Planning Board Continues Work on Conservation Subdivision Ordinance

Full wording will be available soon

By Ken Wells

The Andover Planning Board has continued its work on drafting a new Conservation Subdivision ordinance.  A Conservation Subdivision is an alternative form of residential development where, instead of subdividing a parent tract into lots of conventional size (i.e. two acres), a similar number of dwelling units are arranged on lots or homestead sites of reduced dimensions, with the remaining area of the parent tract permanently protected as designated open space.

Two public hearings were scheduled, on January 4 and January 18. Copies of the current draft ordinance were distributed to attendees. Public input and ideas were encouraged. 

The first meeting was especially well attended, with a variety of stakeholders and professionals present, as well as a nearby town’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission representative who wanted to learn more about Andover’s innovative approach to Conservation Subdivisions. 

Andover citizens shared their hopes and concerns with the Planning Board, asked questions, and got more information about how this proposed new option for subdivision might help shape Andover’s future in positive ways.

A lively discussion of the proposed pros and cons ensued, and some suggestions were made to further improve the details within the ordinance. By the end of the first meeting, all agreed that the concept of Conservation Subdivision is on target to help Andover achieve the vision of the 2011 Master Plan: to control the town’s infrastructure costs while protecting Andover’s natural beauty, charm, and character as a small New England town.

At the January 18 meeting the Planning Board collected even more valuable feedback from citizens, further sharpening the new ordinance’s details to better protect what we all cherish in Andover, yet allow for sensible development in the future. The new ordinance will not replace the current subdivision ordinance, but create an aesthetically and economically attractive alternative to the existing ordinance.

The proposed Conservation Subdivision ordinance will be available for inspection at Town Hall, on the Town of Andover website, and on The Andover Beacon website. Andover citizens will have an opportunity to vote on accepting the new ordinance at the polls on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 8.