On January 6, 2022 the Andover Zoning Board of Appeals met to continue the public hearing about an unpermitted contractor yard at 1323 South St., a parcel in Andover that is accessible only through Tewksbury. Following a site walk on December 11, 2021, board members were set to make a decision about granting or denying an application for a special permit.
Tewksbury residents abutting the property, as well as those on South St. near the property, raised concerns about the lot to Tewksbury and Andover officials in the fall. Resident Bob Lambert’s online documentation of increased traffic, the storage of construction materials, landscaping equipment and junk cars, along with the clear cutting of a substantial number of large trees seemingly overnight, got the attention of Tewksbury planning board member Eric Ryder. Ryder brought in Tewksbury’s building commissioner, Mark Bertonassi, who contacted Andover. Andover building commissioner Christopher Clemente found that the property was being used as a contractor’s yard without having the required approvals. Based on that finding, Clemente issued a cease and desist letter and ordered the owner, Matthew Strong of Forever Endeavor, an LLC registered at 4 Rennie Dr., Andover, to remove all equipment, vehicles, construction and earth materials forthwith.
At issue was Strong’s failure to appear before the town with a plan for establishing his contractor yard on the property; Strong did not apply for or receive any permits, claiming that he already owned a contractor lot in Andover and thought this property could be used in the same manner.
Andover’s zoning bylaw designates the lot as Industrial A (IA) rather than General Industrial (IG); members pointed out that IA districts in Andover are bordered by residential properties, as is this lot.
The board stated that too much was done on the lot without permission; had the rules been followed, the board would have considered allowing Strong to move ahead with a different plan. Members cited the removal of “ acres of trees” and a lack of buffer as significant concerns. “This [tree removal] is a 50 year problem,” said member Ellen Keller. Members also cited stormwater runoff and other issues.
The board voted unanimously to deny Strong’s request for a special permit and uphold the cease and desist order issued by the Andover building commissioner. The board said that Strong has the option to submit a substantially different plan for consideration in the future, but the lot must be cleared of equipment.