From TEC Engineering
Q. You are not a local Andover company - your company is restoring loft buildings in Gateway Cities for housing. And is it affordable housing?
A. Lupoli Companies is based in Lawrence, but the company also owns buildings in downtown Andover, and built the Andover Medical Center. We only build market-rate leasable housing, which is exactly what we intend to build here in Andover, however, we will comply with whatever the town needs in terms of affordable housing for seniors.
Q. Why do you want 55+ residential housing at Dascomb Road?
A. A 55+ community will reduce the size of the project and therefore reduce traffic. It will bring in additional revenues and spur on economic development in Andover. We also believe 55+ housing will fulfill a need in Andover by creating a safe, healthy, sustainable and vibrant community for empty-nesters and long-time Andover residents who want to remain in the community but reduce the size and cost of their larger residences.
Q. Traffic/Infrastructure: – The MASSWorks grant for $6M for infrastructure changes to handle the extra traffic for this project. That’s not enough to widen the highway and fix the neighborhood streets.
A. If it’s not, Lupoli Companies will pay the additional costs. We will not receive a permit to build unless all infrastructure changes have been mitigated and approved by MassDOT, Federal Highway and the Town of Andover.
Q. Traffic congestion: What are you doing about it?
A. There will be sections along the roadway that will be widened to accommodate existing and proposed traffic and improve safety. Automated signalization will minimize wait time and move traffic faster and more efficiently.
Q. Neighborhood roadway safety: What are you doing to minimize the impact on the neighbors who are in close proximity to the project?
A. We are proposing “traffic calming” methods to be implemented along I-93 NB Off-Ramp to Lovejoy Road that will limit the weight of trucks and slow traffic. The inclusion of bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks and the addition of speed bumps will assist in reducing the current speed limits. We also intend to plant flower beds and trees in the middle divider that will provide a neighborhood feel rather than a freeway. We hope to continue to receive feedback from the neighbors so we can include them into the plans.
Our Current Proposal
Q. Why are you proposing housing for millennials and young professionals? We do not want additional housing that will pressure on our schools.
A. We have listened to the concerns of the community and have eliminated that type of housing from our proposal. We are only proposing the addition of 55+ housing to respond to your concerns.
Q. But the zoning doesn’t support your proposal?
A. Our current proposal, which is our preference, would lower the density to 600,000 square feet and pursue the addition of 55+ housing, which would require a vote at a Special Town Meeting on January 29, 2018.
Under the existing commercial zoning, we can propose 800,000 SF of commercial/retail uses.
If we are not successful at Town Meeting, we will proceed with the commercial-only project, as-of-right.
Q. But you would need a PUD? And that would create a precedent for other developments like this?
A. No, it would not create a precedent. Each project requires its own specific zoning approach and a special Town Meeting vote.
Q. Is this just another mall?
A. A good example for this project is the Derby Street Shops in Hingham. That lifestyle project includes high-end lifestyle retail that would fit within the context of Andover, and is the local favorite for the South Shore. It is a place to go for coffee and meet a friend outdoors - it’s a place to have lunch or dinner. It’s local retailers alongside national brands and a collection of small businesses run by local owners.
Q. You’re just taking business away from the small businesses downtown.
A. We care about the success of the downtown too! Lupoli Companies owns Salvatore's Restaurant in downtown Andover, and the building it is located in. Our plan is to own and operate a trolley system that will continually make the loop between our Dascomb Road project and downtown Andover, which will help to expand the retail options for the Town and benefit all businesses. The addition of new residents in Andover with a 55+ residential community will also help to increase activity downtown, as these residents look to expand their shopping and dining options.