Haverhill Councilors to Reconsider Vote of Required Parking Licenses for Downtown Marijuana Retailer

Caroline Pineau before the Haverhill City Council in 2019. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill city councilors will try again tonight to grant licenses for two parking spaces—that the body, itself, required—to a planned downtown marijuana retailer.

Early last month, councilors defeated the police department-recommended parking license for Haverhill Stem, 124 Washington St., when the vote fell short because of opposition from City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and an unusual number of member absences. Councilors voted 4-1 to approve the use of two city-owned parking spaces on Phoenix Row, but five votes were required.

Normally, the City Council does not allow a repeat petition for six months, but its rules allow exceptions. All but two city councilors last week consented in writing to allowing the parking license to return to the agenda. Bevilacqua and Councilor Michael S. McGonagle did not sign. Bevilacqua has opposed all adult-use marijuana establishments, while McGonagle has abstained from taking such votes because of his ownership interest in Amesbury Road property to be rented by marijuana retailer Mellow Fellows.

Councilors approved a special permit for Caroline Pineau’s retail marijuana shop last June with a number of conditions. One regulated the scheduling of customer appointments and another—the parking license—sought to ensure safe exchanges of product and money.

One of the sticking points for councilors was scheduling, with Pineau and the panel going back and forth before settling on 20 appointments per hour for the first three days. Stem will then have the option to adjust the number based on input from Haverhill’s police and fire departments.

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