Assisted living project moves forward

96-unit complex planned for Elm Street

Eagle Tribune | By Bill Kirk
October 31, 2016

ANDOVER — An agreement has been reached between neighbors and the developers of an Elm Street assisted living complex and it appears the 96-unit project will go ahead as planned.

Joseph McElwee, a development principal with Capitol Seniors Housing of Washington, D.C., confirmed recently that the project was going forward.

However, he would not disclose details of the agreement between neighbors and Capitol, saying it was “confidential. We can’t release it.”

The apparent deal comes in the wake of another deal between developers and neighbors regarding the Strawberry Hill Farm senior housing project.

In that case, neighbors were paid $40,000 while also agreeing not to fight the project any more in court. Further, the project was scaled back to just one building instead of two.

In the case of the Elm Street project, however, the size and scope of the project has not changed. It is not known if any money was paid to neighbors.

However, the appeal by the neighbors was simply dismissed, according to documents.

According to an Oct. 17 Land Court ruling signed by lawyers for the town, the neighbors and the developer, “the matter is dismissed, with prejudice, without costs, and with waiver of all rights of appeal.”

In a letter to the Planning Board, Town Counsel Tom Urbelis said, “It is my understanding that the Plaintiffs (neighbors) and the developer CSH Andover LLC have entered into a settlement agreement, the terms of which have not been provided to us. However, your decision approving the project (by a vote of 4-0) with conditions has not changed. and the plaintiffs’ challenge to your decision has been dismissed.”

Only one of the neighbors involved in the lawsuit could be reached for comment last week by the Townsman.

Bernice Downs of 147 Elm St. said she had heard the case was settled, adding, “I’m not happy about it. It will depreciate my property. (Husband) Bill and I were brought up in Andover and have been in this house on Elm Street for 61 years. This is all residential, obviously we’re not happy about it.”

She said she hadn’t heard anything about the confidential agreement or whether any money had changed hands.

“The thing we are really concerned about is that traffic backs up almost to Washington” Avenue, she said. “With an assisted living project up there with 96 units you are going to have police, fire and ambulances up there, not to mention delivery trucks for linens and food and all.”

The 96-unit assisted living community is planned for nine acres at 139-43 Elm St.

The CHS Andover, LLC, project is owned by Robert and Lisa Maye.

The Elm Street appeal was filed in Land Court Aug. 11 by Mark Bernardin, Nanette Conte, Isabell Boulain and Bernice Downs.

The plaintiffs wanted Land Court to annul the Planning Board’s decision on July 23 that granted the owners a special permit for senior housing, a special permit for earth removal and a subdivision approval.

The appeal states the Planning Board approvals didn’t follow local by-laws.

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