MassDEP Rules Crystal Lake Water Booster Station Does Not Sit on a Wetland

(File photograph.)

Nearly two years after neighbors appealed a determination made by the City of Haverhill arguing that a water booster station under construction on the Crystal Lake golf course sits on a wetland, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has denied their appeal.

Earlier this month, Deputy Regional Director Rachel Freed and Environmental Analyst Pamela Merrill issued a determination on the case that dates back to October 2018. Neighbors Lisa Palmisano, a direct abutter who lives on Back Nine Drive, and Leota Sarrette, who lives across the street on North Broadway, received a notice that the area they thought was subject to wetland protection act jurisdiction was not.

Haverhill Conservation Commission Vice Chairman Ralph Basiliere tells WHAV he is pleased with the DEP’s ruling and that his group agrees with their decision. “This case demonstrates that if one throws enough spaghetti, everyone sees a spaghetti thrower,” he told WHAV.

The DEP used nearly two years of site visits, emails, photographs, videos and interviews to build their case. They also enlisted the services of a wetland consultant and were in regular contact with the Haverhill Conservation Commission’s Robert Moore, Freed said in a letter obtained by WHAV.

While Palmisano and Sarrette are able to appeal the DEP’s decision, construction on the booster station is able to move forward as planned.

The latest legal ruling comes 18 months after the Crystal Lake golf course was sold at auction to Kevin Osgood, who purchased it after former owner Michael Maroney declared bankruptcy.

Maroney had been at odds with the City of Haverhill in a dispute over a partially constructed development on the 13-acre subdivision where he planned to build 50 homes. Twenty-nine properties were built and sold, but construction was held up when the city refused to grant him additional permits unless he constructed the booster station. When Maroney built four more homes without also building the booster station, a judge ruled he did not comply with city requirements and was ineligible for permits.

Upon orders from Building Inspector Richard Osborne, construction stopped three years ago. Lowell Five Bank took over possession of the land from Maroney and made plans to move forward with the booster station as originally approved.

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