Haverhill City Councilors Nix Plan for Monument Square Used Car Lot

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Haverhill City Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan. (WHAV News photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

The Haverhill City Council Tuesday night killed plans for a used car lot in Monument Square, citing aesthetics and environmental concerns.

Members voted 5-3 to deny a special permit to city resident Edgar Arias to open a 16-vehicle lot on the site of the abandoned Hess gasoline station at 3 Kenoza Ave. Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan led the charge against the plan.

“The state and the city have spent significant resources to improve the area. Developers have made significant investments—both Walgreens Plaza, CVS. So, there’s an argument to be made here that the special permit might not actually be a step forward, but a step backward for that particular intersection,” Sullivan said.

He added there are already three other used car dealerships nearby.

Speaking for Arias, attorney E. Pamela Salpoglou), said her client planned to buy and beautify the property if the Council approves. She said underground tanks and piping have already been removed, but a formal environmental assessment would not take place until the sale process.

Councilor William J. Macek said he is worried about past pollution. “This is something of concern to the city as a whole to know if there are any contaminants left in the ground. They may have pulled the tanks; they may have pulled the lines, but did they go far enough into the soils to remove all of the waste product,” he said.

However, Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who has lived in the neighborhood 35 years, said she was willing to give the proposal the “benefit of the doubt.”

“What you’re going to do is better than what it looks like now, and it has been shuttered for a long, long time,” O’Brien said.

In the end, councilors voted down the project 5-3.