City Council Approves First Development Under New Waterfront Zoning Rules

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill City Hall

City councilors unanimously approved a 40-unit apartment project that will rehabilitate five commercial buildings on South Grove Street, making it the first project to be developed in the city’s new waterfront overlay district.

The project includes 26 two-bedroom and 14 one-bedroom apartments spread over the five buildings, which will be constructed and renovated over a two-year period, said owner and developer James Allen, trustee of J and J Realty Trust.

William Pillsbury, the city’s Economic Development and Planning director said waterfront development is the wave of the future for Haverhill. He said city officials are working on a “mini master plan” to address anticipated development along the river between the Crescent Yacht Club and the former Haverhill Paperboard property.

City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan praised plans for comprehensive planning for the waterfront.

“Eventually all those commercial buildings along the strip will go away and become residential. The future of housing in Haverhill appears to be taking place along the river,” Sullivan said.

According to the waterfront district zoning rules, developers must provide public access to the river. Allen granted a 12-foot easement through his property to 400 feet of land that will link to the city’s rail trail. In addition, Allen promised that once the 20th occupancy permit in his project is granted, he will donate $60,000 to the city to be used for the rail trail.

A total of 62 parking spaces will be provided for tenants, with the majority in a ground-level lot below a building housing 10 townhome-style units.

All 40 units will be rented at market rates.

Allen said he plans to live onsite and manage the property.