More feedback on Andover’s Winslow Woods sketch plan

Although the developer of the proposed Winslow Woods neighborhood has yet to apply for a preliminary permit, the Andover City Council has already informed him of its opinions concerning the development.

The Andover City Council April 1 for the second consecutive meeting addressed the sketch plan of this 102-lot, 52-acre housing development that would be bordered by the Sophies South neighborhood and Crosstown Boulevard to the north, the railroad tracks to the east and Winslow Hills to the west. The Holasek family is keeping other property to the south, according to Community Development Director David Carlberg.

The majority of the Andover City Council does not want Wintergreen Street extended from the Sophies South neighborhood to the proposed Winslow Woods development. The council also would like to expand a city park and create a nature trail through woods in another area of the new development. Photo by Eric Hagen

The majority of the Andover City Council does not want Wintergreen Street extended from the Sophies South neighborhood to the proposed Winslow Woods development. The council also would like to expand a city park and create a nature trail through woods in another area of the new development. Photo by Eric Hagen

One question the council did not answer March 18 that came to consensus on April 1 was whether the cul-de-sac on Wintergreen Street in Sophies South would be extended to Winslow Woods.

The council decided to keep this cul-de-sac because it felt the extension would have created three to four lots that would have been difficult to sell in Winslow Woods because they would be surrounded by city streets or Crosstown Boulevard on three sides and a natural gas line nearby.

“We generally find that corner lots are harder to sell because people lose privacy,” developer Larry Olson said, adding that not putting the street through gives him another lot and he feels a better neighborhood.

Councilmember Tony Howard and Mayor Mike Gamache said they would have preferred the street to go through to give public safety another access point and provide better neighborhood connectivity.

Carol Schmeichel said several people canvassed the Sophies South neighborhood and “about 90 percent of the people would prefer to have the cul-de-sac.”

The council also directed city staff to look at expanding the Sophies South Park and also look at having a natural trails through the woods from this park to Xeon Street. Next to this potential park expansion area is also a wetland that Councilmember Julie Trude could see becoming a good natural buffer between homes.

The development is being named after Winslow Holasek, who friends and family described as a nature conservationist. He passed away at the age of 78 in 2011. Holasek, a sod farmer by trade for most of his life, was elected to the first city council in 1974 after Grow Township became the city of Andover and he had previously served on the Grow Township Planning and Zoning Commissions and the Board of Supervisors.

Holasek was also one of the first people appointed to the Andover Open Space Advisory Commission after voters approved the $2 million referendum in 2006.

Trude, who had been a close friend of Holasek, said the development is called Winslow Woods and thus should not be stripped bare of trees by a housing development. Trude felt expanding this neighborhood park and creating the natural trail through preserved area of woods with all this close to a wetland would create a unique open space area in the middle of a neighborhood.

“My view is this is a tribute park,” Trude said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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