Council to Move Amended Harbor Place ‘Taking’ Tuesday

The Haverhill City Council is expected to take action Tuesday on postponed matters, including revisions to an order of taking for the Harbor Place development project on Merrimack Street.

On the agenda, councilors are being asked to amend an order of taking, by eminent domain, for temporary and permanent easements at the rear of 56-66 Merrrimack Street, including easements for piling, and access and utilities for the Harbor Place project. Construction would occur at the former Woolworth building, and extending to several other buildings along the southerly side of Merrimack Street.

In a letter to the council, City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. recommends an amended order be substituted for an order passed by the council on November 18, and that the council override the mayor’s veto of an award of $10,000 in damages to current property owner D. R. Locke, LLC. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini previously called his veto "friendly," citing advice from the city solicitor. The property taking order must be completed before exterior demolition begins, scheduled for Jan. 5.

An updated appraisal of loss in value to the 56-66 Merrimack Street property with the easements, if approved, affirms the $10,000 as compensation.

In another matter postponed at last week’s meeting, councilors are expected to hold a public hearing on revised plans to redevelop a vacant storefront-warehouse-apartment property submitted under a repetitive special permit application.

The application from Kerri Fronduto, trustee of 13 High Street Realty Trust, would modify earlier plans to convert the existing building into seven multi-family apartments, downward to six units and provide nine parking spaces in a lot across the street also owned by the trust. The Haverhill Planning Board previously approved the plans.

The council hearing for the revised special permit has been postponed twice since the original Nov. 18 hearing date, out of concern for time and agenda length for other matters before the council.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.