Haverhill city councilors are looking forward to about 55 new jobs coming to the city, including some moving from New Hampshire, as a result of expansion plans approved for a local auto dealership.
The council voted 8 to 0 Tuesday night to approve, with conditions from city departments, a special permit allowing AutoFair Ford of Haverhill, formerly Regan Ford, 501-503 Broadway to, among other things, add a Subaru dealership. Plans will convert and expand the existing “collision center” building, where the Subaru dealership will move from a route 125, Plaistow, N.H. location. The project will also expand the older Ford dealership building, move its collision center “offsite” and add so-called green areas, including landscape curbing, as part of improvements to its paved lot. Attorney Robert D. Harb, representing owner Haverhill Realty LLC, Manchester, N.H., said the expansion will comply with all city requirements.
“This will impair the integrity or dignity of the character of that district. It’s going to be convenient for safety, it’s going to actually make it more safe. We’re still exiting on Computer Drive but the flow of traffic within the facility is going to make this a safer place for people to visit and do their business,” Harb said. “We do have adequate sewerage, refuse waste. We do have adequate parking in off-street parking and loading. We reviewed all the parking with the building inspector.”
Councilors, including Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, welcomed the Subaru franchise moving across the border from New Hampshire.
“This is usually not the way things go. Things go to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, so I’m very, very happy. I love what you’re doing to the property. I love the fact you’re putting in the green space. That is a part of the city that lends itself to that and I think it’s actually going to look better than it is now,” Daly O’Brien said. “And I hope you hire people from Haverhill.”
Council President John A. Michitson called the plan “a win-win all the way in bringing 55 jobs to the city.” No one spoke in opposition during the council’s public hearing for the special permit.