City Council Addresses Hunting Concerns Near Atlanta Street

Residents on Atlanta Street have been plagued by shotgun bullets hitting their homes due to nearby hunters. (File Photograph.)

A Haverhill resident went before the City Council on Tuesday to demand a solution to ongoing issues with hunting near her neighborhood.

Maria Zangari, who lives on 108 Atlanta Street, said that shotgun pellets fired by nearby hunters have been hitting her home and her neighbor’s homes since Oct. 9. She said that the incidents go back for her as far as September 2017, extending into November or December of that year, and continuing last October. Upon discovering the hunters, Zangari warned them they were not outside of a 500-foot buffer to prevent hunting near her neighborhood, but was ignored. She also alerted Haverhill Police several times about the incidents, but said that officers told her there is nothing they can do and it has been this way for the last 30 years.

Zangari contacted the Environmental Protection Agency, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro and the City Council prior to the meeting. She also said the land behind her property is owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and hunting is forbidden on that land as a result. She hopes to have the group post no hunting signs around the property. Zangari also would like to see hunting laws updated to accommodate for the increased residential development in the area.

“So, what I’m asking of the City Council tonight is to show us and prove to us that you believe the most important issue here is the safety of the residents you represent,” Zangari said.

Captain Robert Pistone from the Haverhill Police Department also spoke at the meeting. He agreed with Zangari, saying that a 1,000-foot buffer may be necessary and going before the council was the best way to assure a solution.

Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien said the matter should also be discussed with the Public Safety Department, as she also feels that hunting laws must change in the face of a larger Haverhill. Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan also agreed with Zangari, saying he believes and sympathizes with her and her neighbors.

“But I do hope that we take a serious look at providing permeant relief for these neighbors. I have no reason to doubt their sincerity and I would not want to be in that neighborhood either if I knew that I was going to be woken up at 5 in the morning to the sound of gunshots,” Sullivan said.

The council created a motion to ask the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to post no hunting signs in the area. The motion would also refer the situation to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Public Safety Department. The motion was approved eight votes to zero, with Councilor William J. Macek absent.