Water Street Housing Plan Before City Council for Vote Tonight

The Haverhill City Council is expected to postpone at least one of two public hearings scheduled Tuesday night, delaying a proposed 13-unit condominium development on Cross Road, off route 125 near the Ward Hill Connector.

The other hearing, covering a proposed 59-unit multifamily project at the former Friend’s Landing, 85 Water St., is expected to move forward with revised site and architectural plans. Continuing a trend of issuing statements before key city council votes, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini touted project benefits today.

“This project will provide the citizens of Haverhill with a new waterfront park, docks and access to the waterfront. It means that a major gateway to the city will have waterfront access and a place where all of our citizens, not just those who live next to it, can enjoy the waterfront. The waterfront rezoning which we passed will reap dividends all up and down the waterfront. This is the first, but it will not be the last, proposed project that will allow for the public to forever be able to view and enjoy the river which is our most precious asset. The rezoning is beginning to pay the kind of dividend we expected when we put it forward,” Fiorentini said.

The mayor’s statement was emailed to all city councilors and the press.

The revised plans to redevelop the site, in the Waterfront Zoning District, “resulted from review and comment from city officials and representatives,” according to Attorney Joseph P. Sullivan, Newburyport, on behalf of petitioner Frank Franzone and Water Street Waterfront LLC. The hearing was postponed by the council May 19.

“We understand that the planning board will review and approve final definitive plans agreed to between the applicant and the city following the special permit process with the city council,” Sullivan said in a letter. “We look forward to presenting the application Tuesday evening and continuing to work collaboratively with the city’s representatives to provide an outstanding development with significant public benefit to the people of Haverhill.”

The plan has a conditional favorable recommendation from Planning and Economic Development Director William Pillsbury Jr. for the filing of a full definitive plan with the planning board. “As planning director, I believe this project is in the best interest of the city of Haverhill in that it provides a quality gateway development along the Merrimack River waterfront area without the requirement to add additional utilities to service the project,” Pillsbury said. “The project provides for substantial public access to the river and provides a public park, open space and the reestablishment of river dock space.”

“In the 12 years since the project was first proposed, the owner/developer made a number of proposals to restart the development, each of which was opposed by the Fiorentini administration. The city is currently defending a lawsuit brought by the developer against the board of appeals for denying a variance for two six-story towers,” Fiorentini said in his statement.

Council Expects to Postpone Cross Road Condominiums

Regarding the Cross Road project, Attorney Michael Migliori, representing petitioner Robert Ahern for developer RKACO, LLC, submitted a written request Monday to postpone the public hearing before the council to Tuesday, July 14, according to Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas.

“Also, the owner owes taxes, which was brought to my attention today, so it would not have been able to come before you until arrangement or payment had been made to the collector.  I have informed Mike of this to inform his client,” Koutoulas said in an e-mail to councilors.

In a request for a special permit, the developer would construct three buildings at 2 Cross Road, containing a total 13 housing units to be sold as condominiums. The site is currently used as a combined residential and commercial automotive repair and storage yard, according to council documents. It has received a favorable recommendation, with conditions and stipulations, from the Haverhill Planning Board and Pillsbury. The matter was previously postponed by the city council on June 16.

The Haverhill city council meets at 7 p.m., tonight, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

One thought on “Water Street Housing Plan Before City Council for Vote Tonight

  1. Are Haverhill taxpayers prepared to take on the tax liabilities to the school budget with 59 more units downtown? 300 new units near the Harbor Place project not to mention others in the downtown area. Will a new school be needed? Where will everyone park?