‘Growth’ with ‘Charm’ Focus of Fiorentini’s Inaugural Master Plan Speech; Asks for Ward Councilors

Plan from 2015 shows replacement of the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck with a six-story garage on a smaller footprint. The remaining land would be developed for new commercial buildings.

During his ninth mayoral inauguration today, Mayor James J. Fiorentini plans to highlight the city’s new master plan which, he says, will “help determine where the city’s next business park will be and whether and where future housing, parks and playgrounds should be built.”

According to an advance copy of a portion of the mayor’s speech in City Hall auditorium this morning, Fiorentini says the plan—formally known as “Vision Haverhill 2035”—features “a new zoning concept allowing a limited number of ‘village centers’ in the city.” He ties the new concept into his advocacy for a city charter change that creates a council seat for each ward. Currently, all city councilors are elected at large.

“If we are going to bring back neighborhoods, then each neighborhood must have a seat at the table,” he says.

Fiorentini says he want to “change and transform our city to make us the best city we can be and hopefully the best city in the Commonwealth.” He says a steering committee spent the last year listening to the public, noting, “We learned that people are not opposed to growth, but they do not want to lose the charm and beauty of our great city.”

One aspect of the plan shows replacement of the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck with a six-story garage on a smaller footprint. The remaining land would be developed for new commercial buildings.

The Planning Board will have a public hearing on the master plan Wednesday night at 7 p.m., in room 202 of Haverhill City Hall.

Haverhill’s previous Master Plan has been in effect since 1995.

The new Master Plan outlines how the city can bring in more industry and more jobs by rezoning existing industrial parks to allow for more density. It sketches out plans for adding a new commercial park to allow for more businesses.

Village centers is part of a smart growth tool kit. The mayor says, “Smart growth, used successfully in cities throughout the country, allows for small clusters, or villages, to be built in certain areas of a city that will allow people to live and walk to a local center.  The zoning allows for residential growth, while preserving the look and feel of the city that the master plan’s focus groups said is critical to the public. “

“Our Master Plan brings back the concept of walkable neighborhoods, where people can walk to get a cup of coffee, meet with neighbors or head to a nearby neighborhood park,” Fiorentini says.

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