Planning Group Seeks Public Feedback on Land Use

A public review and comment period is open for a draft, updated 2014 Merrimack Valley Priority Growth Strategy, a “regional land use plan” for economic development, by the Haverhill-based Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.

The draft plan will update a 2009 document created by the commission to address changing land use patterns created by a decades-long economic shift, from the decline of local industrial centers to the rise of commuting to jobs along the route 128 corridor and in Greater Boston.

Among other topics, the plan identifies local, regional and state-designated Priority Development Areas (PDA), “areas of concentrated development, including a city or town center, consisting of existing and appropriately zoned commercial, industrial and mixed-use areas suitable for high-density development.”

In Haverhill, such areas include the downtown area, Ward Hill and upper Hilldale Avenue industrial parks, as well as a so-called “Lifestyle Center” in the industrial-commercial area at route 97 and interstate 495

The plan also addresses protected lands and land suitable for protection, regional roads, transit and bike/pedestrial connections that support the promotion of PDAs and protected lands, transportation access, “smart growth” principles/strategies, and how member communities, the region, and state and federal governments may benefit by an identified regional priority growth management.

The public comment period ends Jan. 11, 2015.

Copies of the document are available for review at the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, 160 Main Street in Haverhill. An downloadable version may be found here.

Public comments should be addressed to:

Comprehensive Planning Manager Mike Parquette, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, 160 Main Street, Haverhill, MA 01830.

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