Council Unanimously Rejects North Avenue Housing

Wingate Healthcare location in Haverhill. (File photograph.)

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek.

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek.

Traffic and quality of life concerns from neighbors and others lead the Haverhill City Council to unanimously reject a proposed 90-unit congregate care complex off North Avenue.

A public hearing on the proposal from Continental Wingate Development Company concluded during last night’s council meeting.

Councilor William Macek, who is also a neighbor of the North Avenue and Concord Street intersection, believed the traffic mitigation plans were insufficient.

“I have a large concern as a resident on Concord Street. I use Concord Street and North Avenue multiple times a day usually. I know what the traffic impact is at various times of the day. I see it. And I don’t think that what’s being proposed is really a solution in any way to the problems that currently exist. And I also think that it wouldn’t be up to Wingate to be the ultimate solution, but I think that the mitigation is not sufficient to even address a small increase of traffic which would be brought by the facility,” Macek said.

Macek also suggested another location would be better suited for the proposed facility, which would create assisted living and memory care housing units, among others.

“We’re already doing our part in that neighborhood of the city. I would love to see Wingate find another piece of land in Haverhill. I’d welcome it if it were properly suited in coming to the city. I support the concept I just don’t support the location that they’ve chosen at this time,” Macek said.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas Sullivan.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas Sullivan.

Councilor Thomas Sullivan said the size and scope of the project was “just too big for the neighborhood.”

“I don’t think the traffic litigation measures are enough to justify that type of development in the area. However having said that, as this proposal may go down, it doesn’t mean we are off the hook to not make traffic litigation improvements to that area. If nothing else it becomes our burden, as a city to take some measures, to improve traffic in that area,” Sullivan said.

The special permit was sought by Continental Wingate Development Company of Needham  to build a two-story complex with a total 90 units for either assisted living, supported independent living or memory care units. The complex would be built on approximately eight acres of land owned by the McGirr Family Trust.

The company is affiliated with Wingate Health which locally owns skilled nursing homes Wingate at Haverhill, 190 North Ave., and Wingate at Andover, 80 Andover St., Andover. The company is operated by Scott and Gerald Schuster.