Royal Crest project process many layered

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Genevieve DiNatale, Andover Townsman, Mass.
·2 min read
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Feb. 18—Boston-based developer Trinity Financial's plan to replace Royal Crest Estates on Route 114 in North Andover with a mixed-use retail, business and residential complex still has many hurdles to overcome before making its way to voters.

According to Planning Board Chair Eitan Goldberg, Trinity's proposal requires a zoning change, several public hearings about that change and full discussions about the nature of the proposal — such as its financial impact — before it can become a warrant article at Town Meeting.

"We are going to continue having discussions about the proposal," said Goldberg. "Once we have had full discussions about the proposal, and I don't know how long that's going to take, we would then get the sense from the Planning Board whether this would be a zoning change the Planning Board would want to sponsor."

In addition to zoning considerations, the Planning Board is still awaiting Trinity's financial and fiscal impact report to be analyzed by the town's peer review consultant, Judi Barrett. Barrett is a principal of Barrett Planning Group LLC, a consulting company that works with municipalities on community planning, zoning and economic development.

"Trinity will come up with their own fiscal impact analysis given what they believe is the right data ... and what the conclusions are from that data," Goldberg explained. "Ms. Barrett will review that and see if they are using the correct criteria, correct data and also review their conclusions and give her opinion and then we (the Planning Board) will have the chance to ask them questions."

Once the fiscal impact analysis and zoning changes are approved by the Planning Board, the board would then craft a proposed zoning warrant article.

The Planning Board would then present the warrant article to the Select Board for its recommendation. If sponsored by the Select Board, the article would make its way to Town Meeting. At Town Meeting, residents would then vote on the article.

According to Town Manager Melissa Murphy-Rodriguez, the town is considering having a special Town Meeting in the fall to vote on Trinity's proposal to vote on the zoning change.

"The Town is working with the proponent toward a special Town Meeting in the fall. This project would require a zoning change, which will require Town Meeting action," said Murphy-Rodriguez.

"The town's goal is to have a project that would be transformative for 114, further the goals of the master plan and be a benefit to the community," she said.