Stevens Street Fire Spurs City Council Rezoning Talks

Dark black smoke billowing from the Stevens Street building was visible from nearly all areas of the city.

Last week’s Stevens Street mill building fire may have prompted Haverhill city leaders to seek additional state help under a city ordinance governing future allowed uses in the Stevens Street Overlay District.

On Tuesday’s city council agenda, a request from Economic Development and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. for “additional minor changes” to add “residential, residential/mixed use commercial and performing arts-related uses” to permitted uses only on the western, or Little River, side of Stevens Street. Other uses would remain subject to a special permit approval process by the council.

“As evidenced by recent events Stevens Street is an area of significant transition and as such the attached zoning amendment further changes uses on the western side of Stevens Street only,” Pillsbury said in Sept. 21 memo to the council. “Additionally, the city seeks to further amend the zoning ordinance to facilitate the submission of a minor extension of the current boundaries of the city’s 40R Downtown Smart Growth overlay district to include the westerly side of Stevens Street. This change will position the city for additional resources to (be) made available to the city from the state to redevelop the area.”

The matter is expected to be referred by the city council to an Oct. 14 Planning Board meeting before a public hearing by the council Oct. 20. An eight-alarm blaze Sept. 20 destroyed the former site of Hudson Machinery Company, 14-30 Stevens St., on the side of Little River behind Lafayette Square.

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

2 thoughts on “Stevens Street Fire Spurs City Council Rezoning Talks

  1. Residential use?
    Is there even one elected official who understands the economics of building residential housing in this city?
    The cost to educate ONE child within the Haverhill Public Schools right now is $16,000.00 per year. It goes without saying that cost is only going to increase in the future. The average property tax bill is less than $4,000.00 per year. At the very least, for households that have children it is costing taxpayers $12,000.00 to educate one child for one year. Over 12 years it cost the city $192,000.00 to educate one child, with only $48,000.00 in received from property tax payments. So it costs Haverhill taxpayers approximately $144,000.00 to educate just one child from grades 1~12. One child!!! And yet, the Taxman mayor sees the city’s way out of the fiscal crises it is in by adding more housing and more children to system!!!

    Mayor, it is very well known that you read the comments here.
    Why don’t you enlighten us all on how the economics of this is a positive thing for the citizens of Haverhill?????

    • The economics is very simple Jack.

      If you are Massachusetts LEADING developer, and specialize in Section 8, through crony capitalism you create an indefinite revenue stream thanks to taxpayers. Not only does your family contribute a truckload of money to Beacon Hill, especially Rep Brian Dempsey, but you also have enough clout to win no-bid contracts, or, even if you are a high bidder, you still win the contract anyways! You already own, or are in the process of developing a lot of properties in the city, so you know you are first in line at the trough.

      They don’t care about the burden of schools, or whether the people they are housing are productive or not, it’s about money and political favor, end of story. The People, and taxpayers at large, simply do not matter anymore because the government no longer fear its People. Why should they? With a ridiculous indifference in voter turnout, or People standing outside their homes with pitchforks, they have every right to believe the status quo reminas at your (our) expense.