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Zoning, Bylaw Articles To Be Voted On Tonight, At Day 2 Of Annual Town Meeting

May 04, 2016 03:36AM ● By Bill Gilman
If there is any subject the residents of Tewksbury are more passionate about than the name of their athletic teams and their water/sewer rates, it's issues pertaining to land development.
Tonight, voters gathered at Tewksbury High School for Day 2 of the Annual Town Meeting (8 p.m.) will have the chance to decide on 10 zoning articles, some of which will have a major impact on development in the community.
One article that has garnered a great deal of attention among residents in North Tewksbury is Article 30, which requests that land surrounding Ames Pond and abutting the Andover Town Line, be rezoned from Office/Research to Multi-Family.
The article has been put forth by local developers Marc Ginsburg and Arnie Martel and is needed in order to follow through on plans for a 220-unit residential development on the land. Some residents have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the project, citing concerns about the impact on the Ames Pond neighborhood and the impact on schools and community resources.
The Planning Board has voted to recommend passage of Article 30. Both the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee voted to defer to the Planning Board.
Also garnering a great deal of attention has been Article 31, put forth by developer James Andella. The article asks for the property at 155 East St. to be re-zoned from single-family residential to inclusion in the Village Mixed-Use Overlay District, which would allow for construction of multi-family residential buildings. Specifically, Andella is proposing building 15 townhouses on a three-acre parcel.
If the article is approved, Andella will pay for the relocation of the historic Hardy-Pike House from its present location at 464 Main St. to the front portion of the "pork chop lot) at 155 East St. However, neighbors of the East Street property have opposed any development on that property other than single-family homes.
Another article that has caused residents concern is Article 34, which requests that a parcel of land, just under three acres, located at 1057 South St., be transferred to the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of selling it for an affordable housing project. According to Bruce Panilaitis, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, such a project would be single-family homes. However, abutters have expressed concern that an "affordable housing project" could mean an apartment complex or condo development.
The property, which also includes a building, was last owned by Alexander Stotik before being seized by the town in 2013 for unpaid property taxes. The property is currently assessed at $369,700.
Article 33 is one that would have been appreciated by many voters on Day 1 of the Annual Town Meeting. The article asks voters to eliminate the need for "secret balloting" on articles involving personnel bylaws at future town meetings. Two time-consuming secret ballots were required Monday.
Voters will also be deciding on 18 articles on the Special Town Meeting warrant, starting at 7 p.m.
Included is an article requesting that the town use $975,000 from the Stabilization Fund to purchase a new ladder truck for for the Fire Department.

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