Behind-the-Scenes Talk Postpones Downtown Parking Plan

An existing downtown parking meter. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A parking meter near Essex Street.

Further changes may be made to a recent compromise plan to raise downtown parking fees and add Saturday hours.

The Haverhill City Council is being asked Tuesday to postpone, for another two weeks, action on the proposal to add a city councilor to the Central Business District Parking Commission and set limits on the actions the commission may take. The full council placed the compromise measure from the council’s Administration and Finance subcommittee on file two weeks ago.

“Several councilors have requested changes to the proposed ordinance,” Fiorentini said in a letter dated Friday to President John A. Michitson and other city council members. If approved, the meeting will be re scheduled for Oct. 6. Details were not disclosed in council agenda documents.

In its present form, the ordinance would increase the parking commission panel, with an added councilor, from six to seven members. The Administration and Finance Committee agreed Aug. 26 to recommend delegating the council’s authority to the city’s parking commission. While councilors would have option of striking down any increases, any such action would be inhibited by the inability of three councilors to cast votes. Councilors Melinda E. Barrett, Thomas J. Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle hold parking permits and are prohibiting from voting.

“Any initial rate change by the commission shall be limited no(t) to exceed $1 per hour for any parking fee and $20 per month for any parking permit,” the draft ordinance reads. Sources said, however, commissioners may raise rates from the current 50 cents per hour to 75 cents per hour. Further, commissioners are directed not to raise rates until meters are adjusted to allow lower 15-minute increments and pay-by-phone and merchant validation payment methods. The plan would set uniform hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for both street parking and parking lots and add Saturday parking fees for the first time. No additional rate increases would be allowed for at least two years.

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

3 thoughts on “Behind-the-Scenes Talk Postpones Downtown Parking Plan

  1. It’s insane that the people who run Haverhill thing it is a gem in the rough. Haverhill has gone downhill fast. Out of towners would rather not come to Haverhill, since they will need a tire alignment after driving through. The good businesses are penalized for staying in town. The police do nothing about the drug addicts and pan handlers. If they are so understaffed to handle crime in this city, how could they afford to send 2 police officers out on weekends to check if people have yard sale permits…I’m sure there are bigger fish to fry, but that’s Haverhill. I will never pay a dime to park in this town.

  2. Melinda Barrett…you really should think about stepping down from the council!!
    You’ve told me personally that the parking fees have been devastating to your business and most of the other businesses on Merrimack Street. Yet you say nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You weren’t elected to say nothing…you were elected to do the right thing. Just because you’re not able to vote doesn’t mean you can’t voice your opinion.

    While you’re at it why don’t you share with WHAV and the citizens of Haverhill about the mayor’s Nazi style tactics of sending inspectors into the businesses of those who speak out against him. And this goes for you too Mike McGonagle!! Do the right thing!! It is actually very easy. All you have to do is tell the truth about this tyrannical program.

  3. If you’re a taxpayer – here is the easier solution. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do in downtown Haverhill where you get robbed to park on streets and in garages you have ALREADY paid for – that you can’t do at the Loop in Methuen, or a simple drive up to Plaistow (hey – and you won’t pay taxes there as well).

    Parking fees in downtown Haverhill are for suckers only.