit the town website for complete information
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