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Mixed Zoning Plan a Win for North Andover
published 12/06/05

Mixed Zoning Plan a Win for N. Andover Paula Porten   Orit Goldstein, President of Ozzy Properties, has big plans and big ideas for the property she purchased at Lucent Technologies. 

Two years ago, Goldstein purhased the Lucent Plant and has been working with state and  local officials and the community to develop the property at 1600 Osgood Steet by building an all inclusive community. The “Smart Growth” community, which Goldstein is promoting includes residential, retail and industrial, all in one. 

When The Valley Patriot sat down with Goldstein, she was very excited and enthusiastic about the project.  She is looking to receive millions of dollars from the state by creating a new zone, 40R.

Under the Town Charter, she will have to get approval at Town Meeting for the zoning change. The zoning change article was originally on the Warrant at the December 5th Special Town meeting, but because of delays in obtaining traffic studies, the warrant article was removed by  the Selectmen, with the approval of Goldstein.

Goldstein is hopeful and optimistic that there will be another Special Town Meeting in January or February for her warrant article. 

Right now, she is just trying to speak to as many people and provide information about her plans for the site.  Selectmen are also scheduled to hold several public meetings, giving Goldstein further opportunities to explain her project and the need of the zoning change to 40R.  

The purpose of the Chapter 40R legislation is to “encourage smart growth and increased housing production In Massachusetts. Smart Growth is a principle of land development that emphasizes mixing land uses; increases the availability of affordable housing by creating a range of housing opportunities in neighborhoods; takes advantage of compact design; fosters distinctive and attractive communities; preserves open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas; strengthen existing communities; provides a variety of transportation choices; makes development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective; and encourages community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.”   

She has handouts, which further explains about 40R and the benefits to North Andover, including much needed tax revenue.

At the ‘05 Annual Town Meeting, North Andover voters approved a TIF(tax increment financing plan) for the property to help promote and generate business. “The TIF only applies to the manufacturing portion of the site.” Says Goldstein, in reference to some confusion that it may apply to the residential part of the project.  The 40R portion of the property is the area on the right, which is to be both residential and retail. 

The property includes a 300 seat auditorium, which is a free benefit to business at the property.    Right now, the plant is operating at 30% occupancy, 25% to Lucent and 5% to other tenants, including NECCO’s corporate training.   North Andover’s Community Development is also scheduled to move in.

“North Andover has been very good in providing extra support when showing potential tenants” says Goldstein. 

Goldstein is a big supporter of “Smart Growth”, which is her plan for the site. She says her plan will generate much needed tax revenue for the Town.

A fiscal impact study was done and is being peer-reviewed by North Andover.  She believes that the study shows a net positive fiscal impact  of $300,000 after factoring in all services, including schools, DPW, police, etc.  The study also shows about 84 new students from the plans of 3 and 4 bedroom condos.

Under the 40R proposal, North Andover reaches the 10% affordable housing requirement under Chapter 40B.  Without the 40R plan, 307 units of affordable housing would be required for North Andover to achieve the 10%. 

Under Goldstein’s plan, there will be 225 rentals and 425 condos, with 25%, or about 85 units, being affordable housing. The 40R plan allows for all of the 225 rentals to count toward the 40B. Added to the 85 affordable housing units and the total is 310, over the 307 to achieve the 10%.

Some benefits to 40R include residential units being taxed and assessed at 100% valuation and economic development along Route 125. The biggest incentive though, is the 2.55 million from the State as an incentive for creating 40R zoning and housing.  $1000 per unit or $600,000 upon approval of the Overlay zone and then $3000 per unit upon issuance of building permit.

North Andover is presently first in line for funding.  However, the project first needs the approval at Town Meeting.  Goldstein hopes that she will not have to wait until May’s regularly scheduled Town Meeting to obtain approval.      

Basically, if the zoning is not approved, then North Andover remains approximately at 5.9% of affordable housing  and subject to the 40B regulations where developers can usurp local zoning regulations for low income and affordable housing.          

Goldstein was also optimistic about having a train station at the site as well, but that has been temporarily put on hold.  A study being done by the State has recently halted  because the study was to include  North Andover as a idling stop. North Andover and Goldstein does not want an idling stop in town.

Goldstein is anticipating such retail stores as a supermarket, like Wild Oats.
For more information or to contact Orit Goldstein, please call 978 475-4569 or look for the public meeting notices in the January Valley Patriot.

 

 

 

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