Land swap makes sense for Andover -, North Andover, MA
Fri, Jan 16 2009

Published: January 12, 2009 01:31 am    PrintThis  

Land swap makes sense for Andover

There are 10 acres of prime conservation land in Andover along the Merrimack River. But the public has no access to that land as it is surrounded by parcels owned by Phillips Academy and Greater Lawrence Technical School.

Voters at Town Meeting this spring can fix that by approving a land swap and access agreement.

It's a sensible, fair deal that voters should approve.

Access to the land is blocked by parcels owned by Phillips Academy and Greater Lawrence Technical School on Heffron Way off River Road.

In exchange for the public access, Phillips Academy hopes to extend underground utilities down Heffron to make improvements to a nearby boathouse. Greater Lawrence Technical School would be granted access to the street as a cross-country path.

Phillips Academy will pay for the estimated $2 million in road and utility work to bring electricity and water to its boathouse along the Merrimack River.

A similar deal was approved in 1998 but needs this new vote to clarify language in the exchange. The agreement on who gets what land or access hasn't changed, according to Town Planner Jacki Byerly.

It's a reasonable deal that will allow Andover residents access to the land, which conservation officials describe as excellent for picnicking, kayaking and bird-watching.

Andover residents should approve the deal.

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