Robertson, Wellman spoke on behalf of residents; keeping trucks out of residential areas is ‘precedent set by the town of Andover’
Last night, Fieldstone Circle residents, Rep. David Robertson and Tewksbury Select Board member Jayne Wellman attended the Andover Zoning Board of Appeals meeting to again ask that board to deny a special permit for a contractor yard currently operating at 1325 South St. despite a longstanding cease-and-desist order.
Attorney Peter Caruso of Andover appeared on behalf of the property owner, Matthew Strong of Forever Endeavor, an LLC registered at 4 Rennie Dr., Andover. Caruso presented a traffic study that showed approximately 26 additional daily vehicle trips, with six additional in the morning and eight in the evening at peak hours.
A sound engineer paid by Strong testified that the contractor yard is currently operating at approximately 70% capacity, with the proposed intent to add 30% more capacity. The report noted that: “the contractor yard, operating at 70 percent capacity, generates an hourly equivalent sound level of 54 dBA at the western property line. This level is below the Mass DEP limit. “
The engineer stated that increasing yard activities by 30% would result in a predicted future sound level of 56 dBA at the western property line, which is close to the Mass DEP limit of 57 dBA.
MassDEP regulates noise as an air pollutant and states that a new noise source will be required to mitigate its sound emissions if they are projected to increase the broadband sound level at a residence or building by more than 10 dB(A).
The engineer noted that there is noise from Rt. 93. That sound is now more noticeable because Strong felled four acres of trees, say residents.
“Are there sound studies from before the trees were taken out?” asked Fieldstone Circle resident Dina Castiglia.
Board members noted that the readings were largely taken over the weekend and missed 6 – 7 a.m., when many contractors pick up their equipment. The study was done Aug. 23 through Aug. 27, Wednesday through Sunday.
Castiglia provided the ZBA with satellite images of the area from 1995 to 2023 to rebut Caruso’s claim that residents had removed trees. She also shared photos showing large amounts of standing water, said asbestos is still stored on the lot and asserted that none of the orders of conditions agreed to have been met.
“I don’t know how to prove to you the amount of collateral damage that has occurred,” she said. “I’m just begging that you don’t give them the permit. He has been flying in your face for years and no one’s been able to stop them. When does it end? When do we get relief?”
Robertson, who represents the affected area of Tewksbury, asked for details on the traffic study.
“Do we have a rough breakdown of how many of those are heavyweight vehicles versus passenger vehicles versus commercial vehicles?” he asked, citing the noise difference of an 18-wheeler or dump truck versus a typical passenger car or truck. “Just 26 trips a day and, being liberal with the amount of hours we can open and operate, comes to a truck going by about every half hour.”
Robertson also reminded the ZBA of an instance when Tewksbury asked Andover to help offset the problem of 18-wheelers traversing Main St. from I-495 to the Market Basket warehouse on East St.
“Tewksbury had an issue with some trucks coming off 495 down Main St.” said Robertson, so Tewksbury asked Andover to allow trucks for 1,000 feet to enable them to exit at Rt. 93. “That was past zero houses. You know what the town of Andover said? ‘The noise and traffic is too much for our residents between 93 and the Market Basket warehouse.’ This is a precedent set by the town of Andover.”
A board member asked whether Robertson has had any discussions with Tewksbury about providing water and sewer services to this site so it could be developed for a use that would be more appropriate for the neighborhood than the contractor yard.
Robertson deferred to Wellman, who stated that while the towns could at some point get together to have a conversation about rezoning the site with services provided by Tewksbury, that isn’t the issue on the table.
“The current zoning of this of this parcel prohibits this use without a special permit,” said Wellman. “And as you know, your applicant did not do that.”
The ZBA continued the hearing to Oct. 5.