Council to Consider Land Gift, Demolition of Buildings

Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers. (File photograph.)

Haverhill city councilors are to decide Tuesday on a accepting the donation of watershed land acquisition and approving demolition orders sought on two fire-damaged properties in the city.

On the council meeting agenda, Mayor James J. Fiorentini seeks approval of a city plan to accept, for $1, about 36 acres of land near Crystal Lake, at Liberty and Crystal Streets. The land would be used for “watershed protection to preserve the water quality of Crystal Lake.” The proposed land transfer comes as part of a special permit application from Joseph Franciosa, manager, 190 Realty LLC, West Newbury.  Fiorentini also asks councilors place conditions, as recommended by the city’s Water Division, to have the property “remain in its current condition.” Any proposed change in use or alteration of the property “shall be approved by the mayor and city council.”

“The majority of this 36-acre parcel is within the watershed of Crystal Lake, which is one of Haverhill’s public drinking water supplies, Fiorentini wrote in a letter. “Crystal Lake provides up to 15 percent of the city’s water supply in any given year. A large part of the parcel is also wetland area, which includes a tributary stream which flows across Crystal Street to Crystal Lake. The wetland area is approximately 900 feet from Crystal Lake. Taking ownership of this property and maintaining it in its current state would provide a high level of watershed protection to preserve the water quality of Crystal Lake.”

Also before the council, public hearings are scheduled on petitions from Building Inspector Richard Osborne to issue demolition orders for fire-damaged properties at 9 South Lincoln Ave. and 251 South Main St. “in the interest of public safety.”

“We are currently working with the owner of 251 South Main St. Having issues, 9 South Lincoln no response.” Osborne wrote to City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr.

The property on South Lincoln, a 2.5 story wood-frame structure, abandoned since a November, 2009, foreclosure and damaged by a fire Jan. 17, 2010, “has been open to the weather” and has been “deteriorating,” according to documents. The last registered owners, according to city records, are Michael and Rachel A. McKeon. A vacant building registration was most recently filed with the city in November, 2015, on behalf of mortgage holder Ditech Financial LLC, Tempe, Ariz.

The 251 South Main St. property was, as WHAV reported last September, gutted by a fire on Saturday, Sept. 26 and was determined by investigators to have been caused by “careless disposal of smoking materials.” The 2.5 story, 1850-era home is owned by Nora Lee Murphy, according to city records.

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

2 thoughts on “Council to Consider Land Gift, Demolition of Buildings

  1. Are liens going to be placed on both of the properties after the demolitions are complete?
    Title will eventually be passed at some point in the future with the land being sold. It may not be much, but a lien covers the taxpayer’s ability to recoup some of the demolition costs.