City Councilors Defeat Lake Street Zoning Change

A proposed zoning change to a Lake Street property is defeated by the Haverhill city council

After a public hearing, councilors voted 8 to 1 against a petition from property owner Eileen F. Petrocelli to rezone 7.8 acres at 95 Lake St., Haverhill, from rural residential (RR) to residential medium (RM). Councilor Robert H. Scatamacchia was the lone vote in favor. The action means there will be no zoning changes in the area, where a portion is zoned RM. Attorney Robert D. Harb represented Petrocelli on the proposal which earlier received a favorable recommendation from the planning board. During the hearing, Petrocelli said plans for a potential 10 lots on the property was “a concept design” that would maintain the existing density of housing in the neighborhood. She said only 26 percent of the neighborhood conforms to the required zoning while 63 percent of the house lots fit the RM zoning.

“What this concept design does not account for is wetlands. Wetlands will not add lots, they will only subtract lots. So, as Attorney Harb said, in a perfect world we might be able to get 10 lots. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, we could potentially get less,” Petrocelli said.

Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who motioned for the vote, said she believed a case for zoning change was not made. She called it “very difficult” when a vision does not meet the vision of neighbors and was also concerned it could lead to “a precedent that we don’t want.”

“These neighborhoods in Haverhill are so unique and they are what makes Haverhill special. It’s the diversity of Haverhill, the many different kinds of neighborhoods that make us so rich. So whether you’re talking about Rocks Village, Riverside, the upper Main Street area, the Acre – there’s so many names for these sections of Haverhill – and they all mean something very special to the people who are there,” Daly O’Brien said.

An request by Harb to withdraw the petition without prejudice was defeated by one vote.

2 thoughts on “City Councilors Defeat Lake Street Zoning Change

  1. Raising water rates, sewer rates, parking fees, and property taxes doesn’t meet the “visions” of the neighbors either – but somehow, this blowhard O’Brien – along with the rest of the cowards on the city council lost their voices of opposition on those matters.

    Gutless – just gutless.