North Avenue Developer Reduces Housing by 30 Percent in New Plan

City Councilor William J. Macek.

A revised proposal to construct an assisted living complex off North Avenue downsizes the number of housing units by about 30 percent and doubles the amount of money for traffic improvements.

Prior to a scheduled Dec. 29 public hearing, the Haverhill City Council is expected to place on file a petition to hear a 64-unit proposal from Continental Wingate Development Company. According to the petition submitted by Attorney Mark B. Johnson of Johnson and Borenstein LLC, Andover, Continental Wingate would eliminate 20 independent living units, decrease assisted living units from 46 to 32 and increase, by eight, the number of memory care units to 32. The downsized project, first proposed on about eight acres of land off North Avenue owned by the McGirr Family Trust, would occupy about 55,000 gross square feet, down from 78,348 square feet. An associated 30 percent reduction in traffic to and from the development is anticipated. It would also provide an added $200,000 to be used “towards the City of Haverhill’s plans to improve traffic conditions on North Avenue, per the mayor’s request.”

“As this proposal reduces the number of units by almost 30 percent while increasing the mitigation by $200,000, Wingate cannot increase the mitigation and if any additional mitigation is required by the Planning Board the cost of such mitigation will have to reduce the amount of money available for the North Avenue improvements,” Johnson said in the petition. “The mitigation will be constructed as the project is constructed and the cash mitigation will be paid $100,000 upon the issuance of the building permit and the balance upon the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy.”

The petition, addressed to City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr., is Continental Wingate’s proposal to resolve litigation “pursuant to remand order of (Essex County) Land Court.”

Attorneys for Continental Wingate filed suit against the council last March, claiming it “exceeded its authority” by denying a special zoning permit in February for the original 90-unit proposal. Neighbors near the North Avenue and Concord Street intersection raised traffic and quality of life concerns. Among them, City Councilor William J. Macek said traffic improvement plans were insufficient and suggested another location for the proposed facility.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.