Plans for Upper Main Street Dairy Queen, Rezoning Appear Dead

Part of the affected block between Rosemont and Rosedale Streets. (WHAV News photograph.)

A petition before Haverhill city councilors tonight, seeking to re-zone a portion of upper Main Street “to connect existing commercial uses” and, potentially, bring a Dairy Queen franchise back to Haverhill may be dead after a recent “unfavorable recommendation” from the Haverhill Planning Board.

Property owners 2 Pillsbury St. Realty Trust, 1112 and 1124 Main St., and Haverhill Bank, 1096 Main St., say they will now withdraw a petition to rezone the parcels, between Jaffarian Road and Rosedale Avenue, from residential medium commercial highway, according to Attorney Michael J. Migliori. The petition, referred by the council July 12 for review by the planning board, received an unfavorable recommendation at that panel’s Aug. 10 meeting, according to Planning Director William H. Pillsbury.

“In light of the unfavorable recommendation from the planning board… my client has decided to withdraw the petition for a zoning change,” Migliori wrote to councilors Aug. 16. The request is also supported by Pillsbury.

“The applicant has filed a request to withdraw the petition and I recommend that the request to withdraw be granted,” Pillsbury said in an Aug. 19 memo.

The proposal, according to planning board meeting minutes, would have also extended the commercial zone boundaries, “with the potential for further development,” along Main Street to the intersection of Woodrow Avenue. It was submitted for their review with Pillsbury’s recommendation “to forward an unfavorable recommendation.”

“There are three properties involved in the re-zoning, the Haverhill Bank, Starbucks and a dilapidated residential structure. This area is a residential zone. The Haverhill Bank and Starbucks is considered to be non-conforming structures,” an Aug. 10 statement by Migliori to the board reads. “For Haverhill Bank or Starbucks to do anything with their properties now would require a trip to the Board of Appeals.  We think it makes perfect sense to merge this zone. We have received favorable comments from city departments, in that they have reviewed it. This zoning change will allow the northerly parcel to be zoned for a commercial use. This will bring in 30 to 40 jobs to the city and significant taxes. We think it will be better than what is there now.”

Abutters, at the planning board meeting, argued they want the neighborhood, with the bank and Starbucks operating no later than 8 p.m., to remain residential.

“The guy who bought this property spent way too much money for it. He’s trying to make it commercial so he can make his money back,” said Terry Brody, 12 Rosedale Ave. “Starbucks has done well up there. The bank is great. The bank and Starbucks both shut down at 8. We have no crime in our neighborhood. We don’t need a Dairy Queen. We don’t need the rats and mice.  We don’t need a parking lot at 12 a.m. with lights on. Our neighborhood feels the same way.”

Larry Lewis, 359 Broadway and who grew up on Rosedale Avenue, spoke on behalf of his mother, who has lived in the neighborhood over 60 years. “Certainly putting a business at the corner of Rosedale Avenue would change the entire character of Rosedale Avenue. It is a very quiet area. You are directly abutting four properties. If the petitioner wants to put a Dairy Queen there they should look at other commercial areas in the city.”

“We received assurances that there was correspondence with the neighbors. I relied on that to see this go forward and it’s very troubling to understand that this did not occur at all,” Pillsbury added in suggesting an unfavorable recommendation to the city council.

In other council business, union representatives for 145 registered nurses at Holy Family Hospital’s Haverhill campus are scheduled to address councilors on the status of contract talks scheduled today with hospital parent Steward Health Care. Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien placed the discussion item on tonight’s agenda “requesting to allow Merrimack Valley Nurses Association and Massachusetts Nurses Aossciation to give an update on their concerns regarding quality care” at the local hospital. Last Thursday, as WHAV reported, members of a community delegation met with Holy Family President Joseph Roach at the hospital and delivered a letter to appeal for a “good faith effort” toward a new labor contract. Nurses continue to work under the previous contract since its extended May 31 expiration, according to Massachusetts Nurses Association Associate Public Communications Director Joseph Markman.

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

3 thoughts on “Plans for Upper Main Street Dairy Queen, Rezoning Appear Dead

  1. Wonder if municipal employees get the backing from the city council.
    This is a private hospital and the city council
    Has no business getting involved in a labor dispute on the side of the nurses.

  2. Who is in charge of approving issues submitted to the city council for discussion during public meetings?
    This is twice now that Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien has put a private business matter relating to “nurses” on the city council agenda for discussion. Allowing nurses as a special interest group the opportunity to use a public forum to pander and lobby their interests during contract negotiations is highly inappropriate, and whoever approves agenda issues should know this. If there are, in fact, quality care issues they should be addressed through procedural channels that all healthcare organizations have…not at a city council meeting where nothing will be accomplished anyway.
    Ms Daly O’Brien…this tactic of yours in using your access to a public forum is highly unprofessional !!