Planning & Zoning
The Planning and Zoning Department is committed to providing the community with high-quality, proactive services and programs to enhance the quality of life of the City of Andover residents, businesses and visitors, and to promote a well-designed, physically integrated, livable and prosperous community. The Planning and Zoning Department provides technical support to the Governing Body, Planning Commission & Board of Zoning Appeals, Site Plan Review Committee, Park Planning Committee, City Administrator, all City departments, residents, the business community and the general public on current land use and development issues.
Utilize the tabs below for more information regarding Zoning Regulations, Subdivision Regulations, Site Plan Review Standards and their relationship with the City's long-range planning efforts.
Long-range planning typically entails the development of Comprehensive Plans that aim to envision the future. The City of Andover generally uses a 10-year planning horizon. The Comprehensive Plan is intended to shape development over time. The City also develops additional plans/studies to complement the adopted Comprehensive Plan – usually content and/or location specific. For example, corridor studies are plans that define relationships between a roadway and its adjacent land. Corridors identified through the Comprehensive Plan may be selected for further and more detailed analysis through a corridor study. Review of applications to subdivide and development land, change a property’s zoning district classification, authorize a special use and/or approve a commercial site plan, among other development activities, are steered by the goals, policies and action strategies in the Comprehensive Plan. Over the long run, site-specific decisions guided by the Zoning Regulations, Subdivision Regulations and Site Plan Review Standards transform the City, moving it towards the vision in the plan. Conditions regularly change, and thus the plans used by the City are guidance documents only.
The Official Zoning Map of the City defines a property’s zoning district classification, which determines the type and density of development. Zoning Regulations include requirements regarding what type of uses are permitted and bulk regulations such as allowable building height, maximum lot coverage, building setbacks, minimum/maximum lot sizes, etc. Other regulations dealing with signs, accessory uses/structures and parking requirements are also included in the City’s Zoning Regulations. Zoning Regulations are mandatory unless specifically waived through various participatory processes. The application and enforcement of the Zoning Regulations to site-specific development is one tool that the City uses to move towards the vision created by the City's long-range planning efforts.
Like Zoning Regulations, Subdivision Regulations are mandatory unless specifically waived though various participatory processes. While Zoning Regulations address the type and density of development allowed within the City, Subdivision Regulations control the pattern of development – the way that land is divided up to accommodate land uses and supporting infrastructure such as roads and utilities. In other words, Subdivision Regulations are meant to ensure that the division of land into smaller units results in lots or parcels that are usable, safe and reflect the physical characteristics of sites. Land development proposals are reviewed for conformance to the Subdivision Regulations which are guided by the City's long-range planning efforts. The application and enforcement of the Subdivision Regulations to site-specific developments is another tool that the City uses to move towards the vision created by the its long-range planning efforts.
Site Plan Review Standards are used to evaluate proposed developments which are considered likely to significantly impact the City. Within Andover, all commercial projects and certain types of multi-family projects are reviewed for compliance with these standards. The inclusion of these standards into the design of a proposed development or building ensures that a proposed project takes into consideration its surroundings, positively enhances the adjacent public realm and encourages architectural expressions to improve the built environment. The application and enforcement of these standards to site-specific development is yet another tool that the City uses to move towards the vision created by the Comprehensive Plan.