Affordable Housing on Lupine Road

South Church was approached by Habitat and Andover Community Trust  who offered to buy a parcel of land we owned in order to build permanently affordable housing units. On May 7th 2018, the congregation voted to move ahead with this project.

July 2020 Update on the Lupine Road Project

Volunteer: Join us for our first build day since February! Volunteers from South Church have been invited back on site on Saturday, August 1st, 8:30 am start time. We will limit our number to 6. Strict safety guidelines will be in place including masks, gloves, social distancing and tool cleaning. Volunteers 16 and older are welcome. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Contact: Click here to contact Ellen Arvidson with questions or if you would like to sign up to volunteer.

The Last Four Months: With the onset of Covid, all volunteer opportunities were shut down on the Lupine Road sites for several months. Work came quickly to a halt on both the Habitat duplexes and the Andover Community Trust (ACT) duplex. The use of volunteers for Habitat and the students from the Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS) for the ACT duplex were all put on hold. Since then, they were able to get some outside contractors in to get some work done, including the roofs, rough plumbing and electricity. They have started to allow some of their regular volunteers back on site.

Looking Forward: Other progress has occurred over the last several months. The 2 families for the ACT home have been chosen so now all 6 families for the complex are identified. The GLTS students are expected to back on site this fall. Completion of the projects is now targeted for the Dec 2020-June 2021 timeframe.

An Update from Denise Johnson, Executive Director of ACT: It’s been a while since we have updated the South Church community on the Lupine Road project. Let me refresh your memories or introduce you to the project if you are new to the congregation. The Lupine Road project is a collaborative project of Andover Community Trust and Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity. It is the first 100% permanently affordable homeownership project in Andover and will provide six permanently affordable homes for low and very low income families. The project was made possible because of the generosity of the South Church of Andover congregation who sold the land to Andover Community Trust at a below market rate price.

The project is supported by the Andover Affordable Housing Partnership Committee, the Select Board, and the Mass. Department of Housing and Community Development. It received a comprehensive permit from the Andover Zoning Board of Appeals.

Construction began in 2018 with the south duplex units, being built by Habitat volunteers. The center duplex is being built by the students from Greater Lawrence Technical School and was started during the 2018-19 school year. The north duplex is also being built by Habitat volunteers and its site work was started in June 2019.

Although the site has been relatively quiet since the mid-March shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, much progress has been made. If you take a drive by the project, you will see all three duplexes have concrete foundations, rough framing with floor, wall and roof systems complete. Rough plumbing, electrical and HVAC have been installed. On the south duplex you will notice that the insulation, windows and roof have been installed making the structure watertight and interior finish work is proceeding. The center duplex has been roofed and will soon be watertight as the windows are on hand and only a few adjustments to the window surrounds need to happen before installation and then interior work will proceed. The north duplex has also been roofed and will have window installation soon.

With the absence of construction labor we have temporarily turned our attention to other needs of the project. ACT proceeded with its owner selection process and in mid-June championed two single-parent low-income households as the new homebuyers of the center duplex homes. There will be a shared garage with one interior space for each resident and the site work and foundation were completed during the last few months by Habitat volunteers working outdoors and social distanced. Volunteers are able to also work outside on the retaining wall necessary for earth stabilization behind the center duplex.

Both ACT and Habitat continue to raise needed funds for the project both jointly and individually. Colin Smith Architecture of Lexington continues to donate architectural services to the project. Also John Pearson, architect and ACT director emeritus, continues to provide pro-bono professional services for the project. Some expenses have escalated due to the pandemic. ACT is supplementing the GLTS labor shortage by hiring paid labor during the summer months in order to get homebuyers into the homes as soon as possible.

Small groups of Habitat volunteers continue their work weekly. The GLTS students are expected back onsite when school resumes in September. Students in the carpentry, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and landscape courses will be involved with the next phase of the project. Completion of the homes is now scheduled for December 2020 to June 2021. We continue to look forward to welcoming the new homebuyers to the neighborhood.

Project History
ACT and Habitat are collaborating in the build of 4 units (2 duplexes) or 6 units (3 duplexes) on land they purchased from South Church. This land, a 1.06 acre lot roughly opposite Elm St. Automotive, was given to South Church in 1938 by Mary Byers Smith. In support of both South Church’s and Mary Byers Smith’s long standing commitment to outreach and caring for neighbors, a small team gathered information to help the Congregation consider this request. It seemed fitting to advance her legacy with best use for this piece of land.

Before the vote on May 7th, there were 8+ open meetings to help explain the proposal and answer questions. We discussed both the great potential this had for church outreach, as well as potential concerns. We shared the concerns to help all come to the vote with a balanced view.