Defeated Lake Street Zoning Plan to Return to City Council

Rezoning plans near 95 Lake St. were defeated by the city council last year.

Haverhill city councilors expect to revisit this fall rezoning a Lake Street neighborhood after the plan was initially defeated a year ago.

The proposal involves nearly eight acres of land off Lake Street, near West Meadow Hill condominiums. At Tuesday’s meeting, City Councilor William J. Macek said a new request is expected to be filed with the council in the coming weeks after “excessive delays” were encountered over the summer.

“I heard (Tuesday) from our City Solicitor, Bill Cox. He was very upbeat about making sure that it gets done as soon as possible. And he assured me that within a week or two he would have the paperwork to the council that will definitely facilitate this to be moving forward. And that it should be, he feels without any problem, at the planning board hearing in October,” Macek said.

Macek, who placed the item on Tuesday’s agenda, also called upon area residents in attendance to participate in the hearing before the Haverhill Planning Board.

“And I would suggest if some of you, or all of you that are involved and want to see this go through, positively, go to the planning board in case there’s any questions and want to ask, ‘why this is being done.’ So hopefully within a couple of months we should be able to actually have put this to rest, hopefully in a positive way,” Macek added.

As WHAV reported last year, city councilors voted 8 to 1 Aug. 25, 2015 against a petition from property owner Eileen F. Petrocelli to rezone 7.8 acres at 95 Lake St., Haverhill, from rural residential (RR) to residential medium (RM). It would have also amended a zoning district boundary map, which placed a portion of the property under RM zoning. At that time, it received a favorable recommendation from the planning board. Former Councilor Robert H. Scatamacchia was the lone vote in favor. Abutters and others, including 312 owner-members of the West Meadow Hill Condominium Association, 800 Broadway, had petitioned the council against the rezoning request. The association argued properties westerly and southwesterly of the development’s property line “have historically been and should continue to be zoned RR.”

“The request to rezone 95 Lake St. was not in keeping with our most recent master plan changes and would create unnecessary negative impacts to the area. Therefore, I did not support the request,” Macek is quoted in the 2015 meeting minutes, included with Tuesday’s agenda materials.

At the 2015 council hearing, Petrocelli said plans for a potential 10 lots on the property was “a concept design” that would maintain the existing density of housing in the neighborhood. She said only 26 percent of the neighborhood conforms to the required zoning while 63 percent of the house lots fit the RM zoning. But Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien said she believed a case for zoning change was not made. She called it “very difficult” when a vision does not meet the vision of neighbors.

“These neighborhoods in Haverhill are so unique and they are what makes Haverhill special. It’s the diversity of Haverhill, the many different kinds of neighborhoods that make us so rich. So whether you’re talking about Rocks Village, Riverside, the upper Main Street area, the Acre – there’s so many names for these sections of Haverhill – and they all mean something very special to the people who are there,” Daly O’Brien said at that time.

Council Approves Four Apartments Above Chit Chat Lounge

In other business Tuesday, councilors voted 8 to 0 to grant an amended special permit to create four market-rate apartments above the second floor of the building housing Chit Chat Lounge, 101-103 Washington St.

Concerns cited were noise suppression and maintaining regular trash and recycling pickup. Architect Angelo Petrozzelli of Design Partnership Architects, Haverhill, said a concrete slab will be added between the nightclub and apartments to reduce noise.

Councilors added conditions to assure petitioner and building owner Joseph DiFraia and any successive owner maintain plans to lease five parking spaces at the MVRTA parking garage for the units. Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua abstained.

One thought on “Defeated Lake Street Zoning Plan to Return to City Council

  1. Leave Lake Street alone! We have a nice house on that street, and our property line was soon destroyed after they deforested the hill and built all those units! (Shame on west meadow)