Council to Burger King: You May Not Have It Your Way

Plans to locate a proposed fast-food restaurant on an outer row of the River’s Edge Plaza have Haverhill city councilors calling for traffic and other impact studies in the plaza as well as the Riverside neighborhood between Lincoln Avenue and Groveland Street.

The council unanimously passed a motion by Councilor William J. Macek to refer petitions from residents to bring one-way traffic to Burnham Street, in order to reduce “cut through” traffic to and from the plaza, to both Public Safety and Traffic and Safety subcommittees for studies. Also, Macek requested a letter to Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. asking for a “full impact traffic study with peer review,” to be paid for by the developer of a proposed Burger King. It would be built at the former Pentucket Bank branch between Dunkin Donuts and a new CVS Pharmacy currently under construction along the Lincoln Avenue parking lot frontage. Additionally, Macek suggested creating a city ordinance to require special permits for “spot development within a parking lot.”

“This isn’t in the plaza that was originally permitted. Now they’re creating a new front row and that’s what bothers me. The front row is going to almost be blocking the back row before they’re done. And they’re doing it as a matter of right. I really think that type of development needs an extra layer of review,” Macek said.

Council President John A. Michitson noted a new Burger King restaurant would be allowed under the “Commercial Highway” zoning along the Lincoln Avenue plaza, which he described, in its current condition, as “terrible.”

“I had a discussion earlier (Tuesday) with the mayor, for example. And we’re going to try to get some of the restaurants that are coming in, or whatever’s coming in, to start paying to make that a better area down there. It was just about a year ago when it looked like there were craters. You were trying to get over towards the stadium and it was actually dangerous and the city did a very nice job of, at least, filling those in and putting hot top over it but that’s just a very temporary solution,” Michitson said.

Several Burnham Street residents are asking for a one-way traffic pattern on the side street from Groveland Street to Lincoln Avenue to reduce “cut through” traffic and litter from plaza patrons. Potential impacts to other neighborhood streets are expected to be part of the requested studies.

City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien.

City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien.

Among comments, councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien added potential redevelopment of the former bank and Building 19 sites would pose a “greater threat” for street openings, as she said it “took two years to get Lincoln Avenue repaved, only to be opened again” for the CVS construction project.

In other actions, councilors, without discussion, unanimously approved spending $37,500

from the city’s “free cash” account toward funding a partial window replacement project, due to water damage, at the Haverhill police station on Bailey Boulevard. The funds will be used for “design and engineering services” by contractor Gale Associates, Inc., Weymouth.

10 thoughts on “Council to Burger King: You May Not Have It Your Way

  1. They should change riversedge plaza to the new zoning where they can rip it down and a outside developer can put up section 8 housing. It is along the river and will help the mayor turn Haverhill into New Lawrence.

  2. You clowns keep voting this mayor into office .. Im so glad I moved out of that dump… Funny How is it the mayor has time to go to Choice Fitness every day during work hours?????

  3. So it is ok for CVS to build there but not for Burger King ? Talk about lunacy. How come nobody is talking about the jobs this business will create and the tax revenue it will bring ? Maybe O’Brien owns stock in McDonalds and doesn’t want any competition ????

    • Everything the city council and mayor Taxman does relating to businesses in Haverhill is ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ policy making.

      Mayor Taxman gives multi-million dollar tax breaks Southwick Corporation with absolutely no quantitative research done or proof that there is a benefit to the city.

      Daily O’Brien proposes restricting Anna Jacques Hospital from moving into the city because nurses she knows whisper in her ear that they might lose their jobs.

      Joe Bevilacqua as CEO of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce of all places, does absolutely nothing to help the businesses and restaurants downtown as mayor Taxman targeted them for generating revenues by incorporating a meals and parking tax.

      ACORN Andy is now proposing the insane idea of helping city businesses do business in a communist country because he wrote a paper about it in a college course. It might help to know what it’s like to be in business Andy if you ever had a job in one, instead of all the government community organizing positions you’ve had.

      Let’s not forget the entire city council voting unanimously to take a downtown building by eminent domain for the sole purpose of selling it to a developer for a profit.

      It’s insanity……

    • Hey Hey Jack – don’t be bringing up jobs and more tax revenue for the city ok? That’s NOT important here. We want more spotted owls and section 8 housing so the residents can get there free drugs at CVS that others have paid for through Obama care.

      Why do you hate America Jack? 🙂

  4. This is not a good location for any fast food restaurant. What you’ll get is trash that will pollute our river and these neighborhoods. Plus the smell eww! You’ll also see an increase in car traffic which will cause them to add another set of lights to slow everything down when you simply need to get to work. Once the lights are added more people will travel Groveland St. and then Riverside changes for the worse forever. Property values plummet. Think about it. Is that what the city wants? I see nothing beneficial for the city residents only negatives… Just say NO BK!

  5. It works in Newburyport? The council should review the many building designs Burger King offers and decide on the one that looks right for the neighborhood. Also signage and lighting should be minimal.
    This is a great example of the city reacting to a development instead of being proactive and having zoning regulations already in place. Look at the “squares” like Lafayette, Monument and Bradford to see what results no planning have resulted in.