ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — At long last, the hearing for a proposed auto storage facility on Stickles Pond Road appears set to take place next week.
The hearing for BHT Properties Group, representing online auto auction company Copart, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday during the Andover Township Land Use Board meeting at the Hillside Park barn. The public will be able to attend virtually.
To attend the meeting remotely, residents can go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/509964013. The public can also access the meeting by calling 1-571-317-3122. The access code is 509-964-013.
The hearing has been postponed six times due to COVID-19 concerns since it was originally scheduled to take place March 17. BHT representatives have stated the repeated extensions are due to the company’s desire to have a public meeting in person.
According to the public notice, BHT is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval for the property, which is the site of the former Newton Airport. The project includes demolishing existing structures on the property and installing loading and storage areas, pedestrian facilities and a commercial office building.
The prospect of turning the property into an auto storage yard has raised considerable concern from township residents about potential negative impacts on the environment and on the community in general.
Since the hearing’s initial postponement, residents have created a Facebook page and a petition opposing the project. Community members have also contributed to an online fundraiser for an attorney to represent the residents in the hearing.
In anticipation of the hearing, BHT has created a website detailing the proposal and what it said are potential benefits it could have on the community. Among the advantages listed are a significant increase in the property’s tax base and the addition of new jobs from the local labor market.
“In Andover Township, our aim is to create a local business of which the community can be proud,” reads a statement on the website. “We believe it’s our responsibility to forge a partnership that improves this area for the long term.”
If the application is approved Tuesday, BHT expects construction to begin in 2021.
For more information on the proposed project, visit www.sticklespondroaddevelopment.com.